Zoo Ball’s The Polar Express Rolls Into San Antonio

By Leanne Raesener           Photography by Greg Harrison

THE SETTING: Fittingly, Mother Nature provided a perfect winter cold snap for the San Antonio Zoo’s 37th Annual Zoobillation themed, The Polar Express. Dipping temperatures brought out more than 800 prominent patrons and philanthropic community leaders donning glamourous winter fashions. Brackenridge Park’s newest narrow-gauge engine was on display outside the reception tent to carry on the legacy of the San Antonio Zoo’s 1956 Eagle, and a phenomenal locomotive ice sculpture greeted the guests inside.

Before a delectable dinner, guests ambled through the zoo’s annual enchanting light displays to join a buzzing reception filled with a wealth of generously donated silent auction holiday gift opportunities. The new locomotive welcomed all into the main dining area in an outside foyer resplendent with silver and blue scenes creating a genuinely magical esplanade under a canopy of the best snow flurries one can expect in San Antonio.

THE STYLE: Inside a real star-filled night, laced silver accents were throughout the room and across all the tables. Custom passports offered guests access to their own imaginations on the express across time and into their childhoods.

The SA Zoo CEO Tim Morrow welcomed Jayme and William Russell, the event’s chairs, through the grand entrance. The Russells outlined the strides the zoo has made, where it stands, and where it is going―from the new exhibits, the Will Smith Zoo School, and Kiddie Park, to the new train engine. They also highlighted the zoo’s primary purpose, which is to educate, awe, entertain, and spotlight the exceptional leadership, business partnerships, and generous patrons building legacies for tomorrow.

Tony Parker, a Zoo board member, joined Morrow on stage to spur on dynamic live auction support with impromptu friendly banter. Guests supported the auction with seasonal generosity and all the energy of San Antonio’s very own Polar Express.

THE PURPOSE: The San Antonio Zoo, through its passion and expertise in animal care, conservation, and education, commits to inspiring its community to love, engage with, act for, and protect animals and the places they live. The zoo welcomes more than a million visitors each year and is open year-round.