This magic carpet ride evokes exotic Casablanca, steamy Marrakech and the burning Sahara. Colorful cocktails will quench guests’ thirst and a gourmet dinner is sure to satisfy. Guests choose from a bazaar of tempting treasures at both silent and live auctions, including a cruise to Borneo and an expedition to see polar bears, and more surprises are in store at Santa Barbara’s “wildest” fundraiser, which benefits the Zoo’s programs and animals. Music is provided by Zoofari favorite, Jana and the One, and catering is by Zoo Catering Services by Rincon. Tickets are on sale to Santa Barbara’s “wildest” party: Zoofari Ball XXVI: Midnight at the Oasis, held Saturday, August 27 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Zoo.

Tickets are $300 per person. For ticket information, contact Pieter van Meeuwen at (805) 679-8448 or Information at Early purchase is advised: Zoofari Ball has sold out in advance for the past five years.


The lovely outdoor setting, lively themes and colorful informal attire set Zoofari Ball apart from other fundraisers. After 26 years, this event is one of the Central Coast’s premier parties.

The Honorary Chairs of this year’s event are longtime Zoo supporters Sue and Bill Wagner. Sue previously served on the Zoofari Committee for several years, including as its Event Chair, and on the Zoo’s Board of Directors.

The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. when guests enter the Zoo and enjoy ice-cold signature Casablanca Cooler cocktails featuring Ketel One Citroen Flavored Vodka. Partiers also enjoy appetizers and can bid at both silent and live auctions (see below), as well as encounters with zoo animals. At 7:30 p.m., guests proceed to the Zoo’s hilltop to enjoy dinner provided by Zoo Catering Services by Rincon. Wine is donated by Santa Barbara Collection and Zaca Mesa Winery. Dancing follows at 9 p.m. to Jana and the One, a Zoofari Ball favorite who returns after several years. The event is designed by Behind the Scenes Event Design by Lisa Carter.


Zoofari Ball’s live auction, led by professional auctioneer Sean Kelly, offers exclusive “only at the Zoo” activities, luxury travel packages and more, including:

Borneo on the Wild Side: Explore wonderful Borneo, one of our planet’s most biologically diverse

ecosystems and a zoological paradise on a ten-night Orion Expedition Cruise in a Junior Suite for two. There are over 15,000 plants, 500 species of reef building corals, 420 resident birds, 394 species of fish, 22 species of mammals, and 100 different amphibians in Borneo. 2012 sail date. Courtesy Orion Expedition Cruises and Montecito Travel.

Classic Polar Bear Adventure: A seven-night Classic Polar Bear Expedition in the polar bear capital of the world – Churchill, Manitoba! Two people fly Air Canada (departure date in 2011 or 2012) to Manitoba and stay at the historic and elegant Fort Garry Hotel. Enjoy your days and evenings viewing the regal and whimsical polar bears amongst the vast ice floes. Courtesy of Robertson’s International Travel Consultants and Natural Habitat Adventures.

Around the World: Invite 24 people on a trip around the world – all at the Santa Barbara Zoo – starting with customized invitations by Lilly and Louise. Begin in Asia with an encounter with snow leopards and beautiful birds –Asian fare is on the menu. Next, it’s off to South America to dine alongside the penguins in a tropical paradise. It’s a jungle out there, especially in Africa where guests nosh on traditional African cuisine and watch a lion training session. The last stop is North America to meet Finnegan the Channel Island fox while enjoying wine country delights. Courtesy of Zoo Catering Services by Rincon, Behind the Scenes Event Designs by Lisa Carter, AMS Entertainment, Santa Barbara Zoo, and Lilly and Louise.

Elephants, Painting, and Wine: This will be one for the memory books: an evening painting with the Zoo’s very own Asian elephants, Sujatha and Little Mac. Auction winner picks the paint colors and holds the canvas, while the pachyderms create a one-of-a kind masterpiece to take home. After the painting session, enjoy delectable hors d’oeuvres from Zoo Catering Services by Rincon in a private oasis on the elephant deck with décor from Behind the Scenes Event Designs by Lisa Carter.


Zoofari’s signature Silent Auction offers guests exciting travel packages; entertainment and dining opportunities; fashion, jewelry, and wellness items; and unique experiences. Highlights include a cruise for 40 people on Channel Cat Charters, 18 karat and diamond gold elephant brooch from Gaspar Jeweler, three-night stay in a Mammoth condo, golf and stay at The Boulders Resort in Arizona, private olive oil and vinegar tasting for 12 people by Il Fustino, and much more.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.