At the Zoo

We are so happy to be painting faces at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s world-famous Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and the Aquarium at Coney Island over the past twenty years. As far as face painting is concerned it’s all happenin’ at the zoo: animals make great inspiration for faces, zoo visitors tend to be in good spirits, and the WCS parks are nice places to spend a day. We also feel privileged to work with an organization like the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) which is dedicated to the preservation of nature and wildlife throughout the world, and we hope that in a small way we are helping in that effort by the faces we paint, that by turning kids into animals we are giving them a vehicle for feeling closer to the animals they go to see at the zoo.


Transformation Facepainting Concessions at the Zoo

In 2005 we opened our Transformation Facepainting concession at the Bronx Zoo, and subsequently at the Central Park Zoo. At our concessions, our artists are now painting about 15,000 faces annually. At the Bronx Zoo, our primary face painting concession is located right next to the Bronx Zoo Store in the Dancing Crane Cafe area. It is open 7 days a week during the Summer school break and on weekends in Spring and Fall. Our face painting concession at the Central Park Zoo is located inside the zoo (not on the park walkway outside) and it is open on weekends seasonally. At our zoo concessions we paint the same type of creative, full-face designs we do at our public events, on adults and children aged 3 and up.


Callen Lorde event at Central Park Zoo

Private and Corporate Events at the Zoos

Our Transformation Artists are available for company outings, private parties and special events at all of the WCS sites. The Bronx Zoo has a number of special event facilities including the Dancing Crane Cafe area and the Schiff Family Hall, for everything from large corporate events to birthday parties. The Central Park Zoo is also a great place for family friendly events and we are frequently there for special events on summer evenings, including one of our favorites: the annual benefit for Callen Lorde Community Health Center. For information on having your event at one of the WCS Zoos or Aquarium contact us.

Run For the Wild

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) holds their wonderful Run for the Wild events to raise funds for their conservation work around the world, and we been privileged to add our faces to these events. Each Run for the Wild event highlights the plight of a specific animal, so everyone we paint gets the same animal — for example, “tigers” for one of the runs, “penguins” for another — which gives us a wonderful creativity challenge as we work to find all the possible ways to approach that one idea.

Here’s a video from the Run for the Tigers:  4000 Tigers

Boo at the Zoo

Boo at the Zoo

Painting scary faces at Halloween time, how can it get better than that? We want to get our artists painting at as many public events as we can during that season of transformation, to paint as many New Yorkers as possible. Our Halloween appearances often include some of the very fun Boo at the Zoo events at various WCS venues, including the Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo.


1999 — Congo Gorilla Rainforest Opening

We had already been painting at the Bronx Zoo for six years, when they opened the magnificent Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit in 1999. To promote the opening, we were asked to provide ten facepainters for eight weekends. I got a sneak peak at the exhibit under construction when I painted a couple of faces for their ad campaign. The care taken to reproduce the look of the Congo rain forest and their inclusion of African art and masks suggested to me that our facepainting should follow suit:  we would only paint the animals in the exhibit (which includes snakes, insects, hornbills, certain monkeys, gorillas and others, but no “pop” animals like lions or butterflies), and we would work within traditional African mask and facepainting styles — giving us a wonderful learning opportunity to go past the usual animal faces into an experiential understanding of facepainting within a set cultural style.

One day that summer, Miguel noticed this group of 25 people as they posed for a picture after coming out of our facepainting tent and he snapped this photo for me. With ten of us working, it would have taken only ten minutes for us collectively to have painted all 25 faces.

Transformation Facepainting at the Bronx Zoo - Congo Gorilla Rainforest Exhibit Opening in 1999


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