Feast With the Beasts 2013: Lions and Tigers and Food, Oh My!
This year's Feast with the Beasts benefit for the Houston Zoo was a sold-out event that had people running from animal display to animal display and food tent to food tent to soak up every bit of excitement, even in the rain. This was the 8th annual feast, and the event has become something that people look forward to all year -- and it's easy to see why.
Photos by Kaitlin Steinberg The zoo is all lit up for the holiday season, but this past weekend the party was all about food!
Upon arriving at the zoo, I was greeted by tall, twisted trees wrapped in different colors of bright lights that washed anything in their vicinity in shades of blue, purple, yellow and green -- an early preview of Zoo Lights, which opens to the general public on November 22.
Sixty-four restaurants and catering companies pulled out all the stops to serve up some incredible food. There were lobster rolls from Truluck's, tacos from Chipotle, kale and apple lemonade from Juice Girl, donuts from Shipley, cupcakes from Sprinkles and just about everything else in between. Try as I might to nudge my way around the more than 4,000 guests to taste every single food offering available, I kept finding myself being drawn to the animals.
As they do every year at Feast with the Beasts, the animal trainers and handlers stage show-and-tell presentations that allow guests to get (fairly) up-close and personal with some of the zoo's residents.
This cheetah looked like a sweetie, but he had some killer claws.
One of the highlights of the evening -- for me anyway -- was the cheetah show. Trainers brought a young adult male on stage and gave a brief talk about the cheetahs at the zoo while the majestic creature lounged on a platform, perking up his ears every now and then and setting the trainers on alert. Animal handlers also brought out a leopard tortoise, a great horned owl, an electus parrot, an indigo snake, a cuddly opossum named Oscar, a sweet skunk named Lily and a lazy porcupine named Ernest.