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Enjoy a wild night at the zoo at the Beastly Ball fundraising gala on Saturday, June 3, at 6 p.m.
The event raises funds for zoo programs and conservation efforts, and recognizes supporters. Honorees include the late City Councilman Tom LaBonge, known to many as “Mr. Los Angeles,” who will be recognized posthumously with the Betty White Conservation Hero Award. Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association trustee Diann H. Kim, who has dedicated the last 12 years to helping shape the future of the zoo, will also be honored at the Beastly Ball.
The party starts “Down Under” in the Australia section. Guests will make their way through the zoo’s lush grounds while sampling regional and global cuisine from L.A. restaurants including Little Sister, Momed, Yakumi, Luminaries, Pink’s Hot Dogs, El Cholo The Original and many others while sipping libations from Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Company, WhistlePig Whiskey Co. and Lalo Spirits. Partygoers will learn about the zoo’s animals and conservation efforts through animal keeper chats and feedings, and enjoy live performances and music. A silent auction raises funds for conservation efforts and zoo programs. The after-hours stroll culminates at the zoo’s Treetops Terrace with a awards presentation and program, dancing, drinks and desserts by McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, Milk Jar Cookies, John Kelly Chocolates and Krispy Kreme. Actor and comedian Joel McHale will serve as master of ceremonies.
LaBonge, who died on Jan. 7, 2021, was an ardent supporter of the Los Angeles Zoo. During his 14 years on the City Council, LaBonge helped expand Griffith Park by 500 acres. He hiked in the park daily. In 2007, LaBonge led an effort to bring Reggie the alligator to the zoo after it was captured in Harbor City’s Lake Machado. He also raised support for the Elephants of Asia habitat and was pivotal in the creation of L.A. Zoo Lights, an annual holiday tradition.
“Tom represented the great 4th Council District, which includes the zoo, for 14 years,” CEO and zoo director Denise M. Verret said. “He was a champion and advocate of the zoo, not only at City Hall, but also in our community. Even though Tom retired as council member in 2015, he was still an integral part of our zoo family, routinely visiting the zoo and continuing to be our supporter. And like Betty White, he is remembered as a true friend of the zoo and is deeply missed.”
Kim, an attorney and former managing partner at Scheper Kim & Harris LLP, brought decades of legal expertise and knowledge to GLAZA, helping create its strategic plan. Kim is also a long-time zoo member who enjoyed watching her daughter gain a passion for wildlife conservation as a student volunteer. She has made significant financial contributions through animal naming gifts and a leadership donation that started fundraising for the planned Angela Collier Garden at the zoo.
“My husband John and I are proud to support the zoo for many reasons, not the least of which is inspiring and shaping bright young minds,” Kim said.
Beastly Ball tickets are $1,500 per person. The Los Angeles Zoo is located at 5333 Zoo Drive in Griffith Park. For information, call (323)486-4253, or visit lazoo.org/beastlyball.
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