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Laid-Back Fun at Sac Zoo’s Twilight Thursdays Summer Concerts

With the evening sun casting long shadows on the zoo grounds and upbeat music filling the air, Sacramento Zoo‘s first rendition of their Twilight Thursdays summer concert series reminded guests of the joys of warm weather and longer days.

Hosting their first concert event last week, the zoo will stay open late every Thursday through July 30 to host an evening of music, food, and a chance to mill through the zoo after-hours to see animals who are frequently less spry for daytime guests.

“It’s really great time to come and visit the zoo,” said Tonja Candelaria, Public Relations Coordinator for the Sacramento Zoo. “[We have] 2 bands out here, dinner specials, a beer a wine garden…and you get to see the animals do various behaviors that you might not see during the day since it’s cooling off and they’re becoming more active. You just get to enjoy the zoo in a whole new atmosphere, a whole new light.”

Featuring a main stage band each week that covers anything from blues to reggae, classic rock, rockabilly, and even a U2 tribute, the zoo also invites guests to stroll on over for a visit with the giraffes and a treat of jazz music and local craft beer by Yolo Brewing Company and wine by Three Wine.

Jazz with Giraffes is new this year and does well in giving attendees a good excuse to walk through the zoo while providing a laid-back ambiance at journey’s end.

Laid-back is actually a term you could use to describe what the whole evening feels like. At the Reptile House Lawn’s main stage, families, couples, and friends sat back in their lawn chairs or sprawled out on blankets as East Wind energetically played familiar songs. What started as a couple people dancing at the front eventually turned to nearly a dozen, accompanied by a few children laughing and dancing close by. People chatted, cheered and enjoyed the evening’s food fare.

In addition to providing a great evening out, each Twilight Thursday supports a featured nonprofit. Last week’s nonprofit was A Touch of Understanding, an organization that raises awareness about kids with disabilities through programs that cultivate understanding, acceptance, respect, and interpersonal skills among elementary and high school students.

“The more the community understands what we do, the better,” said Douglas Newton, Director of Development for A Touch of Understanding. “This event really helps get the word out about who we are, what we do, what our impact is and why it matters. And, finally, why it’s worthy of support.”

The zoo has a particular interest in supporting nonprofits since they know firsthand the challenges of being a nonprofit.

“We ourselves are a nonprofit so we understand the importance of getting your face out there and seeing new audiences,” said Candelaria. “We like to give back to others the same way the community gives back to us.”

Perhaps one of the best things about Twilight Thursdays is that it is included in the zoo’s general admission and is free for Sacramento Zoo Members. Live bands begin performing at 5:30pm and the evening ends at 8pm, when the zoo closes.

Don’t miss the chance for laid-back, summer fun and a rare evening with the animals. Twilight Thursdays run now through July 30. For more information, visit saczoo.org.

Photos by Bethany Harris

About the author

Bethany Harris

Bethany joined Sacramento Press in 2013 and enjoys writing articles that uncover the happenings of the city and the people behind the stories who make them so worth telling. A native of Sacramento, she also loves photography, running, gardening, coffee, and discovering new places and new things to do--both in the city and throughout California.

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