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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.