Los Angeles Zoo to Offer SEX AND THE CITY ZOO, 2/8

While the Los Angeles Zoo is best known as one of Southern California's most family-friendly destinations, it's ADULTS ONLY for "Sex and the City Zoo," an extraordinary Valentine's Day event celebrating romance in the animal kingdom presented by the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) on Saturday, February 8, 2014, 5 to 7 pm, in the Zoo's Witherbee Auditorium. The lighthearted affair begins with a reception featuring tempting desserts, alluring wines and "animal walk-abouts," which include chats with keepers and the chance to observe small animals up close. The heart of the evening opens with a performance by recording artist, musician and entertainer Whitney Hall. Following the musical performance, guests are entertained with a provocative presentation about animal mating, dating and cohabitating by Michael Dee, former Los Angeles Zoo general curator, who offers insights about relationships in the animal kingdom. "Sex and the City Zoo 5" climaxes with an intimate three-course dinner (for an additional fee) at Reggie's Bistro inside the Zoo. Proceeds from the fifth annual event, generously sponsored by Whole Foods Market West Hollywood, support GLAZA, which funds plant and animal exhibits, species conservation, capital projects, education and community outreach, and many other programs at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens..

Dinner (optional) guests receive a long stem rose per couple and a glass of champagne with their meal, which begins with white wine-poached jumbo shrimp with smoky bacon/cipollini jam/micro basil followed by salad of winter greens, parma prosciutto, shaved hearts of palm and champagne-melon vinaigrette. The main course is a choice of pepper-herbed medallions of roasted beef tenderloin with Boursin Yukon mash, cumin-roasted baby vegetables and port wine demi glace reduction or pan seared arctic char in a nest of pappardelle with lemon cream sauce, baby fennel and broccolini, or a vegetarian creamy lemon and saffron Italian risotto with golden tempura seasonal vegetables, all accompanied by a selection of artisan breads with tomato tapenade. Dessert for two is a duo of Grand Marnier crème brûlée and flowerless chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and fresh berries.

Dee, born in a small town in rural Wisconsin, claims he was raised by wolves, but however his devotion to animals began, it led to his joining the Los Angeles Zoo in 1967 where he initially worked with a variety of birds and hoofstock (hoofed animals), including black, white and Indian rhinos and tapirs and Indian rhinos. In 1976 he became a senior keeper and 11 years later became a curator of mammals. From 1982 through 2002 he served as coordinator of the Indian rhinoceros Species Survival Plan (SSP), one of many conservation programs managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the accreditation organization for zoological parks and aquariums. Among many highlights of his career, he is especially honored to have been present for the birth of the first Indian rhino at the LA Zoo in 1982. Since his retirement, he has continued to volunteer at the Zoo and serve on the board of the International Rhino Foundation, The Bighorn Institute, Southwest Herpetologists Society and the California Wildlife Center.

Prophetically named after the late Whitney Houston, Hall was encouraged to sing in church and learn to play multiple instruments. This encouraging environment allowed her to develop a unique timbre as she learned to use her voice as her primary instrument. Due to unending support from her family, she was never afraid to go after her dreams with full force. She sang Gospel with her choir, got her first gig performing as the lead singer in a Jazz band in downtown Charlotte, auditioned for American Idol and eventually landed a recording contract with label Region 32 Entertainment in December of 2012. Hall proudly states, "I'm a member of The order of Black and Gold, a community service organization, that has taught me to give back and always remain active in my community."

"Sex and the City Zoo" is among many programs presented by the private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, founded in 1963. For five decades, GLAZA has funded plant and animal exhibits, species conservation, capital projects, and education and community outreach programs at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. GLAZA also builds and invests endowment funds and operates seven essential departments on behalf of the L.A. Zoo: development, special events, marketing, publications, membership, volunteers, and oversight of the food and retail concessions. There are 65,000 member households in GLAZA representing more than 240,000 adults and children, the largest membership base of a cultural organization in Los Angeles. GLAZA additionally boasts a volunteer corps of more than 800 individuals.

The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, attracting 1.6 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered. Its lush grounds on 133 acres feature a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife. Among its most popular habitats are the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles), Elephants of Asia, and Campo Gorilla Reserve, with the eagerly awaited Rainforest of the Americas habitat scheduled to open soon. The Zoo's location in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways ideally positions it as a convenient destination enjoyed by locals and vacationers of all ages who can visit every day of the year except Christmas Day.

Tickets, for adults (age 21 and up) only, are $30 per person for GLAZA members, plus an additional $65 per person for the dinner option; $40 per person for non-members, plus an additional $75 per person for the dinner option. Dinner option open to event ticketholders only, seating is limited, and reservations are required by February 5.

The Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Free parking is available. For additional information, contact (323) 644-6042 or visit www.lazoo.org/valentinesday.




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