SALISBURY – It will be a fiesta this year for the 4th Annual Zoobilation at the Salisbury Zoo to help raise funds for the Renew the Zoo campaign.
“It has gotten bigger and better each year,” Zoo Director Joel Hamilton said. “We had over 400 people come last year. It is a great event.”
This year the Delmarva Zoological Society (DZS) switches it up by holding Zoobilation on May 5, Cinco de Mayo, from 5 to 10 p.m.
DZS is an organization that manages, arranges and plans efforts to help raise funds to support the zoo’s capital campaign for improvements.
Renew the Zoo is a $3 million capital campaign to provide critical infrastructure upgrades for the zoo.
The Salisbury Zoo attracts more than 300,000 visitors a year to enjoy the animals in their natural habitats. Over the last 50 years, the Zoo has grown, taking on additional animals and expanding educational opportunities.
The campaign will help fund three projects — a new state-of-the-art animal health clinic, remodeling and upgrading the William E. Morgan Environmental Center and a new exhibit called Discover Australia.
“The big key is that it [Zoobilation] is sponsored by LORA, the Local Owner Restaurant Association, and we have about 18 members showing up for this event so you roam around the zoo, listen to some music and get a nice sampling of a variety of foods … it is fun,” Hamilton said.
The zoo’s docents will have the outreach program’s education animals on hand, such as hawks, owls, lizards and snakes to offer insight to attendees on the animals as well as how to manage them.
LORA members will also be set up throughout the zoo so that while attendees take a tour they are being served the best cuisine. Food will be served until 7:30 at which time the event will turn toward the stage area for live music, as well as live and silent auctions.
A local favorite band, Picnic, will start at 6 p.m. and auctions will follow. Items to be auctioned include a 2.5 carat Diamond Tennis Bracelet, a 7-foot, 6-inch surf board, a Walt Disney World vacation package and sponsorship of zoo exhibits including the Andean Bear and Jaguar.
Silent auction items will include two sets of tickets from JetBlue and Southwest Airlines, a Turner sculpture, golf packages, Baltimore Ravens tickets, learn to ski tickets and portraits. “This year one of the unusual happenings is we are doing some of our auctions online,” Hamilton added.
At www.BiddingForGood.com, items are posted for a sneak peak or available to place a bid electronically. Online bidding opens April 19 and will end at 11 p.m. on May 5.
This past Halloween trick-or-treaters rose over $32,000 through the “Just Zoo It” program and all funds went toward the Renew the Zoo campaign.
“Any of the money raised goes to the campaign and improving the zoo, so it all goes to a great cause and reason for being,” Hamilton said. “We would love to far surpass what the ‘Just Zoo It’ did.”
You must be 21 or older to attend. Tickets are $60 and $50 for zoo members and are on sale at the zoo gift shop, any branch of First Shore Federal, online at www.RenewThe Zoo.com, or by calling the DZS at 410-742-3977.
“It is a great opportunity to come out with friends, roam the zoo, see the animals, have some wonderful food, and support the zoo in its efforts,” Hamilton said.
The Salisbury Zoo will also host its annual Earth Day on Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“It is basically our big spring kickoff,” Hamilton said.
Earth Day at the Zoo is a free event that promotes an appreciation for nature and an understanding of the environment. There will be educational activities, zookeeper talks, demonstrations, and over 20 earth friendly organizations exhibiting throughout the Zoo.
“No matter what your interest is in nature, there is something here that will intrigue you,” Hamilton said. “The whole goal is to increase your awareness of the environment, hopefully give you some tools for you to go home and look at what your impacts are and solutions to lessen your impact.”
Earth Day will kick off at 9 a.m. with the Zoo Stampede 5K Run-Walk benefitting the Salisbury Zoo. Register in advance at Vernon Powell Shoes or the morning of the race starting at 7:30 a.m.
“We have had more than 3,000 people come to that in the past,” Hamilton said. “If it is a nice day, people pour out for that event.”