More than 2,300 guests were on the prowl Friday night during ZooLaLa, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium's 15th annual Summer Safari. Once again a sell-out, the event attracts a younger crowd that was happy to party on a perfect night at the zoo. Part of the appeal for many is simply being there, perhaps for the first time since childhood or before they have children of their own. But others are regular zoo-goers who recognize how important -- and expensive -- it is to feed the animals, just one of the many reasons the $200,000 raised will come in handy.
An abundance of animal print dresses was on display as guests gathered first for the VIP reception in a giant tent outside the Education Center. Restaurants including the Capital Grille, Donato's, Ibiza, Industry Public House and McCormick & Schmick's catered this portion of the evening, with spirits provided by Clique vodka, among others. The generosity of local restaurants and purveyors continued throughout the night -- and the zoo -- as the main party got underway in the Village and traveled up the path to the Plaza and PPG Aquarium, ending at the PNC Pavilion. Guests were serenaded by the Standard Band, the Inconsiderate Few, DJ Mike Mason, the Calypso Gypsies and Dijit, and Cincinnati's famous Graeter's ice cream provided cool comfort along the way.
Basically a giant strolling cocktail party, the Summer Safari kept the animals up late -- but where were all the bears? That question was a hot topic as the party passed their empty enclaves. Fortunately, the polar bears were in full swim for guests including Anita and Joe Moran, who chaired the benefit bash, zoo director Barbara Baker, Matt Drozd, Clyde Jones, Debbie Flaherty and Jim Campbell, Christian and Lauren Armstrong, Constantine Scoumis, Doc Mendelson, Jack and Karen Friedman, Paul Gitnick, Connie George, Bob and Janine Fragasso, Orlando Fulgenzio, Cliff and Roseanne Levine, Kathryn Vreeland with John Rhoades and Dan Wholey.
First Published July 30, 2013 4:00 AM