Zoo supporters to dine, dance at summer's "wildest" event

Oregon Zoo Foundation's annual Zoolala fundraiser will toast zoo's first 125 years

Zoo supporters can savor delicious regional fare, dance under the stars, and hang out with some real party animals July 20, as the Oregon Zoo Foundation hosts its 14th annual Zoolala fundraiser, presented by Spirit Mountain Casino with support from NW Natural, Nike and Tonkin Fiat.

"Zoolala is an outdoor party like no other," said Beth Smith, Oregon Zoo Foundation events manager. "The zoo grounds are magical in the evening, the animals are active and the food is spectacular. It's a great way to celebrate 125 years of this wonderful community zoo all while supporting the zoo's conservation, education and animal welfare efforts."

Starting at 7 p.m., guests can try their luck at Monte Carlo-style games of chance, interact with strolling magicians and dance the night away with Northwest party band Cool-Ade — all while enjoying culinary delights from more than 30 of the area's top restaurants and sipping on complimentary wine and craft beer.

"The real stars of the evening are the lions, orangutans and many other zoo residents who will be out enjoying delights of their own," Smith said. "Keepers will provide enrichment items for the animals and give informative talks to Zoolala guests."

Tickets are also available for a special 6 p.m. VIP reception featuring champagne, live music, up-close encounters with the zoo's Amur tigers and exclusive food offerings from restaurants like Genoa, Accanto and Nong's Khao Man Gai.

Admission is $125 for zoo members and $150 for the general public. VIP level tickets are $250. Creative cocktail attire is encouraged. Guests must be 21 or over with valid ID. The zoo will close to regular visitors at 4 p.m. on July 20 to set up for Zoolala.