Do at the Zoo, a fundraising event for the Denver Zoo, is not your run-of-the-mill food, drinks and entertainment event. Careful planning and creativity certainly shone through the event where 60 participating restaurants were spread all over the zoo giving attendees the chance to marvel at the animals as they ate unforgettable appetizers and drank merrily with friends. However, an important caveat to remember for next year’s event: wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking quite a bit.
As a participant, you could choose between the VIP experience or the general admission. The VIP experience had its little perks but is by no means more creditable than general admission. As a VIP, you had the option of arriving early and being chauffeured from the private entrance to the event by a golf cart before the official event started. Upon arrival, VIPs were greeted with a choice of red wine, white wine, prosecco or champagne, all presented on a platter by the catering staff. VIPs also had first dibs on Edge Restaurant’s vegetarian or crab ceviche and mini lamb burgers accompanied by a full open bar.
One other perk was being able to see, touch and feel animals up close and personal, including Bodie the 9-year-old elephant who played in the water as staff members fed him fruits and veggies and Jade the leaf nosed ratsnake who was friendly enough for everyone to touch her.
On the other hand, the main event, where you could peruse the zoo and eat, was not opened to anyone until 7 p.m. which included the general admission, so unless if you’re interested in any of the VIP perks, you won’t miss out too much as a general admission ticket holder.
Once the doors opened to the main event, it was go time. You couldn’t skip a beat if you wanted to hit all the different vendors, but it’s highly suggested you planned your route so you could try foods from your favorite restaurant, because it’s nearly impossible to ingest everything from all 60 participating restaurants. The same idea goes for drinking. Different parts of the zoo hosted different drink stations such as the whiskey tent, moonshine tent, tequila tent… you get the idea. So once you receive the map of where everything is stationed, plan your route.
Different areas of the zoo had their own music performers including local favorite Ian Cooke who performed an acoustic set with his cello and a looping device and That Eighties Band who apparently never fails to put on a rocking show.
Not once did anyone need to wait in giant lines to try any of the delectable finger foods or even a drink. The zoo made sure to keep it a good size so as to not overwhelm attendees and, most certainly, the animals.
Some notable foods included Simm’s Steakhouse’s beer-foamed gazpacho shooter, Parallel 17’s choice of coconut or lemon grass flavored cotton candy, and Watercourse’s raspberry rhubarb tart, which won 5280 best dessert. In addition to trying all the delicious appetizers, almost every vendor provided a promotional card of discounts and free appetizers or desserts which can be redeemed at the participating restaurant.
One of the best well-planned event in Denver, Do at the Zoo cannot and should not be missed but it’s suggested you purchase your tickets early for next year’s event, because it sold out this year and it’s most likely going to sell out earlier next year.