Cuddled up at Cleveland Zoo’s Animal Attractions

Cleveland Zoo Animal Attractions

10th Annual Animal Attractions at the Cleveland Zoo Rainforest

Ever wonder how Willy, the Cleveland Zoo’s 13,000-lb bull elephant, gets along with Kallie, Martika, Shenga and Moshi, the herd’s female elephants? Want to know more about mating behaviors of the Zoo’s other creatures big and small?

At last week’s Animal Attractions I got my fair share of answers to the birds and the bees at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

Hosted by the Cleveland Zoological Society, Animal Attractions raises money to support the Cleveland Zoo and its various programs.

Cleveland Zoo Animal Attractions Corn Snake

Although I was a bit squeamish, Scott persuaded me to get upclose to this Corn Snake at the Cleveland Zoo’s Animal Attractions

Last Thursday, Scott and I escaped into the Rainforest’s balmy oasis, where – surrounded by porcupines, capybaras and orangutans – we enjoyed an evening of delicious food, drinks and quality time with some of the zoo’s critters.

On the menu was a selection of food and drink from Cleveland restaurants:

After meeting up with Jen and Matt (read her recap here), we enjoyed jambalaya from House of Blues, grilled shrimp from Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and hummus and tabouli from Whole Foods Market. It was great seeing Lisa and her team after the Ohio Blogging meetup a few days before!

Cleveland Zoo's Animal Attractions: AMP 150's braised short rib, goat cheese polenta and carrot salsa

AMP 150’s braised short rib, goat cheese polenta and carrot salsa at Animal Attractions

The two dishes that really stood out to me, though, were the asiago chicken and potato pancakes from Creekside Restaurant and AMP 150‘s braised beef short rib. The contrasting tastes of creamy goat cheese polenta and crisp carrot salsa really elevated AMP 150’s tender short rib.

Mini-cupcakes from The Cleveland Cupcake Company lent a sweet note to the evening with a whimsical selection of flavors – my favorites being the jalapeno-topped orange cream and greek yogurt minis.

Cleveland Zoo Animal Attractions: Cleveland Cupcake Company

Cleveland Cupcake Company’s Mini-Cupcakes

As promised, we also got up close and personal with many of the Zoo’s creatures. Scott and I made new friends with an armadillo and corn snake. We marveled at a beautiful (and slightly scary) iridescent constrictor.

And we saw a few things we’ll never be able to unsee during Curator Andi Kornak’s 50 Shades of Gray presentation on elephant socialization and mating.

Cleveland Zoo Animal Attractions: Andi Kornak Elephant Presentation

Cleveland Zoo Curator Andi Kornak

The Cleveland Zoological Society hosts a full schedule of events for young and old throughout the year.

Families can enjoy events like Fairytales and Frogs on Feb. 18 and Breakfast with the Easter Bunny in March.

And leave the kids at home for a peacock-themed ZippityZooDoo (June 7) and Twlight at the Zoo (Aug. 2) this summer.

Check out all upcoming events at clevelandzoosociety.org/events.

Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Animal Attractions. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are my own.

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