A festive evening of cocktails and feasting within a lush tropical backdrop took place at the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society on Friday, May 9 for the spring fundraiser “Do at the Zoo.” Nearly 200 revelers headed “south-of-the-border” for the annual event, which raised more than $70,000. This year’s Event Committee Chairmen were Whitney Bylin, Thomas C. Quick and Samantha Storkerson.
Donning sombreros in the Zoo’s Mayan Plaza, guests enjoyed lavish food options from nine outstanding local restaurants, fiesta-themed cocktails, dancing to the musical sounds of a local mariachi band and DJ Vlad, and the chance to bid on a silent auction with a “stay-cation” theme. Some of the Zoo’s animals came close to meet and greet guests, who were able to watch a jaguar feeding and feed organic honey to the Zoo’s two black bears. Adding to the “fiesta” ambiance, select event lighting came from colorful solar-powered lanterns, in line with the Zoo’s mission of reducing its overall carbon footprint.
Cocktail selections, hand-mixed and served by bartenders and beautiful models provided by exclusive spirits sponsor BACARDÍ®, included a variety of south of the border cocktails such as the classic Cuba Libré made with fresh lime juice, Coca-Cola® and BACARDÍ® Gold rum.
Whole Enchilada Sponsors were Michele and Howard Kessler, as well as Thomas C. Quick. Tijuana Special Sponsors were Christie’s and the Palm Beach Kennel Club. El Taquito Sponsors were Whitney and Eric Bylin, Maura Ziska Christu and Eric Christu, Lillian and Luis Fernandez, Susanna Hager, Samantha and Chris Storkerson, John and Eddy Taylor, Rod and Carole Hartless/The Hartless Foundation and Lucia Musso. Host Committee members included H. Loy Anderson, Mary and Kane Baker, Fletcher Baker, Lori Bernstein, James Berwind, Amanda Boalt, Mary Cheatham, Maura Ziska Christu and Eric Christu, Kevin Clark, Alex Coleman, Lillian and Luis Fernandez, Susanna Hager, Ashley and Scott Harcourt, Debbie Dunkin, Lourdes Fanjul, Mary Freitas, Annabelle Garrett, Mei Sze and Jeff Greene, Michele Kessler, Patrick Killian, Lilly Leas, Emily Mateer, Minnie and Kevin McCluskey, Jeremy Myers, Ashley Ramos, Lauriston and Richard Segerson, Maura Smith, Lizzi and Trey Sned, Linda Soper and Kellie Stenzel.
Participating restaurants were Echo, Imoto, Nick & Johnnie’s, Paneterie, PDQ food truck, Rooney's Gastropub, Rooney's Beer & Palm Beach Kennel Club, Table 26, Table 427 and the Palm Beach Zoo’s Tropics Café.
Silent Auction Donors were Florida Power & Light Company, Al Fresco, Keylypso Charters, Neiman Marcus, The Omphoy Ocean Resort & Spa Palm Beach, Palm Beach Executive Services, Palm Beach Zoo, Kellie Stenzel and TooJay’s.
Proceeds from “Do at the Zoo” will help the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society to advance its mission of inspiring people to act on behalf of wildlife and the natural world. The Zoo is home to more than 800 animals, and is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.