(Featured photo: George Seay, Gretchen Seay, hosts; Thai-Lan Tran, Steven J. Roth, Zoo To Do chairs.)
There is nothing subtle about a party where there are gorgeous, elegant live flamingoes strolling the gardens; Raphael, the leopard tortoise making the rounds with his handler; Kruger, a Eurasian eagle owl eyeing the crowd and Kit, the opossum enjoying snacking on his favorite treats. All of this happened courtesy of the Dallas Zoo’s Animal Adventures Outreach program and was a huge hit with the crowd at the Zoo To Do theme reveal garden party soirée graciously hosted by Gretchen and George Seay.
The buzz was all about the theme reveal and more announcements as guests and supporters of the Dallas Zoo were welcomed by 2023 Zoo To Do chairs Thai-lan Tran and Steven J. Roth. The weather was a bit overcast with a slight cool breeze, which made for the perfect outdoor scene in celebration of the upcoming announcements.
Joining in the chic crowd were Lyda Hill, honorary chair; Sean Greene, Executive Vice President of Park Operations and Chief Operating Officer; Harrison Edell, Executive Vice President of Animal Care and Conservation and Chief Mission Officer; Dawn Moore, Dallas Zoo board chair, and her husband, Steve; Mary McDermott Cook and Dan Patterson; Marena and Roger Gault, Host Committee chairs this year and last year’s Zoo To Do chairs; Diane and Hal Brierley, Lois and Ross Finkelman, Carol and Don Glendenning, Cindy and Chuck Gummer, Carol and John Levy, Joan and Alan Walne, and more.
Rhealyn Carter, VP of Advancement at the Dallas Zoo, drew everyone together and said that Zoo To Do is a major source of funding for the nonprofit Dallas Zoo, bringing in more than $1 million each year to help support the Zoo’s dedication to provide the best animal care, deliver unique education offerings, and strengthen its wildlife conservation efforts.
She introduced Steve and Thai who invited everyone to join them on Saturday, November 4, 2023 for the 32nd Annual Zoo To Do. Steve thanked the Seays for opening their home this evening, Lyda as honorary chair, the committee, and friends old and new. He gave a shout out to Salum, saying the restaurant has now re-opened and thanked its owner, Abraham Salum, for providing the gourmet culinary delights this evening. Ending with an invitation for everyone to remember to stop and pick out their sweet treats, Steve thanked Yasmeen Tadia who provided The Gummy Experience crafted by Make Your Life Sweeter.
Thai described the Zoo To Do experience as the most fun night in Dallas, featuring more than 30 of Dallas’ standout restaurants as guests enjoy a strolling dinner around the Giants of the Savanna habitat, with cocktails and small bites. All the while, they can enjoy the beautiful Zoo setting, experience close-up animal encounters, and browse the Big Board and silent auction. As the night progresses, the fun moves into the Wilds of Africa Plaza where guests can satisfy their sweet tooth with bite-sized desserts and other treats. The rousing live auction gives guests a chance to bid on rare Zoo experiences, travel, and more. And then partygoers can take to the dance floor to close out the night with music and dancing!
She said it is an evening of optimism, exploration, passion, inspiration, and feelings of adventure and fun – as Rhealyn threw back the draping, revealing the “Adventure Awaits” theme to cheers and a standing ovation.
Committee members include Advisory Committee chairs, Diane Brierley, Cindy Gummer, Kim Hext, and Marena Gault; Underwriting Committee chairs Alex Arellano and Ryan Gummer; Live Auction Committee chairs Diane and Hal Brierley, Grace Cook and Mary McDermott Cook; Big Board chair, Cindy Gummer; Silent Auction Committee Chair, Chuck Steelman; Raffle Committee Chairs Claudia Lode and Preston Hext; Wine Guys, Greg Hext, Preston Hext, Matthew Meadows and Michael Meadows; Honorary Chef Dan Landsberg; Chef Wrangler, Brett Krafft;and Chef Recruiter, Jimmy Contreras.
Current Zoo To Do sponsors include American Airlines, official Zoo To Do Airline; Truist Bank, as Valet Sponsor; My Sweet Charity, as online media sponsor; and PaperCity, as magazine media sponsor.
Choose your Safari Chic attire and join in the fun to support the Dallas Zoo! Underwriting levels range from $7,500 to $100,000. Ticket packages include a VIP ticket at $1,500 per person or an individual ticket at $750 per person. NEW this year is the $2,500 Conservation Hero Package, which includes a VIP ticket, Patron Party invite, and a $1,000 contribution to the Dallas Zoo. Visit the website for more details at DallasZoo.com/ZooToDo and be sure to follow the event’s new Instagram account @dallaszootodo.
About the Dallas Zoo: The Dallas Zoo is dedicated to Creating a Better World for Animals. Named one of the nation’s Top 10 Zoos by USA Today, it is the largest zoological experience in Texas. The zoo has been accredited continuously by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums since 1985, and features a 106- acre park, more than 2,000 animals, and an education department that offers programs for all ages. The zoo is located at 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway (I-35 at Marsalis) and is open seven days a week (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. currently), 364 days a year. For more information, visit DallasZoo.com or call 469.554.7500.
All Photos by Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio
(Sharon Adams, Adams Communications Public Relations, is honored to represent Zoo To Do and post this Philanthropy Lifestyles Scene.)