Beer, beasts and a beat you can dance to — what's not to love about the Maryland Zoo at Baltimore's annual Brew at the Zoo and Wine, Too?
"It's just a beautiful, pleasant way to spend an afternoon, sampling beers, listening to music," spokeswoman Jane Ballentine says of the zoo's largest annual fundraiser.
The two-day celebration drew about 7,000 visitors last year, thanks in part to a run of picture-perfect weather. A forecast for intermittent showers this Saturday could cut down attendance a bit, but zoo officials hope the appeal of drinking, dining and hanging out with the animals will bring big crowds out regardless.
"It's a very family-oriented event as well," Ballentine promises. "Down by the Waterfowl Lake Pavilion, there's this natural amphitheater, with these 200-year-old trees. People set out blankets, it's very shaded."
Live music will be provided by three bands each day — the 8-Balls, Fools & Horses and the Kelly Bell Band on Saturday; King Street, Old Man Brown and The Reagan Years on Sunday. Fourteen breweries will be represented, offering 38 beers (including, for the first time, Natty Boh). And 40 mostly local vineyards will be providing the wine.
All that, and each ticket includes admission to the zoo — where the animals won't be offended if you stare at them with a touch of a buzz on.
"The ability to take a walk out into the zoo, stroll around, get on the tram," says Ballentine. "You can even run down and see Africa in between bands if you want."
Brew at the Zoo and Wine Too is set for 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, in Druid Hill Park. Tickets are $10-$45. Information: 410-396-7102 or marylandzoo.org.