If drinking various wine selections amongst the wildlife at the Little Rock Zoo is on your bucket list, this weekend’s your chance. The Little Rock Zoo’s annual Wild Wines festival is returning Friday and Saturday, a year and a half after the 2020 event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Zoo director Susan Alturi is hosting the event, which will feature food from several area restaurants paired with selected wines from beverage sponsor O’Looney’s Wine & Liquor. The two-night event will feature live music and “special up-close appearances” from the Zoo’s Animal Ambassador program.
Friday night’s VIP party ($175 per ticket) will include premium wines, a higher-end souvenir wine glass and food selections from 42 Bar and Table, Table 28, Trio’s, Raduno Brick Oven & Barroom and Cypress Social. The Rodney Block Collective and Harp and Brian Nahlen will be performing live music. Friday night’s VIP tickets include admission to the “Mane Event” on Saturday night ($85), which will feature more than 200 wines to sample, a souvenir glass and food from Bonefish Grill, Cantina Laredo, Cheba Hut, Doe’s Eat Place, Eat My Catfish, Fassler Hall, Loblolly Creamery, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Soulfish and Shorty Small’s.
All proceeds from the event benefit the Arkansas Zoological Foundation, the nonprofit 501(c)(3) raising funds for the growth and development of the Little Rock Zoo.
Another feature of the festival is an online silent auction offering a wild assortment of goods and services. Some of the highlights: paintings by Little Rock Zoo animals; trips to Costa Rica, Portugal, Iceland, Italy or Ireland; a dental X-ray machine; laser hair removal; 50 units of Botox; 12 bottles of French wine; experiences like Zookeeper for a day or veterinarian for a day; exclusive one-night use of an Arkansas Travelers suite at Dickey Stephens Park; a lion head wine stopper; season passes to The Rep and a six night “Game of Thrones” journey to several of the filming locations. The online auction is running until 5 p.m. on Sept. 19. You can check out the auction, make bids or donate here.