Society / Featured Parties

Dallas’ Biggest Party Animals Take Over the Dallas Zoo, Raise More Than $1 Million

This Zoo To Do is No Small Affair

BY // 11.04.19
photography WJNPHOTO

I wouldn’t usually describe myself as a party animal, but this weekend I attended what is certain to be unrivaled as Dallas’ wildest gala of the year: the 28th annual Zoo To Do benefiting the Dallas Zoo. Co-chaired by Dawn and Steve Moore, the event raised more than a million dollars that will support the Zoo’s mission of “engaging people and saving wildlife” by providing top animal care, educating the public and advancing wildlife conservation efforts.

The Zoo, which was the event venue, is home to more than 2,000 animals and represents more than 400 species.

Attending the party in attire defined as “safari chic,” zoo enthusiasts and fashionistas alike were spotted wearing leopard and cheetah prints, while their khaki-clad counterparts also roamed the grounds. Guests nibbled on a smorgasbord of gourmet bites provided by some of Dallas’ top chefs and restaurants, including Zoo To Do honorary chef Dan Landsberg of Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa, and chef David Crow of The Zodiac at Neiman Marcus.

And it wasn’t just the partygoers who dined on tasty tidbits.

As I arrived, I was greeted by an anteater who was savoring an avocado appetizer provided by her trainer. Entering the Giants of the Savanna exhibit, guests were presented with crisp romaine leaves fit for a crudité platter. We quickly learned that these were not intended for us to enjoy with a side of Roquefort, but were to be hand-fed to the zoo’s gregarious giraffe herd.

There was also a bit of monkey business underway. While guests sipped and mingled in one of the several VIP lounges overlooking the wildlife habitats, a teenage silverback gorilla emerged from the bushes with a familiar look of adolescent angst before plopping down heavily and making faces at his admirers.

The evening culminated with a live auction featuring international travel and safari adventures. Later, young Zoo patrons flocked to the dance floor to kick off the “Zoo To Do2” after-party, co-chaired by siblings Brett Moore, Blair Moore Raggio and Brooke Moore.

At an event where fur and feathers are de rigeur, who deserved the best-dressed award for the evening? Dan Brantley thought the flamingos looked the loveliest, and Sarah Blagden and Connor Hustava cast their votes for the giraffes. But no one was swifter and more assured in their response than Brett Moore: “The warthogs, definitely the warthogs,” he said.

Why? “Just look at them. They do whatever they want and they just don’t care what anyone thinks about it. That’s style,” Moore notes.

Dallas Zoo fans in attendance included Barbara and Don Daseke, Hal and Diane Brierley, Lori and Chuck Whitten, Robyn and Chris Chauvin, Ed Balfour, Jenna Owens and Francisco Rizo, Hamilton SneedJane McGarryDoris Jacobs, and Tucker and Rich Enthoven.

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