ZooFari: Bite Night (sponsored by GEICO!) is always and forever our favorite excuse to party at the Zoo. Where else can you get a little too drunk and have a staring competition with a lion? Or sample some local vineyards while sticking your tongue out at a snake? Or learn about screaming hairy armadillos (that’s not an editorial description, that’s their very scientific name) while chomping down on chorizo and manchego arepas? That’s the thing about events like ZooFari, they’re weird in all the right ways.
This year was no different. In fact, it was arguably our favorite ZooFari ever. I don’t know if it was the balmy temperatures or the luck of the draw, but both my photographer and myself had never seen the animals more active. From the big cats to the small mammals to the reptiles, all of our fuzzy / scaly friends were up and awake like they were ready to party. The food and cocktails are always on point at these parties, but having the animals be a little more present made everything more exciting.
This year’s ZooFari was also a great example of why the VIP tickets are worth the price of admission. Not only did we spend half of our time there watching the tigers (who were taking a dip in the pool) and the lions (who were bro-ing out like it was a frat party), but both our favorite cocktails and food were hidden away in the VIP area. Barr Hill Gin’s Bee’s Knees wasn’t just our favorite drink, it was clearly one of the most popular cocktails at the event. The combination of gin, lemon and honey was a no brainer. Food-wise, Slate’s paella checked off all the boxes. It packed a lot of flavor and helped soak up the booze, without being too heavy.
Any event that can combine charity (Friends of the National Zoo helps support both the Zoo itself and its conservation efforts), food, drinks and bring it all together at one of the coolest places in the city is going to be a hit. Want to get an idea of how it feels to party with the biggest party animals in the city? Check out our photos below and mark your calendars for next year. It’s going to be wild.