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Recap: National Zoo’s Zoofari

It’s that nearly-summer season where each afternoon the sky threatens to open up into a 15-minute monsoon. That’s exactly what happened the day of the National Zoo’s premier event, Zoofari.

I stared out my office window, wondering if the showers would let up in time to stroll through our city’s beautiful zoo. Otherwise, we might miss the chance to admire the animals while enjoying enjoy delicious food and drinks from D.C.’s top chefs and restaurants.

Photo credit: Jim Jenkins

I found myself sitting in the FroYo across Connecticut Avenue, waiting for a break in the rain—and also waiting for my friend Stephanie to make it to Cleveland Park from her Arlington suburb.

Finally, a bit of sun. Stephanie’s timing was perfect. As soon as she arrived, the rain stopped, and we skipped across Connecticut Avenue to check out the event.

Photo credit: Jim Jenkins

The National Zoo really is an incredible space. A winding path of creatures and animals, each one telling a story that brings a natural narrative to the city’s core. There are lions and penguins and pandas. You might have seen them on the Panda Cam, but it’s quite a different experience in person with a bit of wine in your hand.

Beyond the tastings tents, the party had tons of interesting sponsor areas that offered interactive experiences to guests. I loved the Geico Gecko exhibit, where you can step up and take a picture with the infamous Gecko himself.

Photo credit: Jim Jenkins

I also loved the Jaguar getaway tent, where you had to guess how many stuffed animal Jaguars were in a beautiful mahogany trunk. If you got it right, you would win the trunk itself—but not the Jaguar, sadly.

There were three mega bars, which were like mini lounges unto themselves. At one point, I was sitting at a sleek lit-up bar, enjoying a glass of wine and a warm Firehook chocolate chip cookie, and I thought to myself: Am I really in the National Zoo?

The event was fabulous, in that there was something for everyone. The tastings were never-ending, featuring bites from restaurants like Teddy & The Bully Bar, Brabo, Policy, and Hank’s Oyster Bar.

Photo credit: Jim Jenkins

And the wine was flowing. Vintners such as Barrel Oak Winery, Francis Ford Coppola, Oyster Bay Wines, and others were pouring their best. It was a great event, and thankfully the rain held off until we were set to leave.


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