Society / The Seen

A Fantastical Zoo To Do Proved Once Again Why It’s a Favorite Fall Fundraiser in Dallas

Inside the Wild Affair

BY // 11.14.23
photography Thomas Garza and Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio

Several guests shared the same thing on our golf cart ride from the Dallas Zoo entrance to the cocktail hour at Don Glendenning Penguin Cove: “This is our favorite event of the year.” As we zipped by lemurs, cheetahs, and the glowing lanterns already assembling for holiday Zoo Lights, we understood. Zoo To Do, with its safari chic dress code and killer assemblage of Dallas chefs, has long had a “fun fundraiser” reputation, but only when you’re mingling with a flamboyance of flamingos while enjoying risotto from Parigi or ceviche from Gemma does the fantastical nature of Zoo To Do truly sink in.

The year’s biggest fundraiser for the oldest and largest zoological experience in Texas, Zoo To Do welcomed close to 700 guests near downtown Dallas on November 4, 2023. Plenty of khaki and leopard print was spotted strolling Giants of the Savanna trail, where chefs from top Dallas restaurants such as Canne Rosso, Ocean Prime, The Zodiac Room, Sachet, Trulucks, Taco Y Vino, and more doled out incredible dishes and cocktails as costumed “animals” danced by on foot or stilts. As guests explored, there was typical fundraiser fare (participating in a silent auction) and more distinct opportunities (hand-feeding the giraffes). Every person we encountered echoed the earlier sentiment: “Isn’t this the best?” 

2023 dallas zoo to do
Kevin Sullivan feeding the giraffe at the 2023 Zoo To Do. (Photo by Thomas Garza and Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio)

As an impressive line began forming for Botolino Gelato, a live auction kicked off in the Wilds of Africa Plaza, where everything from “Glamping at the Dallas Zoo” to a trip to Mexico City with the Dallas Zoo conservation team to explore a sanctuary of two billion monarch butterflies.

The Scene in Wilds of Africa Plaza (Photo by Thomas Garza and Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio)
The scene in Wilds of Africa Plaza at the 2023 Dallas Zoo To Do. (Photo by Thomas Garza and Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio)

Then, the always-killer Manhattan Band took the Wilds of Africa stage, closing out the evening with dancing and music we certainly hope our exotic nearby neighbors enjoyed.

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