Jun 25

Omaha Does Coast at Zoofari

This September, our biannual Zoofari event will be more like a Zoo-shore-i, as we celebrate the generosity of the people who make waves with their support of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and our global conservation efforts, and set a course for completion of our beautiful new Sea Lion Shores exhibit, which will open in 2020.

The event, which is nearly sold out, will be attended by about 1,000 guests and is being chaired by Lori and David Scott. “We’re hoping to recreate the feeling of  the Pacific Northwest on a 50,000 square-foot scale,” says Tina Cherica, executive director of the Omaha Zoo Foundation, noting that our creative team is working hard to help achieve the perfect PNW vibe, complete with virtual sea lions, harbor seals and marine life frolicking as they do on the shores of the North Pacific Coast.

The auction, chaired by Ellen Wright, will include one-of-a-kind wildlife experiences such as a 12-day Antarctic Adventure, hosted by Dr. Lee G. Simmons (Doc) and his wife, Marie; a seven-day expedition and polar bear safari to Nanuk Lodge on Hudson Bay, hosted by Dennis Pate and his wife, Jess; private sea lion training along with an up-close-and-personal encounter at Sea Lion Shores and many other epic adventures. Guests will also be able to bid on the opportunity to name some of the zoo’s newest babies, including our sea lion pup, snow leopard cubs, and our baby rhino -- who is due on Labor Day!

Actress Melissa Peterman will be our celebrity master of ceremonies, and Cherica says there will be some surprise guests as well. “What makes Zoofari so special every time is that it’s always so different from anything we’ve ever done before,” she says. “But it always connects back to our animals and the wonderful people who support our mission.”