Tag Archives: zippityzoodoo

ZippityZooDoo: June 6 at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

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Photo provided by ClevelandZooSociety.org, courtesy of Dale McDonald

Photo provided by ClevelandZooSociety.org, courtesy of Dale McDonald

There’s a lot going on at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo right now, as the Zoo shakes off winter and prepares for a summer full of activities. Summer Day Camp starts in less than a month, tickets are on sale for Twilight at the Zoo, and – as I write this – Carousel Works is at the zoo installing the new Circle of Wildlife carousel:

Carousel Works

It’s no wonder with everything going on that Cleveland’s zoo is one of the final nominees in the USA Today 10Best U.S. Zoos contest. Be sure to vote for the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo here!

To continue bringing us more educational and conservation activities, the Cleveland Zoological Society raises money and awareness through zoo memberships, adopt-an-animal programs and fundraising events.

Their next fundraiser, ZippityZooDoo, will be held June 6. It’s the event’s 41st year and is always a wonderful evening celebrating the kick off of the Zoo’s summer season.

ZippityZooDoo starts at 6pm with an open bar and hors d’oeuvres. Enjoy strolling around parts of the Zoo and getting up-close with some of its animals.

Then at 8pm, sit beneath the summer night sky for a gourmet dinner. Check out the menu, which includes olive and goat cheese stuffed mission fig with citrus pomegranate syrup, caviar, and maple citrus glazed airline chicken.

Photo provided by ClevelandZooSociety.org, courtesy of Dale McDonald

Photo provided by ClevelandZooSociety.org, courtesy of Dale McDonald

Dancing to The Element til 11 and a silent auction featuring behind-the-scenes experiences with orangutans, gorillas, and flamingos (among many other prizes) round out the night.

The event’s goal is to raise $300,000 overall for the Zoo. Individual tickets start at $250, which includes valet parking, dinner, dancing, and entertainment. Other ticket levels include preferred seating, name recognition in the program, plus an exclusive VIP pre-party in the African Elephant Crossing. 

Learn more and get your tickets online. You can also read my recaps of the last two ZippityZooDoos here and here.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend ZippityZooDoo but am unable due to a scheduling conflict. Opinions are 100% my own and based on my experience at previous ZippityZooDoos.

Cleveland Zoo Continues Rocking the Summer with Twilight at the Zoo

After transforming the Zoo into a festive patio party, the Cleveland Zoological Society continues to rock this summer with Twilight at the Zoo, August 2.

After transforming the Zoo into a festive patio party, the Cleveland Zoological Society continues to rock this summer with Twilight at the Zoo, August 2.

I can’t believe summer is already halfway through. On the one hand, it’s mid-July and Labor Day feels like it’s around the corner. But then I also feel like the Cleveland Zoological Society’s ZippityZooDoo was just yesterday. Their annual summer kickoff was so much fun that it’ll be hard to forget any time soon.

Decorations from the peacock-themed ZippityZooDoo

Decorations from the peacock-themed ZippityZooDoo

As Scott and I walked into the Zoo on June 7, we were met with a landscape of blues, purples and greens. Giant (fake) peacocks were perched above on trapeze swings and sounds from The Orchestra welcomed us to the gorgeous patio party.

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Cleveland Zoo Society Celebrates 40 Years of ZippityZooDoo

Cleveland Zoological Society ZippityZooDoo

Each June, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo kicks off summer with a fantastic dinner, cocktails, and dancing under the warm night sky.

More than just a party with the animals, ZippityZooDoo has also been raising money for the last 40 years for the Zoo’s educational initiatives – making it Cleveland’s longest running benefit.

For instance, the live auction at last year’s ZippityZooDoo raised over $51,000 in Zoo scholarships – providing Summer Day Camp scholarships, free lunches, and ZooBus trips to 25,000 students.

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Cleveland Zoological Society's ZippityZooDoo Recap

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo lights up for ZippityZooDoo

When an opportunity comes along to visit the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo after the sun goes down, I’d be hardpressed to pass it up.  After a holiday party there a few years ago, I knew I couldn’t miss their ZippityZooDoo when I first learned about it.

Hosted by the Cleveland Zoological Society, the ZippityZooDoo is Cleveland’s longest-running benefit. For this year’s event Zoolin Rouge, the Zoo brought a little bit of Paris to Northeast Ohio.

ZippityZooDoo’s theme Zoolin Rouge came alive in the beautiful tented patio

After work on Friday, Scott and I drove over to the Zoo. As we walked through the main entrance, we were stunned by its transformation into a Parisian-inspired patio.

Under the giant tent that spanned the length of the walkway, rich fabrics and feathery centerpieces filled the view – a striking and opulent contrast to how the Zoo looks during the day – while music from The Orchestra filled our ears.

Once we found our table, Scott and I did a bit of exploring – meeting some of the zookeepers and a few of their animals. The African Elephant Crossing exhibit was also on full display as one of the elephants splashed around in the pond (a rare sight we were told later).

Dining with the elephants

ZippityZooDoo centered around a 5 course feast inspired by French elegance. Things started off with a few hors d’oeuvres – our favorites being the duck prosciutto fava bean crostini and vichyssoise complemented with a small flower petal.

This was followed by the main event – the seated dinner. Overall, I found the different flavors of the 5 courses worked very well together – from the fresh tomato cucumber salad to the hearty peppercorn steak served with a saffron risotto gruyere croquette.

Smoked Salmon Caviar

Scott and I both agreed, though, that the best course of the evening was the smoked salmon caviar accompanied by a dill crème fraiche. Salmon dishes tend to always win out for us – especially smoked salmon. Served between the salad and the blood orange sorbet entremet, the rich savoriness of the caviar was perfect in its flavor and sequence.

The cheese plate that concluded the dinner was a refreshing touch.  After a large dinner, the last thing I wanted was a heavy or too-sweet dessert. Marie Antoinette may have liked her cake, but I would choose cheese and chocolate as my dessert any day of the week!

ARAMARK catered ZippityZooDoo’s dinner and although I know they mostly deal in food services, I was blown away by the quality of food and the preparation that went into the catered evening.

Lavendar vichyssoise

With the good food came great conversation thanks to our tablemates. Scott and I thoroughly enjoyed making friends with Roy, one of the most young-at-heart people I’ve ever met (who I think has me convinced to endure a 14-hour flight and take a trip to Australia), as well as hearing about the Zoo’s future plans from their Operations Director.

And, of course, I’ll never turn down an evening with PoiseinParma and Hansmatic!

Alicia and I with the Zoo’s flamingos

The highlight of ZippityZooDoo, though, was learning about the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s educational programs.  The purpose of the evening was to raise funds for the Zoo’s programs. During dinner, a spirited MC led pledging for the Zoo’s school initiatives raising over $50,000 in less than an hour.

These funds will allow the Zoo to continue its mission of not only being Northeast Ohio’s most popular tourist attraction, but also a valuable resource for active inquiry-based learning through programs like:

Although I knew education was a large focus of the Zoo, I hadn’t seen how much of an impact the institution has made on children and teachers until ZippityZooDoo.

Many of the Zoo’s animals came out to play like this armadillo

We may have to wait another whole year for the next ZippityZooDoo; however, there are many other opportunities in the meantime to support the Zoo’s education and conservation efforts. From donating to becoming a member, check out the Cleveland Zoological Society to learn how you can help the Zoo continue offering these services year after year.

At the end of the evening Scott and I didn’t want to leave so we figured we’d hide out with these meerkats – think it worked?

Disclosure: I was offered one ticket to attend ZippityZooDoo in exchange for blogging about it. The opinions expressed here are my own. Scott purchased his own ticket to attend.

39th Annual ZippityZooDoo: Take a Trip to Zoolin Rouge

This duct tape elephant celebrates the opening of the Cleveland Zoo’s African Elephant Crossing

 For a region whose cold weather is the punchline of a lot of jokes, it may be surprising at first glance that one of Northeast Ohio’s most visited year-round attractions is the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  With 183 acres, this primarily outdoor venue welcomed 1.3 million visitors last year.

After our first visit to Cleveland’s Zoo a couple years ago, Scott and I immediately understood its popularity.  Home to nearly 3,000 exotic animals, the Zoo boasts a variety of habitats like the African Elephant Crossing, RainForest, Northern Trek, Australian Adventure (my favorite!), African Savanna, Waterfowl Lake and the Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building.

The fact that parking is free and Cuyahoga County and Hinckley Township get free admission on Mondays doesn’t hurt either.  Between their exhibits as well as fun programs like Rising Waters Safari Camp and Bowling for Rhinos, it’s a Cleveland institution that young and old can enjoy in equal measure.


In 1957, the Cleveland Zoological Society was established to partner with and advocate for the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Their primary function is to raise awareness for and help underwrite the Zoo’s exhibits and programs.

41,000+ households of Zoo members and donors make the Cleveland Zoological Society the largest membership program in Northeast Ohio; and the organization works hard to create a slate of unique events that everyone will enjoy. From this Summer’s Date Night at the Zoovies to Twilight at the Zoo, the Zoological Society is giving us even more reasons to visit.

Fortunately, their next event – the 39th annual ZippityZooDoo – is only 2 weeks away.

Hosted by Cleveland Zoological Society, June 8

On Friday, June 8, Cleveland’s longest-running benefit returns. With this year’s theme of Zoolin Rouge, the Cleveland Zoological Society is bringing Paris to Cleveland with all of the extravaganza and indulgence you’d expect.

Starting with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at 6pm, the evening goes til midnight and features live entertainment, music, dancing and the chance to bid for unique Zoo experiences.

It culminates with ZippityZooDoo’s pièce de résistance (said in my best attempt at a French accent) — a filling five-course feast.

If you’re looking for a reason to go (besides supporting one of Cleveland’s great institutions), check out this menu:

  • First Course: Tuna tarter wonton crisp, Vegetable ratatouille cup, Duck prosciutto fava bean pistou crostini, Lavender vichyssoise, Mushroom ragout bruschetta
  • Second Course: Spinach greens, tarragon marinated tomato cucumber salad, champagne vinaigrette
  • Fish Course: Smoked salmon caviar, sea salt, crostini, dill crème fraiche
  • Entrements: Blood orange sorbet
  • Main Course: Steak au poivre peppercorn mélange cognac glace. Chive lemon oil asparagus. Saffron risotto gruyere cheese croquette
  • Dessert: Gourmet cheese plate

I’m seriously salivating just thinking about the smoked salmon caviar, steak and duck prosciut…..

Sorry…I dazed off dreaming about all of that food.  (A vegan menu is also available if that’s your preference.)

Photo from Cleveland Zoological Society

Tickets for the ZippityZooDoo cost $250 – $175 of which is tax-deductible — and include valet parking, along with everthing above.

Purchase tickets for the Zoo Society’s benefit here.

Donations to the Cleveland Zoological Society underwrite almost 50% of funding for major new exhibits and capital improvements, as well as 20% of the Zoo’s annual operating budget. It’s with events like the ZippityZooDoo that the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo can continue to offer the programs and services that make it so popular year after year.

Disclaimer:  I was offered one ticket to attend ZippityZooDoo in exchange for blogging about it. However, the decision to attend and post about an event is my own based on whether I think it’s something that may also interest others.  Scott has purchased his own ticket to attend.