Barn Hill Preserve in Ethel is preparing to celebrate its first Christmas on the Hill festival from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 15-17.

The festivities, which the preserve hopes to make annual, include encounters with exotic animals, pictures with Santa Claus, a wagon ride, ornament decorating and more.

Guests donating gently used or new toys have a chance to win two free otter swim tours. Live 2 Serve, a local service organization in Baton Rouge is sponsoring this, awarding a raffle ticket for each toy.

A photographer can take your snapshot with some of the preserve's animals.

Visitors can greet a bug-eating tamandua, a social animal with an up to 16-inch tongue, and meet a two-toed sloth, which can sleep up to 18 hours a day.

For information and ticket pricing, visit