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Different bars for these animals

8/19/2015

Here are two bits of friendly advice for anyone who’s considering attending the last Zoo Brew event of the season on Aug. 26 at Blank Park Zoo:

1) Get there early.

2) Buy a koozie.

Aside from having to park in the extra-extra-parking — the main parking lot is full at this point because regular zoo members are leaving when the Zoo Brew crowd arrives — arriving just barely on time also means missing out on most of the free samples.

Spectators enjoy their tallboys and the animals at Zoo Brew at Blank Park Zoo.

Spectators enjoy their tallboys and the animals at Zoo Brew at Blank Park Zoo.

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Getting there early enough may also score attendees a free koozie, depending on the deals that night. If they miss that, guests can purchase koozies for $2 at the merchandise tent — and they’re necessary. As hot as an August evening can be, nobody wants their beer slipping out of their hand while timing the perfect selfie with a giraffe.

At Zoo Brew, there are a variety of activities to take part in. Just like any other time at Blank Park Zoo, wandering along the paths and exhibits is expected and encouraged, even with a beer in hand — just don’t let the animals take a sip. The goats and lamas are especially friendly and used to being hand-fed. Keep drinks far away from these guys because they’ll go for it!

Feed the koi, wander with wallabies, bark with seals and make faces with monkeys. Do the zoo.

And the brew.

Rotating every week, the free samples have included, among others, Smith and Forge Hard Cider, Blue Moon Agave Blonde Ale and Exile Brewery’s limited edition APA called “Zoo Brew” — created exclusively for Blank Park Zoo’s weekly summer event.

Alcohol staples at Zoo Brew consist of $4 wines and $4 tallboys: Bud Light, Budweiser, Coors Light, Miller Lite, Strongbow Hard Cider, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, Angry Orchard Hard Cider and Bud Light Lime Lemon-ade-rita. Other beers supplied may include: Smith and Forge Hard Cider, selections from Peacetree, Exile and Millstream Brewing Companies, Sam Adams, Blue Moon, Fat Tire, Goose Island 312 and Crispin pear ciders.

Multiple bars are set up throughout the zoo, and there are two places to get food if dinner plans include hanging out with some cool critters. The Safari Grill is open, right next to the Great Cats exhibit, and Hy-Vee supplies boneless wings, pulled pork sandwiches, bacon wrapped veggies and chicken on a stick, just outside the exit for the Australian Adventure aviary, next to the train.

Don’t forget to relax for a bit, too. Blank Park Zoo also employs entertainment each night of Zoo Brew. For the grand finale, classic ’70s and ’80s rock cover band Standing Hampton will be sharing its tunes with the audience.

Although this Wednesday is the last Zoo Brew for the season, don’t fret if you can’t make it. Oktoberfest is right around the corner, and that means Zooktoberfest will be ready to kick off the weekend again on Thursday, Sept. 24. Enjoy the mash-up of Zoo Brew and Des Moines’ 11th annual Oktoberfest with live music, seasonal beers, Oktoberfest-style food, pretzel necklaces and, of course, all the animals.

The final night of Zoo Brew this season should be unforgettable, with great music, better beers and the reason anyone goes to the zoo in the first place: nature’s finest, fiercest and friendliest animals. Tickets are free for zoo members and $12 for non-members. For more information on deals of the day, visit facebook.com/zoobrew. CV

ZOO BREW AT BLANK PARK ZOO
7401 S.W. Ninth St., 285-4722
Wednesday, Aug. 26
5:30-9 p.m.

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