Oolala reigns at this year's Zoolala!

What do Oregon Zoo residents and zoo supporters have in common? They all turned into party animals on the eve of Saturday, July 21 in honor of Zoolala, the Oregon Zoo Foundation’s annual summer celebration and benefit for the Oregon Zoo.

More than 700 zoo aficionados gathered on a sparkling summer evening to enjoy the magic that is the Oregon Zoo. A sold-out VIP reception started the evening off right as guests were treated to a champagne ride on the zoo’s iconic train to the enchanting Great Northwest and patio of the new state-of-the-art Veterinary Medical Center. Signature drinks and sample plates from a few of the area’s finest eateries such as Last Primas tempted palates as Seattle-based performance painting artist Jimmy Gersen created what would be the first of two works of art to be auctioned off later in the evening.

The party got into full swing later around the zoo’s concert lawn area where more than 30 notable eateries treated party-goers to a scrumptious gathering of delights sure to please any palate. But that wasn’t all by any means…

There were fun and games galore as guests tried their luck at the Monte Carlo tables and collected their winnings in the marketplace while others displayed their true colors at the photo booth, or added a little pizzazz through face painting or body art. For those who like groovin’, the Tara Williamson Quartet and Beatles-through-the-ages band Apple Jam provided plenty of fodder for happy feet as Jimmy Gersen twirled his brushes to the beat.

Of course, the animals weren’t left out of the fun. The zoo’s famous elephants, orangutans and sun bears were among the wildlife who stayed up late to enjoy a few enriching activities of their own!

In the end, Zoolala raised nearly $150,000 to support the important animal welfare, conservation, education and sustainability programs that are at the core of the Oregon Zoo’s mission in the community and around the world.

We owe a great deal of thanks to everyone who came out to support the zoo, to those who donate to help create a better future for wildlife, to the zoo’s invaluable corps of volunteers, to all the vendors who served guests and to the event sponsors: Spirit Mountain Casino, Ray and Karolette Peterson, NW Natural, The Standard, Nike, Lease Crutcher Lewis, PLACE, KPFF Consulting Engineers, Jane Buchan and Jim Driscoll, Portland Monthly, KEX, Chateau St. Michelle, Deschutes Brewery, New Deal Distillery and DRY Soda.

Stay tuned for announcements regarding Zoolala 2013. In the meantime, check out all the photos from this year's event!