Society / The Seen

Scenes from Dallas’ Annual Zoo To Do 2022

A Roaring Success

BY // 11.23.22
photography Thomas Garza and Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio

One of my favorite childhood books was Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are. I dreamed of being Max. Particularly because of that fun wolf costume he gets to wear (note to self — I’ve apparently chosen by 2023 Halloween costume). Obviously then, one of my favorite Dallas charity events to attend annually is Zoo To Do. Benefitting the Dallas Zoo and presented by the Eugene McDermott Foundation, this year’s party was dubbed “Wild and Wonderful” and it lived up to it. We found ourselves amongst a menagerie of feathered, fluffy, indigenous, feral … guests. And of course, the animals were adorable.

Just arriving is always a fun production as you are shuttled on one of the mini-trains through the tunneled entrance area (with a cool light show to get you in the party mood) to the main event. Cocktails and dishes prepared by some of North Texas’ greatest chefs were then on the agenda. On the lineup this year included Chef Sharon Van Meter/Beckley 1115, Chef Anthony Hsia/Ellie’s Restaurant & Lounge at HALL Arts Hotel, Chef Joe Shirghio/Bowen House, and two of my favorites — Chef Sara Toth from Neiman Marcus’ downtown Zodiac and Chef Janice Provost from Parigi.

As we sipped and nibbled we bumped into many friends, all wearing safari chic. Kim Hext and Greg Hext were the honorary chairs of the event, which brought in $1.3 million in support of the Dallas Zoo’s Animal Care, Research, and Education Programs. In case you didn’t know, we have some bragging rights, our Zoo has been named in the Top 10 in the nation by USA Today.

Diane Brierley came dressed as a Monarch butterfly (Photo by Thomas Garza and Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio)
Diane Brierley came dressed as a Monarch butterfly (Photo by Thomas Garza and Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio)

The event is not simply cocktails and conversations. All sorts of activities to enjoy had been planned as guests traversed the expansive grounds. Along the way were Zoo staff literally armed with animal encounters, including a boa constrictor,
armadillo, dwarf caiman lizard, and — the ultimate Instagrammable moment — getting a chance to feed the glorious and gentle
giraffes. Our evening ended with the after-hours portion where we witnessed the frenzied live auction, where one particularly cool experience, Glamping At The Zoo, went for $25,000.

If you haven’t made your way to our Zoo in a while, might I suggest checking out Zoo Lights? This eagerly anticipated annual holiday event presents over a million lights with larger-than-life animal lanterns. And beyond the lions, tigers, and bears ready to greet you? Well, of course, Santa himself will be there. Your family can also enjoy after-hours rides on the carousel and mini-train.

Spotted dancing and posing with reptiles included chairs Marena and Roger GaultChristopher Wood, Mary McDermott CookMike Stabile, Scott KehnAlex Josemaria, and Chuck Steelman.

Elizabeth Anthony

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