LA Zoo’s Beastly Ball Returns Saturday, June 3, 2023

Tina and Shaunzi having breakfast at the GLAZA Beastly Ball preview. Photo by Zoë Sharpe

A fun time was had by all as the LA Beat had a chance to preview the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Associations (GLAZA) upcoming Beastly Ball fundraiser, which will be held on Saturday, June 3rd. The annual gala gives guests a chance to experience the Zoo at night, enjoying tasty nibbles and cocktails from some of Los Angeles most popular eateries, while learning about the animals and the Zoo’s conservation programs with special animal experiences.

This years annual gala will be hosted by actor and comedian Joel McHale, and honorees include longtime City Council member, “Mr. Los Angeles” Tom LaBonge, who will posthumously receive the Betty White Conservation Hero Award for his contributions to
the Zoo and Griffith Park. GLAZA Trustee Diann H. Kim will also be honored for her work over the past 12 years shaping the future of the Zoo.

Resident Elephants Tina and Shaunzi at the GLAZA Beastly Ball preview. Photo by Zoë Sharpe

At Wednesday’s media preview hosted by Channel 11 Fox News Anchor Julie Chang, and held at the Zoo’s Elephant Circle, we had the opportunity to join resident Elephants Tina and Shaunzi as they had breakfast, and we enjoyed an array of tasty treats from local restaurants, including returning favorites, Pink’s Hot Dogs and The Federal Bar. Delicious sushi was provided by Yakumi, featuring a spicy Tuna Roll, a Yellowtail jalapeño roll and Salmon Nigiri with a truffle soy sauce. Momed LA showcased a Fluke Crudo with a sour cherry verjus, lime, jalapeño and basil. The Zoo’s own Taste of the Wild Catering brought a BBQ pulled pork “Sundae” featuring layers of pulled pork, mashed potatoes and BBQ sauce, topped with a cherry tomato and served in an edible waffle bowl.

For a sweet finish, there were doughnuts from Krispy Kreme and a selection of cookies from Milk Jar Cookies, including a sprinkle-covered Birthday cookie. But my favorite was the Uber waffle bar from Chef Dora Presents which included an array of toppings and a chilled pineapple-rose water Agua Fresca. Don Francisco’s Coffee provided the caffeine, including a smooth cold brew. Cocktails were provided by Olga Vodka, who featured an espresso martini and a drink called an Italian Sailor that featured fresh grapefruit juice, an Italian apertif wine called cappelletti, sparkling water and a dash of sea salt. Sammy Hagar’s own Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Company brought a selection of their premade sparkling cocktails which included Tangerine Dream, Island Pop, Cherry Cola and Pineapple Splash. Lalo Tequila was also on hand offering up chilled shots of their Blanco Tequila.

This year’s Beastly Ball will have an online Silent Auction featuring an amazing lineup of art, luxury vacations and one-of-a-kind experiences, including a ride on the Good Year Blimp and an invitation to a film premier. The Auction opens online May 26th and closes at 9pm on June 3rd, while bidding on Super Silent auctions items will end at 6pm on June 4th. For more information on the Auction and bidding visit the website.

The annual Beastly Ball is the largest and most important GLAZA event that helps raise money for the Zoo’s work with animal conservation and education. Tickets to this year’s Gala are $1,500 per person, with individual and corporate sponsorship opportunities at higher levels also available. The Los Angeles Zoo is located at 5333 Zoo Drive in Los Angeles’ historic Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. Free parking is available. For tickets, information about mobile bidding, and additional information, visit or call (323) 486-4253.

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