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MaskZOOrade Welcomes Adults to the Zoo for halloween

Photo credit: Jen Moser

Written by: Communicator StaffOctober 26, 2017

By: Nicole Winans

While the annual kid-friendly Wild Zoo Halloween will still be taking place Oct. 20-22 and 27-29, adult visitors have an event to look forward to this year.

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo’s second annual adult MaskZOOrade will take place from 7 to 11 p.m.  Oct. 25.

“MaskZOOrade gives guests 21 and older the unique opportunity to have a “spooktacular” time while supporting the zoo,” according to the zoo’s website.

Special adult events provide those with or without children and families a way to support and enjoy the zoo, said Amy Lazoff, the zoo’s director of development.

“While our name is the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, our audience isn’t limited just to children,” Lazoff said.

The MaskZOOrade will feature a variety of music, themed appetizers and cocktails. Activities include a photo booth, train rides, a silent auction and dancing.

A themed costume contest will be held with several categories, including best animal-theme, best couple and more.

Several exhibits, including the central part of the zoo, The Reef and Stingray Bay will be open for attendees to explore during the event. There will also be some of the zoo’s Ambassador Animals in attendance along with volunteers available to share fun facts and answer questions.

This event is the zoo’s newest fundraiser, and a portion of each ticket is considered a charitable contribution to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.

Funds raised will go toward supporting zoo operations, education programs, conservation efforts and animal care.

Tickets for the event cost $50 and can be purchased at store.kidszoo.org/mainstore.asp?cid=1434.

“Tickets are selling fast this year, so if folks are interested I’d encourage them to buy theirs quickly,” Lazoff said.

MaskZOOrade was created in a direct response to supporters’ requests. For nearly 20 years, the zoo hosted its annual Drive You Wild fall golf outing fundraiser. After examining  participant feedback, decisions were made to create an onsite event, Lazoff said.

As discussions regarding a new event took place, staff reached out to donors about what aspects of the zoo they enjoy. A popular attraction among those questioned was the zoo’s Halloween event, Lazoff said.

“They jokingly said that, as parents, it is nice that the event now happens during the days, but that they remember the haunted train ride and how fun and spooky it was.” Lazoff said, “So we thought, ‘Why not have an adult version of our Wild Zoo Halloween event?’ That’s how MaskZOOrade was born.”

Last year’s event had almost 350 attendees and raised just over $20,000 after expenses, Lazoff said.

For more information about this event and other Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo fundraisers, visit http://kidszoo.org/support-the-zoo/.