Picks and Pans Review: Zoo-Opolis!

UPDATED 04/02/1990 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 04/02/1990 at 01:00 AM EDT

The format: a combination Saturday children's show and educational tour taped at the Milwaukee County Zoo in Wisconsin. Hosted by Gilda Gorgeous, a talking giraffe (her voice is dubbed like Mr. Ed's), this 60-minute production drags at times as Lucy the Lion goes to the dentist and Mishka the Polar Bear keeps jumping off a cliff. Sorta dives you crazy. As does the bouncy Petticoat Junction—like theme song. But Gilda's animated introductions hasten this trip around 194 acres of zoodom, and kids will love the plentiful close-ups of tigers, elephants, chimps and other regulars. (Pacific Arts Video, $14.95; 800-538-5856)

SAN DIEGO ZOO: It's a Wild Life!

This picturesque day-in-the-wildlife of the Finest City's zoo is a real treat in an unusual way. Yes, they have camels, zebras and hippos, but even more intriguing are the caretakers. Their ease in handling the animals makes the zookeeper's job seem enviable. Couple that with a lively sound track and an appealing cast of herbi-and carnivores, and one feels like joining in to help feed the baby monkeys.

In fact, scenes of food preparation are among the intriguing highlights on this 30-minute trip (the zoo's yearly grocery list calls for 75 tons of seafood, 60 tons of meat, and—Jiminy!—700,000 crickets).

"The world would be a very lonely place if we were the only species inhabiting it," notes Dr. Werner Heuschele, director of the zoo's center for reproduction of endangered species. Happily, this collection includes 542 bird species, the only albino koala in captivity and more than 7,000 plants. (Video Tours, Inc., $19.95; 800-869-6789)

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