BURBANK, Calif. – Lions and tigers, and bears, oh my! Even mythical creatures have taken over the lawns of Burbank.
The community-wide effort was started by Kelley Hickey who had heard of a similar project in a gated community where her sister-in-law lives. She thought the idea might just fly in Burbank.
“I was seeing other things in peoples’ yards, little hearts in the windows and rainbows and some people put up their Christmas decorations," she said. "So I thought maybe we could put up a zoo for the kids so that they would have something to look at on their walks.”
Hickey says there were no rules and she certainly wasn’t asking for museum quality work.
“This is a mom with some cardboard and some tempura paint trying her best," she said.
She just wanted to give people something to look forward to and for her family at least, things just seem brighter when they have a project.
“We’re just happier," Hickey said.
She hoped to get 20 families to sign on. But the list kept growing. In the end, as many as 75 households participated in the weekend long event. Among the exhibitors, Glendy Leslie who is actually a long-time docent at the Los Angeles Zoo. Like many of the displays, hers included fun facts about the featured critter.
Having this project to work on with her family just made things more bearable.
“It was great," Leslie said. "It kept your mind off of the quarantine which is really nice. You had something to focus on and something to do.”
The Burbank COVID Zoo certainly created a lot of buzz. Using a map, families spent hours this weekend, driving around to see the homes, or walking block to block to admire what their neighbors had created. The response has been so great that the group now wants to make it a monthly thing and Hickey is happy to continue.
“I think that we’ve sparked something," she said.
She wanted a little project. What she got was so much more.
“It’s really made me feel like there’s a real sense of community in Burbank that can’t be suppressed," she said. "Not even by a pandemic.”
In a time of isolation, a wild idea managed to bring people together.