ROYAL OAK – Don’t forget your picnic basket! Because as all watchers of cartoons know, that’s what bears prefer when spending time with humans — picnic spreads full of sandwiches.

And time with grizzly bears is something the Detroit Zoo is auctioning off to the highest bidder during its Sunset at the Zoo fundraiser. A gourmet dinner for 12 with grizzly bear cubs Mike, Thor and Boo is just one of the extraordinary prizes to be offered in the live auction at the Detroit Zoological Society’s annual fundraiser.

Inspired by the zoo’s new Carousel, the carnival-themed gala happens 7 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, June 22. The zoo closes at 2 p.m. in preparation for the festivities.

Presented by Strategic Staffing Solutions, the 21-and-over, rain-or-shine soiree features a strolling supper by more than 40 restaurants, zoo-themed martinis, carnival acts, music by The Jerry Ross Band, dancing, live and silent auctions and access to the zoo’s award-winning animal habitats at twilight.

In addition to dinner with the grizzly cubs, the live auction includes other “zoonique” prizes such as an African safari dinner for 12; a polar bear and seal feeding experience for six; a butterflies and bubbly party for 20; a fall hayride and twilight tour of the zoo with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres for 12; and the opportunity to name a baby animal.

Additional exciting live auction lots include two tickets to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans in 2013, a Detroit Lions sideline experience for four, the Detroit Tigers president’s suite for 18, a Top Gun fighter jet experience, a Sonoma winery excursion and Napa Valley hot-air balloon ride, a New York City culinary adventure, and an evening on a private yacht with dinner for 35.

Tickets for Sunset at the Zoo range from $150 to $300. To purchase tickets by phone, call 248-541-5717 and press 9; for more information and to order tickets online, visit Tickets can also be purchased at the gate the evening of the event.


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