Society / Featured Parties

The 30th Anniversary of Zoo to Do is a Roaring Success

Where the Wild Things Are

BY // 12.08.21
photography Thomas Garza Photography

What: The 30th annual Zoo to Do fundraiser benefiting the Dallas Zoo

Where: The Dallas Zoo

PC Moment: The Dallas Zoo is a magical place to begin with. Just three miles south of downtown Dallas, the nonprofit’s 106 acres serve as home to thousands of animals, from giraffes and tropical birds to penguins, elephants, tigers, hippos, and chimpanzees. But Zoo to Do — the Dallas Zoo’s annual fundraiser — takes the experience to another level.

Once you are checked in, you hop on board a golf cart and are whisked down a rabbit hole, the Zoo’s Christmas lights spinning together into an energetic blur (tickets for Dallas Zoo Lights are on sale now for select nights until January 2nd featuring one million twinkling lights and more for a drive-through experience in your own vehicle). Whizzing past the Zoo’s beloved carousel and signs for various animal habitats as the first signs of cooler weather blow in, you feel as if you are a special guest at an amusement park after dark — and there are plenty of surprises in store.

When you pull up to the main event, deep in the heart of the jungle — er, Zoo — more fun awaits. For this 30th anniversary of the Zoo’s annual fundraiser, chairs Robyn and Chris Chauvin ensured all of the stops were pulled, raising over $1 million for animal conservation in the process, supporting the Dallas Zoo’s mission to provide the best animal care, deliver unique education offerings, and strengthen its wildlife conservation efforts.

More than 450 guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from top area chefs and restaurants and were welcomed by animal ambassadors including flamingos, a sloth, and penguins. Interactive animal demonstrations including giraffe feedings took place in the Wilds of Africa Plaza. Guests were then invited to take part in a strolling dinner consisting of an array of specialty dishes from 24 favorite chefs and restaurants. The lineup — organized by Honorary Chef Chair Dan Landsberg of Ellie’s Restaurant & Lounge at Hall Arts Hotel and Chef Wrangler Brett Krafft from the Hilton Lincoln Centre — included Chef Carlo Gattini of Botolino Gelato Artigianale, Chef Jeff Bekavac of Cane Rosso, Chef Luke Rogers of Cathedral Italian Bistro with Rosewood Ranches Wagyu Beef, Chef Meaders Ozarow of Empire Baking Company, Chef Stephen Rogers of Gemma/Sachet, Chef Nora Bracy of Hypnotic Donuts, and Chef Kent Rathbun of Imoto and Rathbun’s Curbside BBQ, among others. Bars scattered throughout the Plaza provided libations while interactive experiences with flamingoes, a penguin, boa constrictor, porcupine, tortoise, and an owl provided further connection with the Zoo’s residents.

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In keeping with the Zoo’s dedication to the conservation of wildlife and wild resources, all of the dishware and flatware used for the event was compostable.

”We hope you’ll take a moment to think about the impact of making small changes like this and how it can help the wild animals we all hope to protect. We are proud to partner with the Zoo in this effort to “walk the walk” with conservation,” event chairs Robyn and Chris Chauvin noted.

Following dinner, guests made their way to the Wilds of Africa Plaza for a live auction, bidding on once-in-a-lifetime Zoo experiences including a “dinner party on the Savanna,” “happy hour” at the Jake L. Hamon Gorilla Research Station, and even original works of art by Shana the Gorilla and Suki, Kuasa, and Sumini the Sumatran tigers. To cap off the night, a wild dance party set to live music by Manhattan.

Lauren Dillard with a sloth (Photo by Thomas Garza Photography)
Lauren Dillard with a sloth at the 30th anniversary of Zoo to Do in Dallas. (Photo by Thomas Garza Photography)

PC Seen: Chairs Robyn and Chris Chauvin; Honorary Chairs Diane Brierley, Mary McDermott Cook, and Ruth O’Donnell Mutch; Carol and Don Glendenning, Alex Arellano, Ryan Gummer, Steven Roth, Jared Miller, Cindy, and Chuck Gummer, Kate Goldrick, Chuck Steelman, Ellen Yung, Hamilton Sneed, Cynthia Smoot, Jennifer and John Gates, Hannah Battah, Kevin Fleck, Lauren Dillard, Lois, and Ron Finkelman, Michelle Wong, Lewis Chang, and Dawn and Steve Moore.

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