For more than a decade, Wild Wines has delighted guests with an evening that features furry + feathered friends of the Little Rock Zoo. Docents paired with Animal Ambassadors mix and mingle with patrons sharing insight combined with a dash of the unexpected. It’s a Capital City classic that is unique and impressive.
Presented by the Arkansas Zoological Foundation, proceeds from Wild Wines support new exhibits and educational programming at the zoo. Under the current leadership of Laura Collins, the Wild Wines Committee coordinates logistics with more than 150 volunteers that bring the festivities to fruition each year. Laura boasts, “We’ve grown to be one of the largest food and wine events in the state. This would not be possible without the support of sponsors and volunteers.”
Laura was introduced to the Little Rock Zoo by friend and fellow patron Kelly Rigby. “I wanted to get more involved in the city, so Kelly insisted I come help her with Wild Wines and I fell in love with the zoo.” She soon recognized the important role the Little Rock Zoo plays in our community; it offers a unique opportunity to experience international, sometimes endangered, animals and a truly global perspective of wildlife conservation. Education is a critical component of the vast amenities the Little Rock Zoo provides. “It’s a chance for locals and tourists to witness extraordinary animals – hopefully inspiring people to fall in love with these animals and want to protect them,” Laura adds.
For nearly a century, the zoo has provided a special place for families to experience “the natural world around us,” Little Rock Zoo Director Susan Altrui explains. “The zoo encourages an appreciation for wildlife and the overall respect for all living things. It can also inspire global change.” She notes that many doctors, researchers, biologists and scientists first realized their interest in the natural world through zoos.
A popular tourist attraction, many people don’t realize the Little Rock Zoo is not completely supported by tax revenue from the City of Little Rock. Susan adds, “Every great city has a great zoo and it’s important that we have a great zoo in our city. Zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, like the Little Rock Zoo, are much more than just a place to see animals – they are leading the way in wildlife conservation and animal care.”