This past weekend we went to our third "Walk in the Wild" at the beautiful Oakland Zoo. The weather was glorious; clear blue skies, hot and dry. This is the fourth year in a row that I've done the collateral artwork for the event, wherein they open the gates in the late afternoon/evening for fundraising patrons to come and sample local breweries, restaurants and wineries. Basically, you just wander through the lovely grounds with a plate and a glass and sample delicious victuals and look at and learn about these amazing creatures.
It's a fun gig and they always throw in 4 tickets to the event. All of the Oakland Zoo's animals are orphan or rescue animals, and man are these critters lucky they ended up here and not some other zoo. The OZ always have me do two images which they use in a variety of contexts that need to have animals from their collection, sans anthropomorphization, set in the landscape of their origin, and combined with music and food service imagery.
One of this years creatures was the Aldabra Tortoise, a species which had the good sense to make their home in the Seychelles, one of the most stunning tropical paradises on earth from what I've gathered. These tortoises lay around on the beach all day I think; it's a good life.
The other of this year's selected beasts was the African Lion. I enjoy how grumpy and put-out lions can look. This lady reminds me a bit of that Americon Idol runner-up from a few years back, what's her name... Ambrosia? Amnesia? Here (above) are the posters.
In addition to the signage and posters and prints and stuff, this year they made lables for wine made by Rosenblum Vineyards. It's a fine vintage, fruit forward and with a hint of reptile on the nose. Hey, who's that wino absconding with a bottle??
The evening isn't complete until we ride the sky tram. The view of the Bay is incredible up there, and it's always a bit of a thrill to be hundreds of feet directly over the tigers and lions. This year, a gust of wind on an otherwise windless day whisked Cynthia's hat off her head and into the bison fields far below.
My favorite food this year was the smoked crab cake thingie, served by Miss Pearl's Jam House in Oakland. Horatio's was up there too, despite the odd name for a Thai restaurant, with their peanut-sauce Satay skewers.
You don't feel guilty eating in front of the animals either, as the zoo crew had made sure that the animals all had their own treats, and because of the heat the animals each got their own custom flavored Icee blocks to slurp on. Unfortunately we missed the crocodile feeding!
Apparently, the zoo is having one of it's best years ever, despite the brutal economy. It's great to see the support they get from all of these patrons here. Here are some of the past year's images.