Wednesday, July 12, 2017

ZOO TO DO 2017: Animal Gathering Kicked Off at the Simmons Hippo Outpost at the Dallas Zoo

Zoo To Do kicked-off the Animal Gathering with a private soirée at the Dallas Zoo’s new $14 million, 2.1-acre Simmons Hippo Outpost. The new hippo exhibit is the zoo’s first major exhibit since 2010 and was funded solely through private donations. The impressive new space features an immersive African waterhole habitat which includes an underwater viewing area of the zoo’s two newest hippo residents, Adhama (uh-DAHM-a) and Boipelo (BOY-pa-lo).  
Barbara and Don Daseke, Zoo To Do Chairs
 A cool breeze was in the air and everyone was in a festive mood as they boarded the trams taking them to this special outpost for the kick-off event. In a salute to the Animal Gathering theme, a flamboyance of plastic flamingos (DID YOU KNOW?: a gathering of flamingos is known as a flamboyance?) served as a beautiful welcoming party and brought smiles from the crowd, as did special appearances by hometown guests, including flamingos Aruba and Bermuda, mother and daughter tamanduas, Chispa and Cora, along with Dulce the spectacled owl. 
Tom Leppert, Karen Waller, Kevin Hanrahan
Zoo To Do chairs Barbara and Don Daseke set the scene for the evening while the hippos roaming and swimming in their habitat provided the perfect backdrop for photos outside. Inside, tables were set with gourmet delights created by the Zoo’s Executive Chef Ian Feiwus paired with wines curated by Hayley Cogill, a certified sommelier and certified specialist of wine.
Joan Walne, Zoo board chair; Alan Walne
Gregg Hudson, president and CEO of the Dallas Zoo, thanked everyone for their support and for attending the evening’s event, and touting the zoo’s record-setting 1.2 million visitors last year. Joan Walne, Zoo board chair, congratulated everyone on last year’s event, which earned a record $1,475,000. She thanked last year’s chairs, Hal Brierley, Don Glendenning and John Levy.
Alisha Gummer, Chris Gummer, Cindy Gummer, Chuck Gummer
Chairs Barbara and Don Daseke said they were delighted to chair the 2017 event and noted that since they went on their trip to Africa, they have grown to appreciate how important natural habitats are to the animals and are thrilled to help bring awareness to the Dallas Zoo’s dedication to its mission to create a better world for animals. As longtime Dallas Zoo and Zoo To Do supporters, they have brought on many friends and some former Zoo To Do chairs to join their committee this year, including Honorary Chair Mary McDermott Cook, Live Auction Chairs Diane and Hal Brierley, Host Committee Chairs Barbara and Steve Durham, Underwriting Chairs Kate and Lane Britain, Decorations Chair Cindy Gummer, Honorary Chef Chair Dan Landsberg from Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa, Chef Wrangler Brett Krafft from the Hilton Anatole, and Chef Chair Sarah Barr from Hotal ZaZa.
Kevin Rabe, Nancy Rabe, Douglas Rabe
Slated for Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 and hosted at the Dallas Zoo, guests and patrons of the 2017 Zoo To Do Animal Gathering will stroll through the award-winning Giants of the Savanna exhibit, sample exquisite dishes from more than 25 of Dallas’s premier chefs and restaurants, and enjoy interactive animal demonstrations and musical entertainment. Following dinner, guests will move to the Wilds of Africa plaza for a live auction featuring rare zoo experiences, travel and more! Finally, partygoers will dance the night away to music from Emerald City All Stars.

          Zoo To Do is a major source of funding for the Dallas Zoo. Proceeds from the event help support the zoo’s dedication to providing the best animal care, delivering unique education offerings and furthering its wildlife conservation efforts. 
          Sponsorships range from $7,500 to $50,000. Underwriting ranges from $7,500 to $100,000. Individual tickets are $750 each and a VIP ticket pack is $3,000. For more information, visit the website at or contact Stephanie Thompson, events manager at 469-554-7441 or via email at

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