While Dallas Zoo Ambassadors Played Second Fiddle, The New “Hip Kids” Highlighted The 2017 Zoo To Do Kick-Off Party

Sean Greene

Dallas Zoo VP Guest Experience Sean Greene admitted that the Zoo was busting with babies. New born lioness Bahati had already started making the rounds in the lions’ den; Katie’s long-necked baby giraffe Tsavo was still in the nursery; Tamandua Cora eating everything in sight; and year-old elephant Ajabu was splashing around the Giants of Savanna.

Yup, Sean was looking like a man prepared to hand out cigars on Wednesday, June 14, at the 2017 Zoo To Do kick off at the Highland Hippo Hut. But as the crowd gathered overlooking the hippopotamus swimming pool, the talk of the night was about Boipelo and Adhama. In hippo world, Adhama is hunky Chris Pratt. He has all the right moves both under water and on the sandy beach. Talk about a showman.

On the other hand, Boipelo is a diminutive, shy gal that coquettishly plays second fiddle to her boy-toy pond pal.

Dallas Zoo “hip kids”

As for the 150 guests, not one had a negative comment. (Whispered Don Daseke: “I understand they’ve taken the female off birth control, so there may be some baby hippos soon.”) Meantime, many guests were surprised at how the water horses seemed like graceful, hefty ballet dancers as they tiptoed past the below-water-line Brierley Encounter station. Diane Brierley was like a proud new mother as she encouraged guests to step down to the station to check the hippos out.

Others love the twitching, tiny ears and the cubby faces barely appearing above the water line checking out the guests.

Hippo waterworks

At one point a Zoo staffer pointed a hose in the direction of the hippos. While other animals would have scrambled for covered at the water being shot in their direction, the hippos simply opened their gargantuan mouths as if they were doing tequila shooters at spring break.

Cora

Gimli

Laya

Owl

But the news of the night was not just the hippos and the Dallas Zoo ambassadors (the owl, Gimli the alligator, Cora the tamandua and 18-year-old Laya the armadillo, that was just too shy to unroll). 

Dan Patterson and Mary McDermott Cook

It was to reveal plans for the 2017 Zoo To Do. Co-Chairs world-traveling Barbara and Don Daseke have arranged for the annual ZtD event to take place on Saturday, November 4, at the Zoo with a live auction that should be more than amazing with animal-loving Diane and Hal Brierley in charge. They also managed to get longtime Zoo supporter Mary McDermott Cook to serve as honorary chair again.

Also joining the Dasekes in their zoo fundraising will be Barb and Steve Durham heading up the host committee, Cindy Gummer in charge of decorations and Kate and Lane Britain as underwriting co-chairs.

In addition to the auction, grazing around, chatting with the Zoo residents and a silent auction, Emerald City All Stars will perform from 9:30 to 11 p.m.

Don and Carol Glendenning

Alina and Ruben Esquivel

Michael Meadows, Christi Contreras and Margaret and Carl Weinkauf

Laura Leppert

Joan and Alan Walne

In the crowd learning about plans were Dan Patterson, who was within two weeks of holding a wedding for his daughter in his backyard…Laura Leppert with her left hand wrapped due to recent surgery to handle skin cancer… Speaking of skin cancer, Alan Walne was looking great due to surgery to attack the basil skin cancer around his left eye…. Birthday girl Hayley Hamilton Cogill, just back from a jaunt to Equator with husband Gary Cogill and Monica Egert SmithCarol and former ZtD Co-Chair Don Glendenning trying out the hippo on the Hut’s wall… Also spotted: Dallas Zoo Executive Director/CEO Gregg Hudson, Quincy Preston and David Seeley, Amanda Moreno and Jim Lake, Barbara Crow, Alina and Ruben Esquivel, former ZtD Co-Chairs Cindy and Chuck Gummer, Michael Meadow, Margaret and Carl Weinkauf and Karen Waller.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert!: 2017 Zoo To Do Kick-Off Party

Dallas Zoo “hip kids”

While there were a bunch of  gals in animal-print sundresses and tanned fellows in cotton shirts at the Dallas Zoo, a couple of tubbies were the center of attention for the 2017 Zoo To Do Kick-Off Party on Wednesday, June 14. And the twosome made fat seem downright adorable as they did aquatic antics in the pond. The duo were Boipelo and Adhama, the two Nile Hippos that had recently set up housekeeping in the Simmons Hippo Outpost.

Cora

Owl

The other Zoo Ambassadors politely took their place on the sideline including the owl that didn’t give a hoot (Sorry, but it was too good to resist.) about being upstaged.

Michael Meadows, Christi Contreras and Margaret and Carl Weinkauf

While the post is being prepared, check out the people and the critters at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Thanks To Dollar Day! The Dallas Zoo Busted The Million-Human Mark Earlier Than Ever On Thursday

Gregg Hudson (File photo)

Despite the heat, more than 19,000 folks took advantage of Thursday’s Dollar Day! at the Dallas Zoo. In addition to an amazing show of humans, it resulted in the Zoo breaking the million-visitor mark for the third straight year. And this million-breaker was the earliest one yet!

According to Dallas Zoo President/CEO Gregg Hudson, “Once again, more than a million people have turned out to support our mission of engaging people and saving wildlife. Our community knows how hard we’ve worked to make the Dallas Zoo one of the nation’s best zoological parks, so it’s appropriate that we broke the million mark this year on a day when we look to give back to that community.”

The staff attributes the successful numbers to the following:

Dallas Zoo’s “hip” kids

  • The April opening of Simmons Hippo Outpost, the zoo’s new $14 million, 2.1-acre exhibit which is an immersive African waterhole habitat featuring two hippos and okapi. It includes a 24-foot by 8-foot viewing window that brings guests eye-to-nostril with the Nile hippos as they explore their 120,000-gallon waterhole.
  • The April opening of the National Geographic Photo Ark Here through Sunday, October 1, the outdoor exhibition showcases more than 80 stunning images from world-renowned photographer Joel Sartore, featuring some of the most endangered animals on earth.
  • The zoo’s much-celebrated baby boom, including the arrival of Bahati in March, the first lion cub born at the zoo in 43 years; beloved elephant Ajabu, who turned 1 in May; and the May birth of giraffe calf Tsavo, born to world-famous mother Katie.
  • Earning its sixth consecutive Certificate of Excellence award as one of the world’s best businesses by TripAdvisor, the largest travel reviewing and planning web site, and maintaining a four-star rating on Yelp.

Congratulations to the Zoo-sters, both human and critter.

Dallas Zoo Residents Are Ready For A Herd Of Visitors For Thursday’s Dollar Day! Special

The Dallas Zoo folks snuck up on a lot of folks. Instead of waiting until August scorches the area, they’re holding the infamous Dollar Day! this Thursday. That’s a $14 saving for adults and a $11 saving for youths and seniors.

Not only is admission going to be a dollar, but the following will be available for a buck each:

  • selected snack items (canned drinks, water, hot dogs and chips)
  • nectar to feed the lorikeets
  • bird food at the Travis and Zach’s Birds Landing

Giraffe (File photo)

And if you want to splurge and look like a big spender, here are some other bargains for this one-day-only special:

  • $2 T-Rex Express mini-train
  • $5 Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari monorail
  • $5 giraffe feedings (and, yes, the giraffes do have long black tongues)

Since parking is going to be $8 and traffic is expected to be limited, try out the DART Red Line.

Hippopotamus (File photo)

BTW, prepare yourself for the Simmons Hippo Outpost. These two are more fun than a barrel full of monkeys.

BTW, don’t forget the sunscreen, sunglasses and cameras.

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Dallas Zoo

According to Dallas Zoo intern Lauren Lombardo*,

The dog days of summer may be here, but the Dallas Zoo knows just how to get families off the couch with a wild outdoor adventure. We’re debuting new exhibits and more than 2,000 animals that are sure to please the whole family. So pack a cooler and join us from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily!

Simmons Hippo Outpost*

Our new Simmons Hippo Outpost features a 24-foot by 8-foot underwater viewing window that’ll bring guests eye-to-nostril with these majestic “river horses” as they swim around their African waterhole. The exhibit is the first major addition to the Dallas Zoo since Giants of the Savanna opened in 2010, and offers an elevated view of our hippos from the Wilds of Africa Safari monorail—trust us, you’re going to want to bring the camera. Catch a daily hippo keeper chat at 2:30 p.m., and you might just see these hefty herbivores munch on a head of lettuce.

You can also find more than 80 large scale photos throughout the Zoo as part of the National Geographic Photo Ark exhibition. These larger than life images are perfect for snapping selfies or striking a pose with your favorite animal. We’re one of only three zoos showcasing this incredible collection of photos by photographer Joel Sartore through Sept. 4.

If that’s not enough, we’re currently in the midst of an adorable baby boom! Little lion cub Bahati and giraffe calf Tsavo are making daily appearances in their habitats. You can see Bahati play with mom Lina and aunt Jasiri in the Wilds of Africa as well as hand feed giraffes at the Diane and Hal Brierley Giraffe Ridge.

Admission is free for children age 2 or under and Zoo Members, $12 for children age 3-11 and seniors over age 64, and $15 for adults age 12-64.

* Much to the disppointment of the staff, Friday was Lauren’s last day at the Zoo 
** Photo provided by the Dallas Zoo

JUST IN: Mary McDermott Cook To Take A Second Bow As Honorary Chair For 2017 Zoo To Do’s “Animal Gathering”

Mary McDermott Cook (File photo)

Animal-loving philanthropist Mary McDermott Cook had so much fund fundraising as last year’s Zoo To Do‘s honorary chair that she’s signed up for a second year.

In fact, quite a few of the 2016 Zoo To Do crew is making a return trip to raise money for the Dallas Zoo including 2017 Co-Chair Barbara Daseke and 2017 Live Auction Co-Chair Hal Brierley

This year’s event at the zoo will take place of Saturday, November 4, with the theme “Animal Gathering.”

They’ve got their work cut out for them. Last year’s event raised $1.4M and since then there’s been the addition of a couple of hungry and adorable hippos.

It should be a howling success since there will be a full moon out that night. 

JUST IN: 2017 Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Barbara And Don Daseke Reveal Fundraiser’s Plans

While the two-legged critters wore shades as the sun set slowly over the Dallas Zoo’s Highland Hippo Hut, the two showstoppers chilled in the Simmons Hippo Outpost lagoon last night. The twosome were Adhama and Boipelo that almost stole the show from the reveal of plans for the 2017 Zoo To Do.

Dallas Zoo’s “hip” kids

But more about that at a later date.

In the meantime, here are the deets: Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Barbara and Don Daseke have arranged to have Diane and Hal Brierley in charge of the live auction; Barb and Steve Durham as host committee co-chairs; Cindy Gummer handling decorations; Kate and Lane Britain as underwriting co-chairs; Anatole Brett Krafft as wrangler and ZaZa Chef Dan Landsberg as head chef.

The date is set for Saturday, November 4. It’s going to be a great one with the Dasekes, the committee heads, the chefs cooking all over the place and the multitude of newborns that are cropping up all over the zoo.

Hefty, Young Couple Meets Up In Dallas For Arranged Relationship

They didn’t know each other. They hadn’t even met via an online dating service. She had been living in Albuquerque and he hailed from glamorama Los Angeles. But they rendezvoused in Dallas this week for an arranged relationship. Sure, they’re a bit hefty and she’s just 10 years old, but according to those-in-the-know, they would find bliss together.

Boipelo*

Adhama**

Whoa! Before getting the wrong impression, it’s not what you think.

The two are Nile hippos and the new residents of the $14M,  2.1-acre Simmons Hippo Outpost at the Dallas Zoo. While Boipelo is a svelte babe weighing in at 2,395 pounds, six-year-old hunky Adhama hits the scales at 3,722 pounds.

According to Dallas Zoo Animal Operations and Welfare VP Harrison Edell, “Over the next 30 days while the hippos are in quarantine, our keepers, veterinary staff and nutritionists will keep a close eye on them to ensure they continue to do well. For now they’re living in separate halves of the new barn, but because of its open design, they’ve already ‘met’ each other through the fences and are getting along well.”

It’s been 16 years since the Zoo’s last Nile hippo, Papa, died. At the time of his death, he was 53 years old and “the oldest Nile hippo being cared for in a U.S. zoo.”

The official debut of the newbie river horses will probably take place in April. Stay tuned.

* Photo credit: ABQ BioPark./Courtesy of ABQ BioPark 
** Photo credit L.A. Zoo./ Courtesy of L.A. Zoo

Put On The Sunscreen And Take Advantage Of Dallas Zoo’s Penguin Days Special Deal

Dallas Zoo Penguin Days hosts (File photo)

The roller coaster of temperatures has resulted in cottons and shorts doing overtime. Just imagine — the end of December in the 60s and 70s!

But what luck! With the kids out of school, the malls jammed, the thank you notes written (well, almost) and running out of things to do, the Dallas Zoo’s Penguin Days special is just made for these balmy times.

Instead of the usual two-figure entry fee ($15 for adults and $12 for youngsters), it’s a mere $7 for both adults and kiddos over the age of two.

And why not avoid all traffic by taking DART’s Red Line to the Dallas Zoo Station. 

JUST IN: 2nd Annual Penguin Days Starts Three-Month Run Thursday

While some folks may not cotton to the upcoming drop in temperatures, there are Dallas Zoo residents that are thrilled. Okay, so maybe the reptiles don’t really care. They’re staying comfy in their heated digs in the Herpetarium. But Dallas Zoo’s Lydia Jennings just sent word that the African Penguins are beside themselves.

Penguins (File photo)

Dallas Zoo Penguins (File photo)

And as part of the wintry feel, the humans at the zoo have announced that starting tomorrow (aka Thursday, December 1) the second annual Penguin Days will commence.

What’s Penguin Days? No, it doesn’t mean that the staff dresses up in tuxedos and waddles around. Rather, it translates to bargains for Dallas Zoo guests. Until Tuesday, February 28, the price of admission will be dropped to $7 per person (kiddos age 2 and Dallas Zoo members will still be free).

Open daily except for Christmas Day, the 106-acre zoo’s hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

MySweetWishList: ZooProud Bricks

According to ZooProud Campaign Co-Chairs Diane Brierley, Jennifer Eagle and Don Glendenning,

Diane Brierlery (File photo)

Diane Brierlery (File photo)

Don Glendenning (File photo)

Don Glendenning (File photo)

Jennifer Eagle (File photo)

Jennifer Eagle (File photo)

“Our next big project for the Dallas Zoo is the Simmons Hippo Outpost, scheduled to open in the spring of 2017. This will be the first major animal exhibit to open at the Zoo since the Wilds of Africa premiered in 2010, and brings hippos back to the Zoo for the first time in 15 years. We have had the privilege of serving as the co-chairs of the private fund-raising effort for this project.

Dallas Zoo*

Dallas Zoo*

“Our ‘one wish’ to finish out 2016 is to sell commemorative bricks for the hippo exhibit. The money raised by the sale of these commemorative bricks will provide the final funding needed for us to bring the hippos back to Dallas.

“Bricks are available in three sizes and price points:

  • “12”x12” fieldstone paver – $2,500
  • “8”x8” brick – $1,250
  • “8”x4” brick – $500

“We think the hippo bricks will make a lasting, meaningful gift for family and friends this holiday season. In addition, donors will be helping the Dallas Zoo complete another outstanding habitat, which will play a significant role in the effort to protect these magnificent animals from extinction.

“To purchase a brick, simply visit the Dallas Zoo’s website at www.DallasZoo.com/Hippos or just contact Dallas Zoo Associate VP of Advancement Karen Hamilton at 469.554.7420.”

-By Diane Brierley, Jennifer Eagle and Don Glendenning, ZooProud Campaign co-chairs

* Graphic provided by Dallas Zoo

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: 25th Annual Zoo To Do

So, what does one get when Hal Brierley, Don Glendenning and John Levy put their heads together with Mary McDermott Cook for a fundraiser for the Dallas Zoo? A heck of a lot of stripes, dots and dollars!

Hal Brierley, Mary McDermott Cook, Don Glendenning and John Levy

Hal Brierley, Mary McDermott Cook, Don Glendenning and John Levy

For the Zoo To Do’s 25th anniversary, the Zoo Boys plus Mary McD even arranged for Mother Nature to play nicely, the gorillas to hang out for photos and the giraffes happily being handfed Romaine lettuce by guests.

GOrilla

Gorilla

Giraffe

Giraffe

While the post is being finalized, photos of the Silver Safari can be found at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Zoo To Do Patrons Celebrated The Zoo Brothers High Atop Dump Top

The Zoo Brothers are not a new all-boy rap group. Nor are they Pokémon critters. They made their official debut at at the Zoo To Do patron party on Thursday, September 22 at Mary McDermott Cook’s Dump Top home. With the Margaret Hunt Hill and Margaret McDermott bridges in the background, the Brothers (Hal Brierley, Don Glendenning and John Levy) reported on their co-chairing efforts for the Dallas Zoo fundraiser on Saturday, October 1.

Don Winspear

Don Winspear

Being  gents, they  first tipped their chapeaus to the previous chairs of the Dallas Zoo fundraiser. Then they fessed up that despite their manning up for the event, there were ladies behind the scenes attributing to their already earning more than $1.1M. Gals like the wives (Diane Brierley, Carol Glendenning and Carol Levy), Honorary Chair Mary McD (Don claimed that he considers the zoo to be Mary’s Zoo), Decoration Chair Ellen Winspear and Committee Co-Chairs Ruth O’Donnell Mutch and Christy Berry.

Don Glendenning, John Levy and Hal Brierley

Don Glendenning, John Levy and Hal Brierley

But when the rubber hit the road, Hal admitted that, in the past, the boys had always taken the role of showing up, sipping drinks and behaving. They now had greater respect for what their better halves and female pals had pulled off for so many fundraising events. Cracked Hal: “It’s a lot easier to be a spouse.”

Mary McDermott Cook

Mary McDermott Cook

The top lady of admiration was Mary, who in addition to hosting the patron party (“the hostest with the mostest”) was serving as the Silver Safari honorary chair and heading up the Eugene McDermott Foundation that is the presenting sponsor.

Barbara Daseke

Barbara Daseke

Joan Walne

Joan Walne

Other gals being recognized by the Zoo Brothers were Dallas Zoo Board of Directors Chair Joan Walne and Live Auction Chair Barbara Daseke, who has produced one of the most incredible collection of live auction items. Like what? How about a behind-the-scenes, meet-and-adore for six people to see the Dallas Zoo’s Swaziland elephants, including the new baby elephant and mama? Then the six will board a private jet to Kansas for a catered lunch and another behind-the-scenes tour of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo to check out their Swaziland elephants. Once again the six will board the jet and fly to Wichita, to see the last group of Swaziland transplants and enjoy cocktails at the Sedgwick County Zoo. Then they’ll head on home to Dallas. And they won’t have to pack a single trunk.

Winspear

Winspear

Another junket is on board American Airlines (first-class, of course) to Washington, D.C. “for an up-close viewing of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park’s newest panda, Bei Bei. You will be hosted by Executive Director Dennis Kelly and enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the Zoo. Later in the day, visit a second Smithsonian museum for another VIP behind-the-scenes tour.”

And that’s just a couple of the packages!

As soon as the presentation on the third level was done, guests were directed to the ground level to check out Winspear the cheetah. Gee, that guy doesn’t need an agent. He’s a vet at posing for photos without a bribe.

Tiffany Divis, Ellen Winspear, Diane Gruber and Kathy Holt

Tiffany Divis, Ellen Winspear, Diane Gruber and Kathy Holt

Carol Levy and Alan Walne

Carol Levy and Alan Walne

In the crowd were Kathy and Richard Holt, Tiffany and Paul Divis, Ellen and Don Winspear, Diane and Mike Gruber, Jan and Fred Hegi, Matrice Ellis-Kirk and Ron Kirk, Kim and Greg Hext, Cindy and Chuck Gummer, Lois Finkelman, Dan Branch with daughter Sarah, Gregg Hudson, Sean Green and Holly Bock Deason.

The Dallas Zoo’s Laurie Holloway was like a proud parent showing video of 7-year-old Amahle taking a dip in the Giants of the Savanna pond. It seems that some folks are mistakenly thinking Amahle is the Swaziland baby who was born at the Dallas Zoo just after his mom arrived.

Regarding the new five-month-old calf and his mom, they’re doing wonderfully. Word has it that if baby boy is separated from mom, he is known to raise his trunk and let the world know that he’s a mama’s boy.

As for his public debut, it’s due to take place soon. BTW, he’s weighing in at around 300 pounds.

And speaking of being well fed, Zoo To Do Chief Chef Chris McDord of Abacus has arrange for the following chefs to prepare feasts throughout the Zoo including Chef Brad Phillips of Asador, Chef Matt Balke of Bolsa, Chef Omar Flores of Casa Rubia, Chef Lan Nickews of Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House, Dallas Affaires Cake Company,  Chef Brandon McCann of Dallas Zoo Catering, Chef Dan Landsberg of Dragonfly at Hotel Zaza, Chef Meaders Ozarow of Empire Baking Company, Chef Jacob Williamson of Five- Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, Chef Chrysta Ordonez of Hypnotic Doughnuts, Chef Nico Sanchez of Meso Maya, Chef Paula Lambert of Mozzarella Company, Chef Anita Hirsch of Neiman Marcus, Kathy Rogers of Nothing Bundt Cakes, Chef Janice Provost of Parigi, Chef Blythe Beck of Pink Magnolia, Chef Michael Scott of Rosewood Ranches, Chef Abraham Salum of Salum, Chef John Coleman of Savor Gastropub, Chef Kevin Spencer of SER Steak + Spirits, Chef Jim “Sevy” Severson of Sevy’s Grill, Chef Carlos Capistran of Shinsei Restaurant, Chef Lisa Garza of Sissy’s Southern Kitchen and Bar, Chef Gilbert Garza of Suze, Chef Michael Morabito of Tillman’s Roadhouse, Chef Jesus Olivares of Via Real and Kelly Buckley of 7-Eleven Inc.

Here is a list of the folks and companies on board for the festivities:

Anniversary Presenting Underwriter ($100,000) — The Eugene McDermott Foundation

Platinum Underwriters ($50,000) — American Airlines (Official Airline of Zoo To Do), Diane and Hal Brierley, Carol and Don Glendenning /Locke Lord LLP, Carol and John Levy, Ruth O’Donnell Mutch and Gayla and Jim Von Ehr.

Silver Underwriters ($25,000)Serena and Tom Connelly, Durham Family Foundation, Jennifer and John Eagle, Melissa and Trevor Fetter/Tenet Healthcare Corporation, Kara and Randall Goss, The M.R. and Evelyn Hudson Foundation and Overhead Door Corporation.

White Gold Underwriters ($15,000) — 7-Eleven, Inc. (Party Favor Sponsor), Jennifer and Peter Altabef, Bank of America (Photo Booth Sponsor), Kate and Lane Britain, Barbara and Don Daseke, Diane and Mike Gruber/Gruber Elrod Johansen Hail Shank LLP, Cindy and Chuck Gummer, The Craig and Kathryn Hall Foundation, Highland Capital Management LP , Al G. Hill Jr., Lyda Hill, Oncor , Edgar A. Robinson Family, Lori and Chuck Whitten, Ellen and Don Winspear and Wendy and Gary Wojtaszek/CyrusOne.

Sterling Underwriters ($7,5000)Lee Bailey, Connie and Denny Carreker, Debbie and Gerald Barnes/Gilian and Steve Baron/Susie and Joel Carp/Mary and Neil Dorflinger/Lisa and Neil Goldberg, ESCADA, The Hegi Family, Highland Park Village (Valet Sponsor), Jennifer and Doug Houser, Jackson Walker LLP, Dana and David Kleiman/Beth and Larry Konig/Elaine and Trevor Pearlman/Jackie Sherman/David Weinreb, Friends of Carol and John Levy, Vicki and Brian Miller, Dawn E. Moore/ Allegiance Title Company, Stephen Penrose, Caren Prothro, PwC, Nancy and Doug Rabe, Dr. R. Lynn and Cynthia A. Rea and Friends, The Rosewood Corporation, Service Systems Associates, Lisa K. Simmons, Texas Capital Bank, Texas Instruments, Tolleson Wealth Management, Turner Construction Company, UT Southwestern Medical Center/ Southwestern Medical Foundation, Walne Family/Herb’s Paint and Body Shops, Westwood Trust and Jane Williams and Ron Williams.

VIP Underwriters ($3,000) Michael D. Anderek, RosenBerry Real Estate Group, Carol Braden and Vera Locurto, The Burnett Family, Ana and Don Carty, CLR Design Inc., Julia and Louis Dorfman, Cheryl and James Drayer, Karen and Phil Drayer, Betsy and Richard Eiseman/Eiseman Jewels NorthPark, Alina and Ruben E. Esquivel, Leland Burk and Thomas Feulmer, Lois and Ross Finkelman, Denise and Steven Glazer, Steve Hargrove/ Hargrove Electric Co., Kim and Greg Hext, Holmes Murphy and Associates, Tavia and Clark Hunt, Margo and Jim Keyes, Matrice Ellis- Kirk and The Honorable Ron Kirk, Pat and Charles McEvoy, Deborah and David Michel, Winstead PC, Janiece and Jimmy Niemann, Nancy Perot and Rod Jones, PlainsCapital Bank , Jeff and Darrel Rice and Mary and Mike Terry.

Media SponsorsPaperCity, Park Cities News/ The Waters Family, MySweetCharity.com and Downtown Business News.

Update: Dallas Zoo’s Dollar Day

Naturally, you want an update on the Dallas Zoo’s Dollar Day. Early counts claim that more than 20,000 pairs of feet hit the pathways. It may not be a record-breaker, but the numbers are still being counted and then there was that heat/humidity factor.

But the news-of-the-day wasn’t just limited to feet-on-the-ground. According to Dallas Zoo’s Laurie Holloway, “Special thanks to the helicopter teams who pulled up higher when I called today. Low flights spook many of our animals, particularly in the Savanna. Hoofstock, such as giraffes, zebras, etc., are the most susceptible to this, so we ask that you maintain a decent distance over the Zoo habitats.”

Giants of the Savanna (File photo)

Giants of the Savanna (File photo)

Evidently the critters thought that a presidential candidate might be landing.

Hot Thursday (Hello, Like Tomorrow) Is Dollar Day At The Dallas Zoo

Brace yourself. We’re heading into the steamy, hottest days of summer. How in the world can it be more bearable? Simple. Way more than simple, thanks to the Dallas Zoo.

Tomorrow (aka Thursday, July 21) will be a “Dollar Day” day. OMG. For a cheap thrill, folks can see the greatest creations of Mother Nature. So what are the special deals? How about:

  • • $1 admission (free for 2 and under and Zoo members)
  • $1 selected snack items
  • $1 nectar to feed the lorikeets
  • $2 Endangered Species Carousel
  • $5 giraffe feedings$8 parking (limited)
Giraffe (File photo)

Giraffe (File photo)

BTW, if you’re gonna feed the giraffes, please be cool. They have tongues that are longer than a socialites’ Christmas card list.

If you haven’t been at the Dallas Zoo since the newbie elephants from Africa set up camp, take the time to check out the bambino elephant’s name that will be revealed on Reunion Tower at 9 p.m. tonight. (Update: Abaju). Talk about smart marketing. Wink, wink.

Whew! Don’t worry about gift-giving for the baby elephant. He ain’t registered at Babies R Us nor Hollywood Feed, so gifts are not expected.

And if your budget is tighter than a high-school prom squeeze, then consider venturing on to the Dart red line. You just might be surprised about this public “Uber” transportation that will take you to the Dallas Zoo.

Yes, for those of the Pokemon searchers, the Dallas Zoo is ready for you. Giggle.

Zoo To Do Guests Had A Hoot Of A Time At Escada

There are party animals and then there are party animals. And when the Zoo To Do crowd makes up the guest list, there are bound and determined to be some of the Dallas Zoo’s ambassadors among the group.

Carol Glendenning, Diane Brierley, Cassie, Carol and John Levy

Carol Glendenning, Diane Brierley, Cassie, Carol and John Levy

Flighty fella

Flighty fella

On Tuesday, May 17, the two-legged types and critters gathered at Highland Park Village’s Escada salon. Since husbands/Zoo To Do’s Silver Safari Co-Chairs Don Brierley and Don Glendenning had other commitments, their better halves (aka Diane Brierley and Carol Glendenning) joined fellow Co-Chair John Levy and his wife Carol Levy and other guests like Lee Bailey and former Escada GM Melissa Rathke to check out the fashions and food benefiting the zoo.

While the humans arrived via the front door, the ambassadors snuck in through the back entrance. Don’t you just know those celeb types are always sneaking in side doors to avoid the paparazzi?

One of the literal highlights of the occasion was the owl, who upon spying the table of appetizers decided to take flight for the spread. Thanks to his handler Cassie’s leash, his airborne antics didn’t ruffle any food, fashions or feathers except his.

The Party Animals Overcame Traffic Woes For Zoo To Do’s 25th Anniversary “Silver Safari” Kick-Off Party

Evidently no one told the internet map services that there had been some reconfiguring of I-35 leading from Dallas to the Dallas Zoo. During evening rush hour on Tuesday, May 10, it seems the old familiar lanes just weren’t headed in the right direction anymore. Some drivers looked like homeless puppies as they begged for others to allow them to swap lanes at the juncture of I-35 and I-30.

Linus the possum

Linus the possum

Owl ambassadpr

Owl ambassadpr

Despite the inconvenience, zoo-loving devotees found their way to the Zoo To Do kick-off party at the Zoo’s the Simmons Family Base Camp overlooking the Giants of the Savanna. As the two-legged humans sipped and sampled and got chummy with the resident owl and possum (okay, so when Tom Leppert got a wee bit too close to Linus the possum, the former Dallas mayor was advised that Linus might find Tom’s nose tasty), the elephants had their own happy hour themselves and could have cared less about guests’ trekking. Of course, it didn’t hurt that thanks to the fundraisers’ gathering, the pachyderms’ happy hour had been extended. Instead of two-for-one drinks, it was extra trunk time at the gurgling water features, green grass and hanging out at hay towers. While it was the same-old, same-old for vets of the herd, it was OMG for newbie African arrivals that had just left the drought conditions of their native Africa.

Elephants hanging out at the hay tower

Elephants hanging out at the hay tower

When asked how to tell the new kids on the block from the old-timers, a Zoo staffer said the African newbies were the thinner ones.

Dallas Zoo VP of Guest Experiences Sean Greene, when asked about the complaints regarding the “bring over” of the elephants from Africa to the states, admitted that he appreciated the concerns, but that comparing the Giants of Savanna’s protected environment to the natural predators, poaches and lack of food in Africa, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of comfort as he watched the elephants chowing down in their new digs. Sean’s hope was that the Dallas Zoo would be a prototype of how to provide better conditions for animals that only knew suffering in their native Swaziland.

Sean Greene

Sean Greene

John Levy

John Levy

Tom Leppert and Diane and Hal Brierley

Tom Leppert and Diane and Hal Brierley

But the evening’s attention soon shifted from the heavyweight types to the heavy hitters like Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Hal Brierley, Don Glendenning and John Levy, who will be heading up the 25th Anniversary of Zoo To Do with “Silver Safari” on Saturday, October 1, at the Zoo (naturally) with Party Machine providing the music. Future plans like the names of the participating chefs and live auction packages will be revealed in the weeks ahead.

Amy and Michael Meadows

Amy and Michael Meadows

The host committee is made up of  Christy Berry, Committee Co-Chairs Christy Berry and Ruth O’Donnell Mutch, as well as Stacey and Dan Branch, Janet and Crawford Brock, Connie and Denny Carreker, Ana and Don Carty, Taylor Conway, Barbara and Don Daseke, Holly Bock, Monica and Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, Barbara and Steve Durham, Kara and Randall Goss, Kathryn and Craig Hall, Jan and Fred Hegi, Jennifer and Doug Houser, Margo and Jim Keyes, Matrice Ellis-Kirk and Ron Kirk, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Sarah and Alan Losinger, Amy and Michael Meadows, Deborah and David Michel, Caren Prothro, Nancy and Doug Rabe, Sylvia and Hernan Saenz, Patty and Dennis Stone and Lori and Chuck Whitten.

Everything is moving right head with tickets started at $750 and sponsors already lining up including

  • Anniversary Level ($100,000) — The Eugene McDermott Foundation
  • Platinum Level ($50,000) — Diane and Hal Brierley, Carol and Don Glendenning / Locke Lord LLP, Carol and John Levy, Ruth O’Donnell Mutch and Gayla and Jim Von Her
  • Silver Level ($25,000) — Serena & Tom Connelly, Jennifer and John Eagle, Melissa and Trevor Fetter / Tenet Healthcare Corporation and Kara and Randall Goss
  • White Gold Level ($15,000) — Barbara and Don Daseke, Cindy and Chuck Gummer, The Craig and Kathryn Hall Foundation, Al G. Hill Jr., Lyda Hill, Jennifer and Doug Houser, Overhead Door Corporation, Edgar A. Robinson Family, Lori and Chuck Whitten, Ellen and Don Winspear and Wendy and Gary Wojtaszek/CyrusOne
  • Sterling Level ($7,500) — Bank of America (Photo Opportunity Sponsor), Gilian and Steve Baron, Susie and Joel Carp, Hegi Family Foundation, Dana and David Kleiman, Vicki and Brian Miller, Elaine and Trevor Pearlman, Stephen Penrose, Caren Prothro, PwC, Dr. R. Lynn and Cynthia A. Rea and Friends, Texas Capital Bank, Turner Construction Company, Walne Family/Herb’s Paint and Body Shops, David R. Weinreb, Westwood Trust and Jane Williams.

Luckily, there are still some great sponsorship opportunities still available. But better hustle.

Hal, Don And John To Tri-Chair 25th Anniversary Of Zoo To Do’s “Silver Safari” Presented By The Eugene McDermott Foundation

It was 25 years ago that Zoo To Do was created, turning the Dallas Zoo into a festival of food, silent auctions and entertainment, much to the fascination of the critter residents. The giraffes love it because there are always guests who give them extra helpings of munchies.

Giraffe (File photo)

Giraffe (File photo)

And speaking of the food, it’s a showcase of chefs impressing one and all with edibles.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, a trio of fellas will co-chair the outdoor “Silver Safari” on Saturday, October 1, for an estimated 700 guests. And what a threesome it is — Hal Brierley, Don Glendenning and John Levy!

Don Glendenning (File photo)

Don Glendenning (File photo)

Hal Brierley (File photo)

Hal Brierley (File photo)

With the past two years of hitting the million-dollar mark, the boys have a challenge ahead. But they’ve already signed up The Eugene McDermott Foundation as the presenting sponsor, as well as putting together a top-notch team including Mary McDermott Cook coming on board as honorary chair, Ruth O’Donnell Mutch as host committee chair, Diane Brierley and Cindy Gummer as past chair committee co-chairs, Kevin Hanrahan as underwriting chair, Barbara Daseke as live auction committee chair and Denise Zook-Glazer as silent auction chair.

Gorilla (File photo)

Gorilla (File photo)

And what about the chefs? The honorary chef will be the Hotel ZaZa’s Dragonfly Chef Dan Landsberg, who will be joined by Chef Chair Sarah Barr of Hotel ZaZa and Chef Wrangler Brett Krafft of the Hilton Anatole.

Following dinner, the live auction for “rare zoo experiences, travel and more” will take place in the Wilds of Africa. Then the guests will dance away the night with Party Machine providing the sounds. Hope it doesn’t keep the animals up past their bedtime.

Individual tickets start at $750.

Have the Dallas Zoo Penguins Got A Deal For The Thrifty-Minded Critter Watchers

Evidently El Nino is playing rollercoaster with temperatures and rain. Pity the poor Dallas Zoo penguins. One day they’re happy as can be with the chill and wet stuff. The next day they’re slathering on sunscreen.

Jazz the African Penguin*

Jazz the African Penguin*

But don’t feel too sorry for them because the Dallas Zoo has kicked off its Penguin Days special in honor of the formal-feathered birds. Until 4 p.m. on Leap Day … yup, there will be a February 29 in 2016… admission is a mere $5 per person.

Now, that’s a big deal bargain. It’s way more than 50% off for kids and seniors (normally $12). As for adults, it’s only an itty-bitty one-third of the normal admission ($15).

Sure, the parking is still $8, but the penguins can only do so much. Who knows? This might be the perfect opportunity to try out the DART Red Line. It takes you straight to the Dallas Zoo Station.

* Photo courtesy of the Dallas Zoo

Get A Headstart On Thanksgiving Celebrations With The Dallas Zoo’s Dollar Day And A Visit To The Dallas Arboretum

Dallas Zoo elephant (File photo)

Dallas Zoo elephant (File photo)

The Dallas Zoo is really committed to getting record crowds for 2015. To help the numbers rise, they’re having one of their legendary Dollar Days on Wednesday, November 25. The temps will be in the upper 60s/lower 70s and there might be a sprinkle or two, but shoot! For a buck, it’s worth wearing a windbreaker.

So, if you’re lucky enough to have a boss who’ll let you off early, or if you’re claiming Wednesday as a holiday, head to the zoo and wish the critters a happy Thanksgiving.

The 12 Days Of Christmas (File photo)

The 12 Days Of Christmas (File photo)

Hey! Here’s an idea. Do a twofer! Hit the zoo in the morning and the Dallas Arboretum in the afternoon to check out the 12 Days of Christmas. It’s the absolute perfect way to chill and get your mind set for the day that focuses on being grateful.

The Gummer Gang’s Zoo To Do Was A Roaring Success With Flappers, Food And Fun

October was at the halfway point on Saturday, October 17 and North Texas was rocking. Taylor Swift was concerting at AT&T Stadium. The Arthritis Foundation moved their 10th Annual Bonz Bash up a week at the Omni Dallas, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra was playing at NorthPark with Maestro Jaap van Zweden at the helm as part of the NorthPark50 celebration.

But, a lot of gangsters and their molls headed south of town.

Perhaps the spirit of Halloween was already in the air, but hundreds of the Zoo To Do guests costumed it up for the Dallas Zoo fundraiser. Co-Chair Cindy and Chuck Gummer had put folks on notice that the Gummer Gang (Alisha and Chris Gummer, Cameron and Jay Gummer and Michelle and Ryan Gummer) was meaning to raise some big bucks and they were going to do in style… Roaring 20’s style, that is.

Randall and Kara Goss, Chuck and Cindy Gummer and Peggy Marshall and Mike Andereck

Randall and Kara Goss, Chuck and Cindy Gummer and Peggy Marshall and Mike Andereck

Admittedly Cindy had been involved with the zoo, but it was Chuck who took his decades of CEO-ing to work to rev up the bucks and tap talent like Mike Andreck to handle the fundraising.

But, getting there proved to be a bit of a challenge for anyone taking Woodall Rodgers, with three lanes blocked due to an accident. But it was well worth the effort.

As Kara and Randall Goss arrived, a flamingo spread its wings and scampered around the zoo entrance. Someone was heard to say, “Now, there goes a flapper.”

Lynn Dealey and Daniel Holguin

Lynn Dealey and Daniel Holguin

Guests like Lynn Dealey and Daniel Holguin posed in front of a vintage car like gangsters and their molls. At another point along the way, a gangster was seen guarding a vintage bathtub where no doubt his gin had been brewed.

Cearan Henley, Barbara Daseke, Ben Fischer, Laree Hulshoff and Allan Knight

Cearan Henley, Barbara Daseke, Ben Fischer, Laree Hulshoff and Allan Knight

Ruben and Alina Esquivel

Ruben and Alina Esquivel

Pat and Charles McEvoy

Pat and Charles McEvoy

Getting in the swing of the 1920’s era, Barbara Daseke, Laree Hulshoff, Ben Fischer, Alina and Ruben Esquivel and Pat and Charles McEvoy heeded the Gummer “suggestion” and went vintage. Okay, so Pat admitted that she had just bought her flapper hat that day at Neiman’s.

Gabby Gutierrez and Gunnar Rawlings

Gabby Gutierrez and Gunnar Rawlings

It was like an anniversary for Gabby Gutierrez and Gunnar Rawlings. It was just two years ago that they met thanks to Mike Gruber and had their first date at Zoo To Do.

Brent Christopher showed up in his trademark bowtie, but kidless. The reason? They had homework.

Nico Sanchez

Nico Sanchez

Kendrick Smith

Kendrick Smith

Jonathan Espinoza and Tara Cheney

Jonathan Espinoza and Tara Cheney

Jim Severson

Jim Severson

The chefs were having as much fun as the guests. While those near the entrance of the Giants of the Savanna and the silent auction got hit by the first waves of guests, others further down the walk near the Base Camp and  Predator Talk were able to accommodate one and all with ease. Everything was served up: from the Dallas Zoo’s garbanzo bean mash with sous vide pork belly and sherry lacquer and apple slaw to Meso Maya’s chicken pozole verde.

Gorilla

Gorilla

As for the zoo residents, they had mixed feelings about the whole affair. The gorilla was harrumphing on top of a hill. Evidently the ape was not happy about not being part of the festivities in the Gorilla Research Center for the VIP party. After all, the hedgehog and penguin got to attend. While the hedgehog slept through part of the affair, the unhappy gorilla further showed his unhappiness by mooning some of the guests.

Elephant

Elephant

Over in the Giants of Savanna, the elephants were having a trunk show and didn’t even notice the two-legged peeps. A cheetah walked to a certain spot high atop his grounds and lounged watching the humans wandering and staring back.

Boa constrictor

Boa constrictor

The boa constrictor wrapped around Zoo Staffer Shannon C. without squeezing too tight. But holding 35 pounds of snake can be a bit of a handful, so Zoo Staffer Hayley P. was nearby to relieve her. On the other hand, Joan Walne was keeping her distance from the slithering reptile.

Alan and Joan Walne and Kelly and Paul Gittemeier

Alan and Joan Walne and Kelly and Paul Gittemeier

The giraffes had absolutely no problem at all with the celebration as guests gave them treat after treat. It was the perfect way to get an eyeful of their 18-inch black tongues. Why, they’re so used to being popular, they know how to strike a perfect pose when a camera is in sight.

Giraffe

Giraffe

Spock

Spock

Giving the giraffes a run for their money when it came to tongue dynamics, Spock the Argentine Tegu didn’t even need food to show off his forked, pink tongue.

And as for the Warthogs and Red River Hogs, they took the night off. They didn’t want to hog all the fun.

For more photos, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2015 Zoo To Do

The party animals were in fine fettle on Saturday, October 17, for the Dallas Zoo’s Zoo To Do. The weather could not have been more perfect for folks and critters to graze and gaze. And there were loads of chef stations set up throughout the park.

Randall and Kara Goss, Chuck and Cindy Gummer and Peggy Marshall and Mike Andereck

Randall and Kara Goss, Chuck and Cindy Gummer and Peggy Marshall and Mike Andereck

Giraffe

Giraffe

Spock

Spock

Before setting off for Halloween parties and trick and treating, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery to take a gander at the Roaring 20’s costumes on the two-legged types and the four-legged residents showing off their tastebuds.

JUST IN: Dallas Zoo’s Halloween Nights Canceled For Tonight

Dallas Zoo penguins (File photo)

Dallas Zoo penguins (File photo)

Guess who’s back in town? Yup, old grumpy Mother Nature and is she unloading. The good news: the drought is drenched. The bad news: the Dallas Zoo has canceled tonight’s plans for Halloween Nights.

According to Dallas Zoo’s Lydia Jennings, “The spooky affair will resume Saturday and Sunday evenings as planned.”

If you pre-purchased a ticket, it will be good through Sunday.

BTW, the penguins are enjoying the rainfall, but none of the critters are too keen about the accompanying thunder and lightning.

Mother Nature’s User-Friendly Weather Breaks Records And Makes Smiley Faces For Local Venues

Is there an upside to a drought? Farmers, landscapers and fire fighters wouldn’t hesitate  bristling, “H_ll, no!”

But there is. Sure for the past six weeks, the weather has been a bit on the warmish side, but it has translated into the “4 S’s” (shorts, sleeves cotton shirts, sun dresses and sandals).

And the venues have seen traffic counts soar as well as $$. Of course, you require proof. For your consideration how about:

Evidently, that isn’t enough proof, so here goes:

These numbers are gratifying since October is traditionally one of the wettest months of the year and not particularly guest-friendly.

But this run is about to end with forecasters hinting that rain is on its way starting Thursday. Enjoy the beautiful weather while it’s here. Old Man Winter is icing up for the months ahead.