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Create an animal drawing for The Zoo Friends Mural

Muralist Jimmy Longoria shows kids how to participate in this project

February 3, 2021

By Katie Carpenter


We’re excited to share an exciting community project from our friends at the Minnesota Orchestra, led by local muralist, Jimmy Longoria! Together, we will be making a large Zoo Friend mural of animals.

We’re calling on you and your little ones to make a colorful drawing of your favorite zoo animal and send it to the master muralist who will put all the animals together to make one large Zoo Friends mural. Kids will need the help of an adult to photograph and send your best animal friend drawing to the muralist at [email protected].

The deadline to participate is April 1st, 2021. Read on for more details.


Jimmy will print out all the drawings and put them on a colorful background. He will photograph the Zoo Friend mural and send you an image of the mural with all of the zoo friends on it that you can print or use on your computer.

This is what the finished mural might look like. Jimmy says, “This just has my favorite animals – I am looking forward to seeing yours!”

Colorful animal mural

Meet Jimmy Longoria and follow his instructions below to be a part of this exciting Zoo Friends Mural art project!

We sat down with Jimmy and asked him some questions about his inspiration behind this project.

What is the inspiration behind the animal mural?

The inspiration is the idea of working with young people and taking their individual drawings and incorporating them into a mural composition that they can each own. It builds on projects I have done in the past – I have worked on several projects with young people where each participant creates a unique element and then, depending on the process, we combine everybody’s contribution into one piece. My part is the composition, and artistic balance of all the different energies. Much as the conductor of the orchestra brings together every musician’s contribution and energy to make one great piece.

What impact do you hope that participants and viewers will get out of this experience?

I want the participants to feel the power of working collaboratively – even if it’s remotely.

What is your favorite animal and why?

The real answer is, they are all my favorite animals. For this project I chose the giraffe because it really is so odd looking! It gives me an opportunity to make a lot of different combinations of poses and colors.

Any artist tips for kids about imagination and creativity that you can offer?

For kids of all ages, the secret to art is lots and lots of drawing. Drawing helps you see the world, and to understand how it works.

How can families view your finished piece?

Every participant is going to receive (via email) a .jpeg of the finished piece. They can print it on their home printer, make it a screen saver for their computer, put it on their social media – really anything!


The first thing you have to do is pick your favorite zoo friend. You might want to look at Minnesota Zoo’s website for ideas.

Materials you will need:

  • 3-5 sheets of plain paper
  • Crayons, pencils, pens, markers – whichever you prefer
  • Safe scissors

Draw Your Favorite Animal

Think of your favorite zoo animal… Then, spread your paper in front of you. Draw quickly until every piece of paper has a drawing – one animal on each piece of paper.

Colorful giraffes

Color Each Drawing

Have fun with the color. You don’t have to make your zoo friend the color you see in the photo – if you want a pink alligator, that’s what you’ll make!
Pick your favorite colorful drawings. Cut out the zoo friends.

Cut out animal drawings

Photograph Your Animals

Have your adult take a picture of your colorful zoo friends and send the photo to [email protected].

Remember, the deadline to be a part of this is April 1, 2021!

Have fun! We are excited to see your submissions!

Don’t Miss This is Minnesota Orchestra
Musical Menagerie with the Minnesota Zoo: A Young People’s Concert Experience

Musical Menagerie

Tune in Friday, February 12 at 3pm on TPT 2
Go on a musical journey to meet animals and experience their habitats!

Minnesota Orchestra‘s Musical Menagerie will invite viewers to connect music with animals—thanks to a partnership with The Minnesota Zoo—in a live concert that presents a variety of composers and styles of music as well as unique film elements and guests from the Zoo.

Host and conductor Sarah Hicks, along with animal conservationists from the zoo, will introduce viewers to brown bears, gibbons, tropical fish and more. Available via broadcast, livestream and on-demand, and presented in partnership with Twin Cities PBS (TPT).

This concert is recommended for grades 1-6.

SECOND SATURDAYS- Let’s have fun with animals!

February Virtual Second Saturday

Saturday, February 13th
8:30 AM & 10:00 AM

Virtual Event

Let’s have fun with animals!

This month, we’ll learn all about animals! Folks from the Minnesota Zoo will introduce us to a variety of animals and our friends at the Minnesota Orchestra will play music inspired by animals. We’ll have activities, experiments, and stories all about animals. Join us!

Twin Cities PBS invites families to enjoy activities, experiments, story time, games and experiences with PBS KIDS during Second Saturdays. Every month kids and families join us virtually to stay active and connected in a safe and fun learning environment.

We will make this as interactive as possible, so find your favorite spot to watch and prepare to join us for a morning of fun!

© Twin Cities Public Television - 2021. All rights reserved.


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