Zoofari raises thousands for Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Local News

For those worried about the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo being closed Friday, it was all for set up of an annual fundraiser that turned the Children’s Zoo into the Adult’s zoo at least for Friday night.

The annual Zoofari was a sold out event that raises more than $200,000 for zoo operations.

“The proceeds support the annual zoo operations,” said Amy Lazoff, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo’s director of Development. “So, it supports our everyday daily operations, our educational outreach efforts, our on-grounds programs like our interpreter programs, animal enrichment, animal care. Everything people love about the zoo is what these funds support tonight.”

The night was an adults only event as several of the vendors served alcohol. Only those who were 21 and older were allowed in. The event sold out which meant roughly 2200 people were there.

“This is kind of an adults only night at the zoo where folks get to basically go around to each station,” Lazoff said. “We have over 60 vendors from different breweries, restaurants, all sorts of things so we have food, juices, coffees, beer, wine, but people get to basically just sample their way throughout the entire zoo.”

Staff members said Zoofari was a year in the making and the zoo closed Friday to give staff a chance to set up properly.

“It’s lining up our vendors, having lots of meetings, getting all those people together, selling our tickets, and then, of course, it’s all the setup, getting ice out to people,” said Lazoff. “It’s a lot of work that goes into making tonight happen.”

Lazoff said Zoofari is a chance for adults to embrace their inner child.

“Most parents, we like to let our kids be up in front at those glass windows and things to interact with our animals,” Lazoff said. “So, tonight, every adult gets to act like a kid.”

The zoo will re-open for normal business Saturday morning at 9.

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