Each year, the world famous San Diego Zoo throws one impressive party! The ZOO R.I.T.Z. (Rendezvous in the Zoo), hosts an evening of wonderment, up-close animal encounters, champagne, food and entertainment for 900 guests. The 2017 RITZ chaired by Rick & Tory Gulley was expected to raise nearly $1 million. (No update has yet been released at time of publishing.
2017’s fundraising efforts were focused on the Safari Park’s Walkabout Australia exhibit. The new exhibit will include interactive and face-to-face exhibits that highlight unique animals like kangaroos, wombats, wallabies, cassowaries and rose-breasted cockatoos.
The artistic touches of this year’s San Diego Zoo RITZ included giant, vibrant flamingo puppets and a 6′ kangaroo on stilts which was created by artisan Jacques Giuffre, the man behind all the animals for the Rose Parade.
(click to see larger photos)
During the opening reception, guests perused the silent auction areas as they grazed over several food and cocktail stations spread throughout the entrance area, watched a live art display by artist Stephen Fishwick, and were introduced to some of the zoo’s residents.
Once the reception concluded, guests were led to dinner by a colorful puppet parade into the main event under the stars. Chef Jon Palsson of Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina served a beautiful, three-course meal, though I can’t imagine how guests were able to manage another bite after the massive reception feast.
Thank you, San Diego Zoo for forever ruining all of us visiting other zoos around the globe. To this date, I’ve never experienced a zoo that compares.