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