If you're looking for something a little wild to do on your Friday, head to Zoo Miami tonight for its annual Feast With the Beasts.
The event, held inside the zoo after dark, features food from Miami's best restaurants, along with cocktails, entertainment, and a chance to hobnob with the zoo's resident celeb, Ron Magill. It's also the best way to support the zoo and the creatures that live in it.
Ana Milton, president of the Jose Milton Foundation and past chair of the Zoo Miami Foundation, says proceeds from Feast With the Beasts go toward various programs at the zoo and also help raise awareness of the connection between humans and animals. "Our mission is to foster an understanding and love of animals — that we appreciate them and conserve them and their ecosystems and their habitats."
The event also raises much-needed funds. Although Zoo Miami is a Miami-Dade County park, it's unique in that each animal must be cared for in a specific, and sometimes costly, manner. "It's very expensive to run a zoo and take care of the residents the way they need. We help supplement government funding. This helps the zoo grow and helps take care of the animals in a dignified way."
Each year, Feast With the Beasts takes place in a different part of the zoo. Tonight, guests will get to explore the new Mission Everglades exhibit. "There's nothing like walking through the zoo and seeing the animals in the evening," Milton says. Highlights of the evening? Watching the flamingos and maybe even getting a glimpse of the zoo's elusive Florida panther.
Milton says Zoo Miami is an important feature not only for locals but also for tourists — and the animals that call the zoo home. "We are the only zoo in a subtropical climate in the United States. We've become a home for geriatric elephants who retire here. These animals come to Miami, and they feel right at home."
Feast With the Beasts
8 p.m. Friday at Zoo Miami, 12400 SW 152nd St., Miami; 305-255-5551; fwtb.org. Admission costs $250 to $500.