In nearly two weeks the Dallas Zoo will be hosting it’s largest fundraising event of the year. Zoo To Do will take place on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 5:30 PM to 12:30 AM at the Dallas Zoo. Guests will begin the evening with exciting animal interactions, browsing the many wonderful items on the silent auction and signature cocktails. Following the cocktail, approximately 700 guests will stroll through the award-winning Giants of the Savanna exhibit while sampling exquisite dishes from more than 25 of Dallas’ premier chefs and restaurants. True to this year’s theme, “Wild at Heart,”  at the conclusion of the live auction guests are invited to keep the party going at the Zoo To Do 2: The After Party Call of the Wild. They will be escorted by a band of African drummers into the Wilds of Africa Plaza where guests can dance the rest of the night away to one of the city’s best, live cover bands.

Dawn and Steve Moore, at the Dallas Zoo

Dawn and Steve Moore at the Dallas Zoo To Do Event Chairs 2019. Photo: Thomas Garza

Participating Chefs/Restaurant

  • Botolino Gelato, Chef Carlo Gattini
  • Bolsa, Chef Matt Balke
  • Bright Box Foods, Chef Chis Patrick
  • Ceviche, Chef Raul Reyes
  • Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House, Chef Lan A. Nickens
  • Commons Club at Virgin Hotel, Chef Nick Walker
  • Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa, Chef Dan Landsberg
  • Ellie’s Restaurant & Lounge at HALL Arts Hotel, Chef Eric Dreyer
  • Empire Baking Company, Chef Meaders Ozarow
  • Gemma / Sachet, Chef Stephen Rogers
  • Hypnotic Donuts, Chef Heather Clark
  • Imoto, Chef Steve McHugh
  • Laredo Taco and 7-Eleven Inc., Chef Melissa Vera
  • Lovers Seafood and Market / Shinsei, Chef Jason Czaja
  • Mozzarella Company, Chef Paula Lambert
  • Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Co., Karen Daseke Nicholson
  • Neiman Marcus The Zodiac, Chef David Crow
  • Nothing Bundt Cakes – Highland Park, Tara Cooper
  • Parigi, Chef Janice Provost
  • Pink Magnolia, Chef Blythe Beck
  • Salum, Chef Abraham Salum
  • SAVOR at Klyde Warren, Chef Luke Rogers
  • SER Steaks + Seafood, Chef Kyle Jones
  • Sevy’s Grill, Chef Jim “Sevy” Severson and Chef Gerardo Calderon
  • Sift + Pour, Chef Elizabeth Ging
  • Suze, Chef Gilbert C. Garza
  • Taco y Vino, Chef Jimmy Contreras
  • Truluck’s Seafood, Steak and Crab House, Chef Manny Vera
  • Tulum, Chef Nico Sanchez
  • Two Sister’s Catering, Chef Brock Boyd

The party at the Dallas Zoo    Zoo To Do After Party

Interview with Dawn Moore,  Zoo To Do Chair

Established in 1888, the Dallas Zoo is the oldest zoological park in Texas and supports countless conservation projects. What motivated you to become involved as chair for it’s annual fundraising gala, Zoo To Do?

Several years ago I attended my first Zoo To Do, and it was a fabulous event – the best event I think Dallas has to offer! I have always loved the Dallas Zoo and strongly believe in giving back to my community. When given the opportunity to combine my passion for the Zoo with my belief in giving back, I could not pass up the opportunity. It is an honor to chair this year’s event with my husband, Steve, and work with such an amazing team!

How did you become initially connected with this organization/non-profit?

After attending my first Zoo To Do, Diane Brierley noticed my enthusiasm for the Zoo and asked me to serve on the board of the Dallas Zoological Society. I have been on the board since 2014.

Why do you think you are so committed to this particular cause?

The Dallas Zoo is a marvelous asset for Dallas and provides such benefit in terms of education, conservation and opportunity. The Zoo’s caring leadership is impressive, and I love being a part of this winning team.

How many years has the annual event occurred?
The first Zoo To Do was held in 1992. This is the 28th year for the event.

Is there a special theme this year?

Our theme this year is Wild at Heart, because who isn’t wild about the Dallas Zoo?

What do guests wear for a gala, that takes place at the at the zoo?

Safari Chic Attire, meaning anything from khaki button-downs, to an animal print dress to a safari vest. Most importantly, wear comfortable shoes. The event is held outside in the Wilds of Africa area which is half of the size of the Zoo, so you will be walking. Dress comfortably!

For those that have never attended the event, what can one expect for the evening?

Fun, food, music and animals! We have a silent auction which begins at 6:00 p.m., guests will enjoy a strolling dinner featuring food from some of the finest chefs in Dallas, we will offer events with the animals including Giraffe Feedings at the Diane and Hal Brierley Giraffe Ridge and the 2nd Annual Zoo To Do 2, which is the after party featuring Emerald City All Stars from 9:00 p.m. until midnight!

Any special treats in store?
The silent auction and raffle will go live in mid-October prior to event. Anyone can participate and bid online, even if they are not able to attend the event.

What is the impact of this one evening for The Dallas Zoo?

Zoo To Do is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Dallas Zoo. It helps support the Zoo’s operational cost enabling the Zoo to stay open every day of the year except Christmas Day. Proceeds from Zoo To Do also help to care for the over 2,000 animals that call the Dallas Zoo home.

How can people get involved in fundraising efforts for the Dallas Zoo, as well as support the event?

We invite you to purchase tickets for Zoo To Do or Zoo To Do 2, participate in the online auction prior to the event or that evening, and you can donate any time of the year online through the Zoo’s website Dallas Zoo. Those who are interested in events outside of Zoo To Do should visit events@dallaszoo.com to learn more about how to get involved throughout the year.

What is your favorite exhibit or habitat at the zoo?
That is a difficult question to answer, but I suppose I’d have to say Simmons Hippo Outpost. Our latest guest favorite is our baby hippo, Adanna, who is so adorable. This particular exhibit has been ranked as one of the op 5 zoo exhibits in the nation by USA Today.

In addition to its many conservation projects, does the Dallas Zoo have any other programming of interest?

The Dallas Zoo offers many educational programs, working with schools throughout the community and hosting school groups. Last year, the Zoo introduced its Wild Earth Preschool, offering a nature play-inspired preschool option. Members get more at the Dallas Zoo – there are different levels of membership for individuals which offer special adventures and experiences throughout the year. And of course, the Zoo always welcomes corporate and individual volunteers.

The Zoo has a bit of a celebrity. His name is Winspear?

Everyone loves Winspear! He is a beautiful and very fast cheetah. Winspear also has a best friend, Amani, who is a black Labrador retriever. They are so fun to watch. Winspear is also quite the local celebrity going out into the community to educate people about his species. You can see both Winspear and Amani at the Cheetah Encounter at the Dallas Zoo.

Zoo to Do always has some amazing auction items to bid on. Is there one that you are particularly excited to bid on?

I love to travel and there are several packages up for auction to various destinations. You will want to check the auction mid- October when it goes live on the website. I haven’t made up my mind yet, but I know there are several trips that look quite interesting!

What are you most looking forward to for this year’s event?

Zoo To Do 2 without a doubt! My three children, Brett, Blair, and Brooke are chairing the event which is geared for the young professional. It is a separate ticket from Zoo To Do and will feature animal outreach, food, drinks and dancing with Emerald City All Stars from 9:00 p.m. – midnight, if you can stay up that late! I guess that is why it is geared for the young professional. Last year, it was a big hit.

About The Author

Deve Sanford

Influenced by her international upbringing and travels, the importance of being culturally aware resonated with Deve at an early age and continues to lead her down her career path. After receiving her degree from Southern Methodist University in Fine Art, Foreign Language and Business, Deve has worked in various career sectors and is currently a partner in a thriving international distribution company and actively curates art exhibitions worldwide. Creating a solid career reputation and building on her success she began incorporating more of her personal aspirations into her life and now dedicates her free time in supporting organizations that transforms the lives of women and children in developing countries and continually participates in the encouragement of cultural art exchange platforms that give artists the opportunity to exhibit internationally.

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