Searching for the perfect antidote to cabin fever? Look no further than the Buffalo Zoo’s winter food extravaganza, Polar Bites. The annual fundraiser, hosted by the Pro Zoo Board, takes place Thursday, February 22nd, and will feature food samplings from some of Western New York’s finest restaurants.
The event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. inside the Grand Ballroom of the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center at 153 Franklin Street. Featured restaurants include Fat Bobs Smokehouse, Oliver’s, Salvatore’s Hospitality and Imperial Pizza. The restaurants will present a variety of food samplings, including barbecue, pizza, pasta, soups, sandwiches and delectable desserts.
For a $30 ticket (pre-sale) or $40 at the door, patrons will be offered an assortment of food “bites,” two drink tickets and free parking. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $55. VIP ticket holders receive early admission to the event (5 pm.) and a swag bag full of Zoo goodies. Patrons must be 21 or over to attend.
In addition to great food, the evening will also include a basket auction and a gift card wall. Of course, the highlight of the celebration will be a visit with several of the Buffalo Zoo’s ambassador animals.
Polar Bites is one of four fundraisers that the Zoo organizes each year. Last year, the total raised through these events topped more than $270,000. “All the money raised goes directly to the care and maintenance of the animals,” says Christian Dobosiewicz, manager of communications for the Buffalo Zoo.
Founded more than 140 years ago, the Zoo houses some of the world’s most exotic and endangered wildlife. Fundraisers such as Polar Bites support the zoo’s critical conservation efforts.
Animals are housed in enclosures that mimic their natural habitats with trees, streams, pools and other features. Through its membership in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the zoo participates in a number of breeding programs for endangered species.
Last year the zoo welcomed the birth of a male ocelot, a small cat whose range includes the very southern region of Texas all the way to northern Argentina in South America. The cat used to be found throughout Texas and east to Arkansas and Louisiana, but now, due to hunting and habitat loss, is very rare in the U.S. Researchers estimate their numbers may have dropped as low as 100 living in the U.S. today.
The Puerto Rican crested toad nearly went extinct in 1980 due to habit destruction. In 2016, the zoo helped raise 3100 tadpoles and shipped them back into the wild in Puerto Rico.
Hopes are high that the zoo’s male and female polar bear can be bred in the near future to augment the dwindling numbers of polar bears living in the wild due to loss of their sea ice habitat.
“These conservation programs not only aid in recovering the loss of endangered animals, but also in educating visitors about respecting, valuing and conserving wildlife and wild places," says Dobosiewicz.
With a ticket to Polar Bites you can enjoy an evening of great food and entertainment while also giving back to wildlife – all at the same time. Order tickets online at: BuffaloZoo.org/Event/Polar-Bites.