Zoo Debut

Thank you for a wonderful 2020 event. Check back soon for 2021 details!


Check out the show below!


Saturday, September 12, 2020  |  5:30PM – 7:15PM

Join us for our annual premier charity fundraising gala, now virtually...well, mostly! Enjoy this opportunity to celebrate and support a valuable conservation and education organization. Funds raised will benefit veterinary and essential daily animal care, education programs, conservation efforts, and more. Your support is the key to our continued success of providing positive wildlife experiences for guests of all ages.

For the first time ever, anyone, anywhere can join us for Zoo Debut!

About the Night

FREE TO WATCH! The entire experience will be livestreamed right here on our website! All you need is a computer or mobile device connected to the internet. This dazzling event will include live music, live and silent auctions, and much more! The night's festivities will be hosted by Beth Heidorn, Executive Director, and Chelsea Locke, Special Events Manager. Special guests will also be featured in the show.

Anyone 18+ can bid in the auction!


Sept. 8 at 10AM (CDT): Silent auction bidding opens

Sept. 12 at 5:30PM – 5:45PM (CDT): Cocktail Class! Special guest Doug Nicholson, local business owner, will be starting off the night teaching everyone a fun cocktail combination.

Sept. 12 at 5:45PM – 6PM (CDT): Live music by J. Ryan Trio

Sept. 12 at 6PM – 7PM (CDT): Zoo Debut Show, live auction available

Sept. 12 at 7PM – 7:15PM (CDT): Live music by J. Ryan Trio

Sept. 13 at 11PM (CDT): Silent auction bidding closes


Have fun and support the Zoo, all from the comfort of your couch (you can even wear your penguin pajamas—we won’t tell!). Register as a Virtual Viewer to receive email updates pertaining to the event.

While watching virtually, enjoy fine dining from Sebastian's! Learn more


Bring home a piece of Zoo Debut to enjoy as you experience the event virtually! This package will include a swag bag with champagne, a stemless champagne flute featuring the Zoo Debut logo, gourmet treats—savory and sweet, Zoo napkins, hand sanitizer, and more. We will also send you email updates pertaining to the event.

While watching virtually, enjoy fine dining from Sebastian's! Learn more


Get the ultimate VIP experience and join us in person at Racine Zoo the night of the event from 5PM – 8PM! As a member of the viewing party, you can enjoy appetizers, an open bar, a Zoo Debut To Go swag bag, and, of course, the live show. Limited tickets available! Attire is cocktail attire or, in true Zoo Debut fashion, animal-themed attire. We will also send you email updates pertaining to the event.


VIP Appetizers Menu:


  • Signature Charcuterie and Cheese board


  • Duck Tenderloins
  • Beef Kabayaki
  • Curry Chicken Salad pastry cups
  • Shrimp Shooters
  • Local organic tomato
  • Cold smoked salmon - The salmon prep will be with a dill cream and dill brussels grilled oysters and a vegan chanterelle mushroom

Dessert station:

  • Key lime tartlets
  • Petite chocolate banofee
  • Peach and blueberry galettes
  • Cherry galettes
  • Flower blossom cupcakes
  • Lemon strawberry ricotta cake bites

Coffee service:

  • House made almond chocolate biscotti

...and more!


Must RSVP By:

Virtual Viewer: Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 3PM
Zoo Debut To Go: Friday, September 11, 2020 at 12PM
VIP Live Studio Audience: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at 9AM



Only purchase tickets through the Racine Zoo website or in person at the Zoo. All other places tickets may be sold are a scam.

For the in-person event: For your safety and the safety of others, social distancing guidelines will be in effect. Sanitation stations will be located nearby. Masks are strongly encouraged, but not required for this event.