Night Creatures 

Nocturnal fun at Zoolights

11/28-1/4

On everyone's holiday wish list should be at least one duty-free evening of magic and splendor that's affordable and within reach. Wish granted. Once again the Oakland Zoo has turned its park into a winter wonderland by replacing the proverbial snow and chestnuts with exotic creatures and 1,000-watt elves that come aglow as the sun goes down. It takes a lot of lights to create the effect -- 200,000 to be precise, all carefully strung from the treetops and animal habitats with care. View this year's fantastic display while leisurely strolling the park on foot, or hitch a ride on the life-size choo-choo train that circles the perimeter, showing off views of the East Bay and beyond with their own sea of infinite twinkling lights.

Zoolights begins November 28 and runs through January 4, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and to 9:30 p.m. on weekends, weather permitting. The park will be closed on December 24, 25, and 31. Admission is $6.50 for adults and $4 for children/seniors, with slight discounts for zoo members and groups. For advance tickets or group rates, go online at www.oaklandzoo.org. Tickets will also be available at the gate. The Oakland Zoo is at 9777 Golf Links Rd. off Highway 580. -- Justine Nicole

SUN 11/30

To the Hills

Outdoor fun at Coyote Hills

Fremont-area kids -- and their parents -- looking for outdoor activities to pass the long holiday weekend are directed to Coyote Hills Regional Park's programs this Sunday.Want to learn how to build a fire in the open? Try the Fire Making course (#4172 in Coyote Hills' large catalog) from 10 a.m. until noon. Beverly Ortiz and T. Michael Bonillas will teach the basics of fire making using an elderberry spindle and a buckeye hearthboard. Participants will make their own fire-starting kit. Fee: $12, nonresidents $14. Then there's the Shellmound Open House, at 1:30 p.m. Visit the Tuibun Ohlone village site, where the Ohlone lived for two thousand years, under the guidance of naturalists Jan Southworth, Beverly Ortiz, and Kristina Parkison -- and learn all about basketry, hummingbirds, and the original inhabitants of the Bay Area. Coyote Hills is at 8000 Patterson Ranch Road in Fremont. 510-795-9385. -- Kelly Vance

11/29-11/30

Del Niños

If you were a white kid in college in the '80s, you probably knew about the Del Fuegos. And you probably have kids now. If these shoes fit -- and you can forgive us these blatant generalizations -- then you'll be glad you're still reading. The late garage-roots outfit's frontman, Dan Zanes, reconstitutes American roots standards and plays folk-inspired ditties with his new kid-friendly band, Rocket Ship Revue, at 2 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Info: 510-642-1082 or CPinfo.berkeley.edu/information/education/school.html -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 12/2

You Can Do It

Challenge to kids: Get fit

Are American kids out of shape? A surprising number of parents apparently think so, and they want physical education kept in beleaguered school budgets. For two Oakland schools -- Santa Fe Elementary (915 54th St.) and Carter Middle School (4521 Webster St.) -- temporary help is on the way. Tuesday, December 2, health expert Gloria Kamil joins members of the Oakland Raiders at the two schools to encourage healthy eating and fitness habits in younger students. The Santa Fe demo is 10 to 11 a.m.; Carter's turn is 1 to 2 p.m. Sorry, the two events are open only to parents and students of the two schools, which were selected at random.-- Kelly Vance

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