Photos By Clarissa Villondo, Words By Brandon Wetherbee
Is it a little weird to eat animals near animals? Yes. Yes, it is. But it’s not uncomfortable. You get used to it. Eating food from some of D.C.’s best restaurants while looking at lions is a weird and wonderful luxury most of us can only do once a year.
Zoofari, the Smithsonian National Zoo’s annual food event is one of our favorites. We recap it every year, we preview it every year and this year, we took a few peeks behind the scenes to see what the animals eat.
We eat better than the animals. Some of this year’s highlights for humans included new spot Little Coco’s, newish spot Purple Patch and Philadelphia distillery New Liberty Distillery. Discovering or rediscovering places like this is what lands Zoofari on our Your Best May every year. With 100 vendors, it’s pointless to try to try everything. It’s a great chance to sample something new.
In addition to the 100 restaurants, there’s a regular auction, a silent auction, lounge acts, bands and the carousel is free. It has all the staples of a large scale fundraiser. But at this fundraiser you can learn about the animals and see the animals but can not touch the animals the event is for. If you’d like to touch the animals, consider becoming a volunteer.
The biggest downside of any outdoor event is the weather. It was 90 when ZooFari began. It was 70 and raining when it ended. You can’t really complain about the weather. You can not control the weather. You can control the organizations you support. It’s very easy to support the Smithsonian National Zoo’s conservation efforts when you’re eating and drinking some of D.C.’s best food and drink.