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Late Night at the Zoo Events for Adults

Step out for a chance to see animals, sip cocktails and socialize after hours

spinner image a man and woman take a picture at a zoo
Visitors can pose for selfies with wildlife at adults-only events across the country.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

If your idea of a wild evening includes drinks, live music and a chance to take selfies with cool cats, it’s time to check out a zoo.

Across the country, zoological parks are opening their gates after hours for adults-only events. At some, you can even spend the night.

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“The fun thing is that there’s no kids, and the adults can really focus on the animals and the social atmosphere,” says Chelsea Cound, a mental health worker and volunteer who has been attending evening events at the Minnesota Zoo for years. “It’s a different atmosphere than going to a restaurant or a movie.… You can move around. You can talk about what you’re seeing and hearing and smelling.”

The evenings often feature breweries and bands, along with yard games, zookeeper talks and special animal exhibits.

Oklahoma resident Amy Hernandez, a veteran of several Zoo Nights parties at the Tulsa Zoo, has noticed the events attract a diverse crowd, including singles, couples and groups of women on a girls’ night out. She also likes that the evening supports a worthwhile cause: “You’re contributing to wildlife conservation. It makes you feel good about what you’re doing.”

Here are some zoos offering adults-only events across the country.

spinner image people feeding giraffes at a zoo
Participants can feed the giraffes during the Tails, Tunes & Tastes event at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado

This Colorado Springs park attracts crowds to its Tails, Tunes & Tastes evenings. Guests are encouraged to dress for a party and dancing — although keep in mind you’ll be walking up and down hills around the zoo. The grounds are open to see animal exhibits. You can also feed the (adorable) giraffe herd bundles of lettuce in the giraffe habitat. Events are scheduled for July 25 and Aug. 29, with more dates in the works for the fall. Tickets cost $64.75 and include unlimited small plate snacks and two drinks.  

spinner image people sleeping in tents at the zoo
The adults-only Roar & Snore safaris allow guests to sleep in tents in the middle of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

San Diego Zoo Safari Park, California

What’s better than spending the evening at the zoo? How about spending the night? The San Diego-area park hosts adults-only Roar & Snore safaris where guests bed down in a safari tent in the middle of the 1,800-acre property. Participants can take a night hike or a private tram tour and snack on s’mores by a campfire. Premium packages include a zip line trip to the campsite and a guided after-dark tour with night-vision binoculars. The next event dates are June 28 and Aug. 24, with additional sleepovers in the works for fall. Tickets start at $160 per person plus the cost of admission to the park (from $72 online). 

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Live music and animals are part of the fun at the BOOze at the Zoo event in Nashville.
Nashville

Nashville Zoo, Tennessee

The Music City institution hosts three adults-only events this year. Sips for Species, scheduled for April 26, offers guests drink samples from more than 40 vendors. There’s also food for purchase, live music and animal exhibits along a strolling path. Tickets are $85 for nonmembers, $45 for designated drivers. Brew at the Zoo on June 14 offers a similar setup with drink samples (mostly beer this time) from more than 60 vendors, plus food trucks and live music. Tickets are $85 for nonmembers. BOOze at the Zoo, on Oct. 10, offers an adults-only Halloween party with trick-or-treating, a costume contest and carousel rides. Ticket prices are still in the works for the event.

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Guests can socialize and sip adult beverages during After Dark events at the Dallas Zoo.
Dallas Zoo

Dallas Zoo, Texas

Wildlife shows its arty side at the largest zoo in Texas. On May 16, the Dallas Zoo hosts Wild Canvas, one of the three-times-a-year After Dark events. The evening includes painting by artists, specialty foods, drinks, games and music. You also have a chance to see more than 400 species and 2,000 animals including gorillas, African penguins and flamingos. Ticket prices are still in the works. Additional adult events are planned for the fall and during Dallas Zoo Lights, when the park decorates for the holidays with more than a million lights. Check the website for updates.

spinner image people dancing at a party at the zoo
The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago hosts several Adults Night Out parties throughout the year.
Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo, Illinois

The Chicago neighborhood zoo hosts its annual Craft Brews at Lincoln Park Zoo on June 15. Guests can choose from more than 100 beers and ciders while walking through the gardens and visiting the animal exhibits. Admission is $55, $65 for early entry. On June 27, the Adults Night Out: Pride Party will feature a live DJ, an Endangered Species Carousel and free face painting. Animal lovers can visit their favorite habitats and chat with zoo experts during the event. Admission starts at $15. And stay tuned for more events: The zoo hosts several Adults Night Out parties throughout the year. 

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Guests are free to roam the grounds during Zoo Nights at the Tulsa Zoo in Oklahoma.
Brittany Paczowski/Tulsa Zoo

Tulsa Zoo, Oklahoma

Mark your calendars: Zoo Nights are scheduled for April 26, June 14, July 12, Aug. 9 and Oct. 11. During each event, guests are free to roam the 84-acre grounds to visit Komodo dragons and chimpanzees, and see special exhibits with zookeepers. Admission starts at $34.99, $62.99 for the drink package, which includes four specialty zoo-themed cocktails. On May 17, guests can enjoy beer tastings, animal encounters and yard games during Conservation on Tap. Proceeds benefit the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Saving Animals From Extinction’s Asian elephant conservation program and the International Elephant Foundation. Admission is $50, $20 for designated drivers. 

spinner image people looking at exhibits at the zoo
Adults can enjoy zoo exhibits after hours during events at the Minnesota Zoo in Minneapolis.
Minnesota Zoo

Minnesota Zoo

The Minneapolis-area park offers adult events from January through August. On May 11, Bears and Brews features more than 20 breweries and the opportunity to see baby farm animals and other animals. Tickets are $25 for nonmembers. When summer arrives, guests come out for Wild Nights, which features bands and food trucks. Events are planned for June, July and August. Admission is $40 for nonmembers.

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