For one night only on June 15, adults can explore the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium after dark and enjoy delicious food, drinks and live entertainment while benefiting the Zoo’s conservation and sustainability programs. 

The Zoo’s 48th annual adults-only celebration, Zoofari, presented by Fifth Third Bank, will be held Saturday, June 15 at the Zoo. This wild night is the Zoo’s signature fundraising celebration and one of the area’s hottest summer parties, where guests will enjoy appetizers and drinks from over 100 central Ohio restaurants and live music on multiple stages throughout the Zoo. Zoofari takes place throughout most of the Zoo and allows guests to explore the park after dark, and several zoo habitats will also be open until 9 p.m, including the flamingos, manatees and tigers, among others.

In addition to enjoying delicious food and signature drinks, guests can purchase tickets to enter Jack’s Wild Ride raffle, a chance to win several prizes, including the grand prize: a 1968 Black Camaro RS Convertible. Other prizes include a $5000 Closet by Design home or garage redesign package, a pair of 3-ct. bright crystal diamond earrings from Meyers Jewelers and a $1000 Visa card provided by Nationwide. Only 1,750 tickets will be sold for the raffle, and guests can either purchase tickets for $100 online in advance or at the event. 

At the end of the night, attendees can drive responsibly and use ride-sharing services or a designated driver to get home safely. Guests may leave their cars at the Zoo overnight to be picked up the following morning. 

“This is sure to be another exciting Zoofari, and we are proud of all of the excellent offerings that only this unique event can provide,” said Nikhil Hunshikatti, the 2019 Zoofari Committee Chair, in a news release. “It is great to see how Zoofari has become one of Central Ohio’s favorite summer events over the years, but it is even more rewarding to know that this signature fundraiser has made a meaningful impact on the Zoo’s conservation initiatives here in Ohio, as well as around the world.”

All proceeds from the event benefit the Zoo’s Conservation Education programs. At Zoofari 2018, 6,216 guests raised $559,700 for the Zoo’s conservation programs. 

Currently, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium dedicates nearly $4 million of privately-raised funds annually to support conservation and sustainability efforts worldwide, recently helping fund 70 projects in 30 countries. These projects work to advance conservation research, build capacity among local populations, strengthen environmental education, promote community involvement and foster behavioral changes that benefit both animals and people. 

General admission tickets to Zoofari include three drink tickets and can be purchased on the Columbus Zoo’s website,, for $125 until tickets at that price run out or at the door for $150. VIP tickets, which also include free valet parking, access to VIP-only areas and early entry, are $300 per ticket or $3,000 for a pack of 12. The Zoofari has sold out in past years, so act fast while tickets are still available.

Additional drink tickets can be purchased as a five-pack in advance for $16 or individually for $4 at the event, and guests can enter Jack’s Wild Ride Raffle for $100 by purchasing raffle tickets online or at the event. 

Zoofari 2019 will be held at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Saturday, June 15. The General Admission Pre-Party and VIP Admission Early Reception both begin at 6:30 p.m., but the main event runs from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m. This event is only for adults age 21 and older. To ensure safe access, the Zoo will check state-issued or military IDs. For more information about the event, check out the Columbus Zoo’s website at

Originally published in the May/June 2019 issue of Sophisticated Living Columbus.