Love drinking beer? Love exotic animals? Then I have an event for you. On September 7, 2012, Denver Zoo held their 15th annual Brew at the Zoo fund raising event to celebrate two great Colorado institutions – Craft beer and cool wildlife.
Brew at the Zoo is Denver Zoo’s second major fund raising event according to Tiffany Barnhart, Director of Communications. Apparently the zoo’s main fundraiser also includes alcohol. Called Do at the Zoo, it’s a formal cocktail party featuring potables with high end spirits. However, Brew at the Zoo is a casual affair featuring premium beer, delicious food and a live band.
Our Friday evening began with some up close visits with strange, but small wildlife hand held by zoo staff at the entrance. They included a opossum, a Harris hawk and a turtle. Then it was on to the beer. The zoo featured a suds safari of over 40 breweries, mostly from Colorado with some other states sprinkled in, while 15 local restaurants provided tasty treats from pizza to cheese plates to BBQ ribs.
During the hour and a half of dusk, the animals were quite active and wondering their enclosures, animals such as bears, peacocks, seals, and monkeys, but when the sky turned dark, the animals disappeared to rest for the night. I wonder who was entertained more; the patrons admiring majestic wild creatures or the animals watching all the silly humans? The highlight of the evening for our group was the two camels copulating in middle of their enclosure. Yes, that really did happen.
Brew at the Zoo specifically benefits the Red Apple Fund for Life-Long Learning, a program that helps individuals from various economic situations participate in Denver Zoo educational programs. Denver Zoo is home to 3,800 animals representing more than 650 species and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Tickets for this year’s event were $70 General Admission and $100 for a VIP Event Preview open an hour before the regular event. Designated Driver tickets were $30. Barnhart was pleased to tell me that the event sold out for the third year in a row, some 3,300 tickets. That made for a crowded event with some long lines at the tents, but a cool evening and beautiful surroundings made up for wait. Everyone received a small four ounce plastic glass for use during the event and then when we left, we received a large glass logo mug. Nice!
Denver Zoo isn’t the only zoo in the country offering this fun event (but they have been holding it the longest). Zoos all over the country have beer festivals, which serve the dual purpose of raising needed funds while providing a unique experience for the beer drinker.
- Akron Zoo, OH – Wednesday, October 3, 2012
- Woodland Park Zoo, WA – Thursday, October 4, 2012
- Other zoos have already had their beer festivals for 2012, but look for these upcoming zoo beer festivals in 2013:
- Miami Zoo, FL (April)
- Atlanta Zoo, GA (May)
- Maryland Zoo, Baltimore, MD (May)
- Nashville Zoo, TN (June)
- Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington, DC (July)
- Louisville Zoo, KY (August)
- Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, PA (August)
- Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Columbia, SC (August)
- Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Syracuse, NY (August)
- Dallas Zoo, TX (September)