Earlier this winter, I had the opportunity to visit the Detroit Zoo in a snowstorm. A pair of wolves and two Amur tiger brothers seemed to be enjoying the 10 inches of powder, but they were the only animals visible outdoors, and I saw fewer than a dozen human visitors in the three hours I was there. When I returned to Los Angeles, we opened L.A. Zoo Lights, and I was reminded how blessed we are by our Mediterranean climate. Zoo Lights was spectacular this year—more popular than ever!—and was designed to take advantage of the Zoo's ability to provide wonderful experiences in comfortable temperatures most of the year.
Seasonal events are an important way for our Zoo to connect to the Los Angeles community. This spring, we will once again celebrate our wildlife conservation work during Spring Fling, with conservation partners and programming featured throughout the six-week celebration. By partnering with more than 30 conservation organizations internationally, your Zoo is saving species from extinction every day, in California and around the world. Spring Fling is a fun and powerful way to remind Angelenos how we support conservation through our membership opportunities and gifts to the Zoo.
We are already deep in preparations for our big fundraising event of the late spring, the Beastly Ball on June 6. Our Honorees are Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers, authors of Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health and Wildhood: The Epic Journey from Adolescence to Adulthood in Humans and Other Animals, books inspired by Dr. Natterson-Horowitz's collaboration with our Zoo on the intersection of human and animal health. We will also be honoring Chris and Martin Kratt with our Tom Mankiewicz Leadership Award for their work highlighting wildlife in such educational family television shows as Kratts' Creatures, Zoboomafoo, and Wild Kratts. It's going to be a spectacular evening as we wind our way through the Zoo, grazing on innovative cuisine from the best Los Angeles restaurants and bidding on silent auction items ranging from an overnight adventure in our LAIR to exciting wildlife-themed trips all over the world.
Seasonality is more dramatic in Michigan and other parts of our country, which limits zoo programming elsewhere. As we Southern Californians shiver in 60-degree January weather, we are grateful that our Zoo offers year-round experiences with animals and nature in a way that is uniquely L.A.!