The Oakland Zoo 9777 Golf Links Rd., Oakland, 510-632-9525 OaklandZoo.org
Most people, when they hear the word "bat," imagine twitchy rodents that live in abandoned castles and feast on blood. But there are more than a thousand different kinds of bats in the world, and some, like fruit bats, or "flying foxes," are not only untwitchy but also downright cute. A visit to the Oakland Zoo offers the opportunity to meet these delightful creatures, and for those who may have read Janelle Cannon's 1993 picture book Stellaluna, the saga of a baby fruit bat separated from her mother, adds a real-life aspect to a well-loved story. The zoo's Malayan fruit bats arrived last June from the Lubee Bat Conservancy in Florida, and have spent their time since getting used to the California climate. They roost in trees, not caves, and do not echolocate like many other bats, but instead use sight and smell to find fruit to eat. The fruit bats are a good excuse to visit the zoo, which is a highlight of the 525-acre Knowland Park and home to more than 440 native and exotic animals. Just don't bring mangos for a snack. Daily 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.