By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – For the first time ever, the public is invited to join the Oklahoma Zoological Society’s (OZS) annual fundraiser Safari Soirée online. All that’s needed is a computer or mobile device with access to the internet.
The event will be live streamed on Friday, July 24 from 7 – 9 p.m. Tickets start at $25.
Originally scheduled in the Spring of 2020 – the Safari Soirée was postponed due to the COVID pandemic.
The event will feature a star lit stroll through the OKC Zoo, which includes a behind-the-scenes lineup of the Zoo’s favorite residents along with wild cocktails. There will also be a silent auction that includes trips, collector’s items, and plenty of Zoo activities for the entire family.
Sara Martin, OZS community relations manager, says guests will enjoy a wild night, event from the comfort of their own home.
“The safety of our community is a top priority. In light of the rising COVID numbers in Oklahoma, we will deliver our annual Safari Soirée fundraiser virtually, in lieu of an in-person event,” Martin said.
” We look forward to bringing together our caretakers, animals and special guests for a night of raising valuable funds for the OKC Zoo’s conservation efforts in this new virtual format to connect, care and conserve together.”
The virtual festivities will be hosted live by Erica Buckwalter, programs manager at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
Erica will guide attendees through several Zoo conservation initiatives, facilitate question and answer segments with animal curators, and introduce the public to some special animal ambassadors.
Exclusive live behind-the-scenes interactions with some of your favorite Oklahoma City Zoo animals will highlight the event.
The silent auction will open virtually on Monday, July 20 at 10 a.m. and run through the duration of the event on Friday, July 24.
“Now more than ever before, we are faced with the reality of increasing threats against wildlife around the globe. Survival depends on fierce champions like the Oklahoma City Zoo, leading in conservation efforts while educating and connecting people with our world’s vanishing wildlife and wild places,” said Matt Burkholder, Oklahoma Zoological Society’s director of development.
“Support of Safari Soirée is key to ensuring the success of the OKC Zoo’s mission for years to come,” he added.
Sponsors for the 2020 Safari Soirée include: Express Employment International; BancFirst; Devon Energy; Gulfport Energy; Peggy Kates; Bank of Oklahoma; Braum’s Ice Cream & Dairy; COOP Ale Works; Hudiburg Auto Group; Insight Creative Group, Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma City; McAfee & Taft; Republic National Distributing Company; Southwestern Group of Companies; Blair & Stephanie Naifeh; Alice & Phil Pippin; Kyle & Sara Sweet; Pam & Lyndon Taylor; Art & Sandy Cotton; Karen Delaney; Dolese Brothers; GableGotwals; KRAPPF Reynolds Construction; Brad & Jeanna Martin; Robert & Donna McCampbell; Aimee & Vahid Salalati; Thomas & Lisa John; Dustin & Lori Fredrick; Carlos & Pam Johnson; Travis Mason; Mike & Pama Palmer; and Wade & Carolyn Watkins.
Tickets for the event are limited and start at $25 to receive access to the whole wild experience. Tickets may be purchased online at zoofriends.org/safarisoiree or by calling 405-425-0618 during normal operating hours.
For more information, visit okczoo.org.