The magical evening, full of sparkle, glimmer and glam will honor Karen Sausman, President Emerita, and include music, libations, auctions, dinner, entertainment and of course, animals.

Zoobilee! guests are encouraged to dress for the silver anniversary, safari style, and will be treated to a themed evening with unique experiences such as up-close-and-personal animal encounters, and the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind silent and live auction items.  

The celebration kicks off with a cocktail reception and silent auction at 5:30 p.m., at the Palm Garden Patio, followed by dinner and a live auction at 7 p.m. in an elegantly decorated tent, complete with crystal chandeliers. A special “Raise-the-Paw” effort will support the excellent care and well-being of The Living Desert’s animals, as well as the education and conservation programs the zoo provides. 

This year the Zoo and Gardens has been celebrating the Year of the Giraffe, an effort aimed at raising awareness about the silent extinction of the giraffe population and inspiring conservation action. Giraffe are currently listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the population of giraffe is on a rapid decline, down 40 percent across Africa in the past few decades. It is estimated there are fewer than 98,000 giraffe left in the wild. The Zoobilee! Gala will pay tribute to these magnificent animals throughout the evening.
The Living Desert is thankful for its longtime supporters and the impressive 2018 Zoobilee! Gala committee. Barbara Spencer and Nancy Stegehuis are serving as co-chairs, with honorary co-chairs Joy & Harry Goldstein, Patti & Jack Grundhofer, and JoAnn McGrath. Generous sponsors to date include Diamond Sponsor JoAnn McGrath, and Platinum Sponsors Peggy & Hal Bernthal, Joy & Harry Goldstein, Patti & Jack Grundhofer, Candace & Jon Holzgrafe, and Harold Matzner.
Tickets are $500 per person and proceeds from the Zoobilee! Gala support The Living Desert’s mission of desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation, and help provide programming such as school field trip scholarships, community outreach and events, as well as exhibit and infrastructure improvements. The funds raised will also support species conservation efforts around the world.  

For more information and to purchase tickets or sponsor a table, please visit or contact Greg Murphy at or (760) 346-9584.