You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hollywood Gets a Boost From Its Animal Instincts at L.A. Zoo

Kids, Hollywood and the zoo seem like a ready-made mix for a good time. That’s the way 20th Century Fox and the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn. saw it this summer when they collaborated on an event that stirred together the three main ingredients around Fox’s “Rio 2.”

Family Jam night, part of the zoo’s effort to revitalize its summer evening programs to appeal to parents and children, featured costumed characters from the Fox film greeting visitors, along with live music, pictures in a “flap your wings” photo booth, and a scavenger hunt in the zoo’s recently opened rainforest exhibit that focused on the range of wildlife living there. The first 250 participants were also treated to a screening of “Rio 2.”

While the event was a new one, the partnership between the zoo and a movie studio was not. Because of its proximity to several studios and the perennial releases of animal-themed movies, the L.A. Zoo is a prime location for the Tinseltown collaborations. The association, the non-profit organization that seeks financial support for the zoo, sees the relationship as a benefit to all participants.

“Our mission is both education and entertainment,” said Kait Hilliard, the zoo association’s vice president for marketing and communications. “We want kids to have a good time and associate learning about animals with having fun.”

The zoo, which welcomes thousands of people daily, has the largest membership of any cultural organization in the city. In fact, actress Betty White is a co-chair, and for her 90th birthday, TV Land made a donation to name the zoo’s baby orangutan “Elka” after White’s character in “Hot In Cleveland.”

“It is an absolute privilege to work as closely as I do with the Los Angeles Zoo,” said White. “We are so lucky to have such a beautiful zoo right here in town. It’s an honor to be able to continue to spread the word about how the LA Zoo and other major zoos contribute to conservation efforts that make a difference all over the world.”

“The zoo is a place where people from all ages, socioeconomic classes and education levels can come,” Genie Vasels, GLAZA’s vice president for institutional advancement, said. “Having these movie-themed events provides a more intimate family setting to reach more people.”

The zoo is hoping to establish the Family Jam night as an annual summer happening.

Zoo’s Clues

*The lions, meerkat and jaguar from “Lion King” were based on animals in the L.A. Zoo.

*Paramount Pictures employees annually volunteer at the zoo, taking on tasks like weaving hammocks for gorillas

*The precursor to the L.A. Zoo, the Selig Zoo, was built by William Selig, at the same time he constructed a movie studio next to it in the early 1900s.

*The MGM lion is said to have gotten off to its roaring start at the Selig Zoo.

More Scene

  • Katie HolmesAT&T Presents: Untold Stories Luncheon

    Katie Holmes, Kal Penn Help Decide Winner of $1 Million Filmmaker Grant

    Tribeca Film Festival and AT&T gave one young filmmaker a million and one reasons to rejoice at the “Untold Stories” third annual competition. After a nerve-wracking 10-minute long pitch in front of over 850,000 live stream audience members and a panel consisting of celebrities and industry leaders, filmmaker Kate Tsang was awarded $1 million Monday [...]

  • Laurie Metcalf, John Lithgow'Hillary and Clinton'

    Why John Lithgow Worried About Starring in Broadway's 'Hillary and Clinton'

    When Lucas Hnath first conceived of “Hillary and Clinton” in 2008, he was writing for and about a very different America. Now, a total reimagining of the show has made its way to Broadway with Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow in the titular roles. At the opening on Thursday night, the cast and creatives talked [...]

  • Patrick Page, Amber Grey, Eva Noblezada,

    'Hadestown' Took 12 Years to Get to Broadway, but It's More Relevant Than Ever

    When “Hadestown” was first staged as a tiny, DIY theater project in Vermont, those involved could never have predicted that it was the start of a 12-year journey to Broadway — or how painfully relevant it would be when it arrived. At Wednesday night’s opening at the Walter Kerr Theatre, the cast and creatives discussed [...]

  • Mick Jagger

    Mick Jagger Makes First Post-Surgery Appearance at Rolling Stones Ballet Premiere

    Rock legend Mick Jagger made his first public appearance post-heart surgery on Thursday night to catch a glimpse of the world premiere of the Rolling Stones ballet “Porte Rouge.” “I hope you are going to enjoy this wonderful new ballet, and, of course, the music,” the frontman declared in a pre-recorded message to the audience [...]

  • Adam Driver appears at the curtain

    Adam Driver on Starring in 'Burn This' for a Second Time

    The Hudson Theatre’s new production of “Burn This” marks its first Broadway revival since it premiered on the Great White Way in 1987, but Adam Driver is no stranger to the work. He starred as Pale in a Juilliard production of the Lanford Wilson drama when he was still a student — and only now, [...]

  • PMC Event Rome

    Film, Fashion, Formula E Mix at Rome E-Prix Bash

    Film, fashion and Formula E auto-racing fused during a dinner and celebration of the Rome E-Prix on Thursday at the Palazzo Dama by the Piazza del Popolo in the heart of the Eternal City.  Guests mingled and sipped cocktails as hors d’oeuvres were passed around in a former home of the Italian nobility with conversation [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content