Dallas Zoo Is Offering “Cheap Thrills” In January And February As Well As Dollar Day On Monday

Dallas Zoo is offering a double-doozy during the month. Thanks to its annual Penguin Days, the price of admission is $7 through the end of February. KDFW-FOX4’s Lauren Przybl admitted that it was a great time to see the residents, since the place wasn’t overly crowded with two-legged critters.

Yes, in the past Penguin Days has gone for $5, but shoot! They’ve added babies and hippos, so no wonder there’s been a slight increase. It’s still a lot cheaper that the usual $12-$15 admission price.

Dallas Zoo Penguin Days hosts (File photo)

Sean Greene (File photo)

And speaking of cheap, the second special offer is the Zoo’s semi-annual Dollar Day that takes place Monday, January 8. Dallas Zoo Guest Experience VP Sean Greene revealed the buck-eroo special on Wednesday, but the Zoo’s website hasn’t quite kept up with Sean and is just now trying to get the word out today.

In addition to the dollar entry fee, there are other cheap thrills like

  • $1 selected snack items ($1 hot dogs, chips, soda, water will be available at the Wilds of Africa Grill near the monorail)
  • $1 seed stick to feed birds in Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo
  • $2 Endangered Species Carousel
  • $2 T-Rex Express Mini-train
  • $5 Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari monorail
  • $5 giraffe feedings
  • $10 parking (limited)

The good news is that the Dallas Independent School District kiddos don’t go back to school until Tuesday. By now, they’re probably suffering from cabin fever and this is a great way to overcome the “fever.” The even better news is that weather guessers are predicting the temperatures will be hitting a “toasty 50 degrees” with sunny skies.

Since parking is limited, take DART. It will drop you off practically at the front door.

Early Birds Flocked To The Annual Zoo To Do Fundraiser As The Dallas Zoo Residents Grazed On

Sometimes it pays to be an early bird at an event. And Zoo To Do was such an occasion on Saturday, November 4, at the Dallas Zoo. While the official start time for the expected 700 guests was 6 p.m., some VIP types like Joan and Alan Walne and Diane and Mike Gruber arrived at 5:30.

Joan and Alan Walne

Diane and Mike Gruber

The cheetahs were already striking poses on the hill in their compound like cover girls. One of them appeared to be eyeing a zebra in the Giants of Savanna. Abacus’ Chris Patrick claimed that one of the spotted cats had just minutes before sat next to the setup up on the other side of the glass.

Lisa Martel, Cessy Mendoza, Dennis Egert and Chris Patrick

Across the way, a couple of giraffes were accepting lettuce handouts. Over in the Giants area, Ajabu was making his Zoo To Do debut. Not all the herd got to party, though. The adult bull elephant was in a separate area, chilling near the elephant waterhole. Seems he’s been feeling his oats lately and was a bit frisky.

Giraffe

Ajabu

On the other hand, one of the female elephants that had experience in raising youngsters was trumpeting from the elephant barn. She and Ajabu’s mama, Mlilo, aren’t best buds, it seems. The backstory was that when Ajabu was an infant, Mlilo wasn’t happy when the other females tried to take charge of Ajabu. Evidently she thought she would be a better, more experienced mom. Since elephants are known for not forgetting, Mlilo still remembers the dis. Talk about Real House Elephants of the Dallas Zoo! 

And speaking of shenanigans, the Simmons Hippo Outpost has been a sources of whispers throughout the zoo campus. No confirmation yet, but Adhama and Boipelo have been playing hippo house. If wishes come true and the gestation period for a hippo is 243 days, there might be some hippo baby showers in the spring.

Subira

Gimli

Meanwhile, the always-cool gorillas seemed to be teasing the guests in the VIP Lounge. As Subira, the silverback, and his gal pals ambled to different spots in the Gorilla Trails, the guests moved throughout the lounge to ooh-and-ah and snap cellphone shots. As one guest noted, “The silverback knows he’s cool.” Guess so. After becoming an internet sensation with his “Dancing Machine” in June, Subira’s become the John Travolta of the gorilla set.

After posing for a photo with baby crocodile Gimli, Event Co-Chair Barbara Daseke confided that she told husband/Co-Chair Don Daseke to take off his alligator belt.

Don and Barbara Daseke

Amy and Jim Severson

In the meantime, the chefs were setting up for an evening of feeding the herd of guests. There were familiar faces like Sevy’s Amy and Jim Severson, Salum’s Abraham Salum and Janice Provost of Parigi, as well as Empire Bakery’s Meador Ozarow and Shinsei/Lovers Seafood and Market’s Aaron Staudenmaier.

Janice Provost and Abraham Salum

Aaron Staudenmaier and Meaders Ozarow

Janice reported having a busy fall, what with the Meat Fight party in a few days, as well as an upcoming trip to assist her pal Nikky Phinyawatana, head chef at Asian Mint, at the big James Beard Event in New York. Aaron also had some exciting news, disclosing that he would be leaving his post with Shinsei/Lovers Seafood and Market to join the Front Burner restaurant group as corporate chef for Whiskey Cake.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: 2017 Zoo To Do

Ajabu

Subira

Before the Full Hunter’s Moon arrived on the scene for the Dallas Zoo’s 2017 Zoo To Do on Saturday, November 4, the guests were discovering the residents were all fine and dandy for the fundraiser. From elephant toddler Ajabu to silverback Mr. Cool Subira, they were almost blasé about the two-legged critters ogling them.

Lisa Martel, Cessy Mendoza, Dennis Egert and Chris Patrick

Janice Provost and Abraham Salum

Amy and Jim Severson

Aaron Staudenmaier and Meaders Ozarow

Don and Barbara Daseke

In the meantime, the chefs like Chris Patrick, Janice Provost, Abraham Salum, Jim Severson, Aaron Staudenmaier and Meaders Ozarow were finetuning their stations for the graze around prior to the live auction and festivities arranged by Co-Chairs Barbara and Don Daseke.

For a look at the festivities, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Dallas Zoo Flamingos Did Head Turns For Zoo To Do Patrons As The Owl Stared On And The Possum Got Paws On With His Meal

Despite North Texas waking up to the first chill of the season on Wednesday, October 25, and the traffic watchers preparing for an afternoon challenge due to a Presidential visit, fundraising didn’t slow down one iota.

Over at SMU’s Collins Center, Hal Brierley assembled Bob Crandall, Doug Parker and other major types for a reception and panel discussion called “Customer Engagement: From Conception to Industry Leadership.”

Diane Brierley was scrambling. In addition to watching husband Hal’s program, her must-do-list had her at Amy and Mitchell Malone’s home for the Dallas Zoo‘s Zoo-To-Do patron party.

Known for her agility and event juggling, Diane had a driver transport her to SMU for Hal’s program and then at an agreed-to-time the driver picked her up and drove her to the Malone’s home. As for getting home, Diane just crossed the street to the Brierley homestead.

Diane Brierley

Don and Barbara Daseke

As for the evening, the Malones’ backyard was ideal overlooking Turtle Creek and with guests like Diane and Zoo-To-Do Co-Chair Barbara Daseke providing handouts to the Dallas Zoo showgirls (aka the flamingos).

Possum

Owl

Over on a table, the possum managed to enjoy a meal with paws in the bowl. As the little critter munched away, guests learned that possums are not long timers. They tend to live only eight years and are not very picky about their diets. Think carrion. But on this night it was a healthy diet of nuts and fruit.

The newbie on the scene was Dulce. The young owl that was wide-eyed spied Zoo-To-Do Co-Chair Don Daseke, Dallas Zoo Executive Director/CEO Gregg Hudson, Joan and Alan Walne, Beth Mayfield and Alina and Ruben Esquivel.

Dallas Zoo’s Cat Row Is No Mo With Its Closure And Residents Being Rehomed

There’s an old wives’ tale that bad news is revealed on Friday afternoons. Not is always the case. This afternoon Dallas Zoo’s Lydia Jennings apologized for the late release of the news that the Cat Row in Zoo North would be closing with the residents (ocelots, mountain lions and bobcats) headed to other digs.

Dallas Zoo*

It seems that the “current exhibit — Cat Row in Zoo North — does not adequately reflect the updated, naturalist habitats the zoo strives to provide for animals.”

According to Dallas Zoo VP of Animal Operations and Welfare Harrison Edell, “As one of the nation’s top zoos, we pride ourselves on continuously evolving and building bigger and better habitats for our animals. Cat Row doesn’t reflect Dallas Zoo’s progressive philosophy of care. There’s no doubt our cats are well cared for, and live enriched lives here – their home just doesn’t represent our growth and vision, and it’s time for change.

“Moving these amazing cats wasn’t an easy decision, but it’s what’s best for them. We’re confident they’ll live safe, healthy lives in their new homes. We want nothing more than for our guests to fall in love with wildlife in the right setting, and to support us as we find ways to create a better world for animals.”

The good news is that plans call for bobcat Rufus to leave on Tuesday, September 26, for the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale, Arizona; for ocelots Joaquin and Milagre to call New Orleans’ Audubon Zoo home; and for mountain lion fellas Apollo and Lakai to go to Bridgeport’s Center for Animal Research and Education.

In its place the plan is to “use Cat Row as a much-needed extension to its outdoor event space” lie Halloween Nights and Dallas Zoo Lights.

Official going-away-festivities will take place on Saturday, September 30, and Sunday, October, 1.

Wasn’t it earlier this month that the Zoo announced the departure of the Australian critters due to construction along I-35E? Such is progress.

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.