Pints for Preservation raises money for Niabi

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For one night a year, Niabi Zoo combines its animals with alcohol, offering an adults-only beer and wine tasting event with all proceeds going towards zoo exhibits.

"We came out just to support the zoo. We like to come out and have a quieter, cool event at the zoo, have some beers and just relax," said zoo-goer Shelley Robinson.

Pints for Preservation included 10 beer and wine stations throughout the zoo, music, heavy appetizers, and the chance for some after-hours encounters with the animals.

"It's a great time, it's education for the little kids, and it's just a good time for families, and it's a good thing for our community to have," said Craig Stiles about his support of Niabi Zoo.

For the past two years, the event has sold-out with 800 attendees. For the first time in 2013, Niabi Zoo also sold tickets at the door, and organizers hoped to reach 1,200 visitors Friday.

All the money raised will go towards zoo projects and renovations.

"We have a lot of projects on the horizon. We're building a new lion exhibit coming soon, and we've got a new bear exhibit that will be built in a couple years, so we've got a lot of things coming. Even some smaller renovations, too, that this money will go towards," said zoo director Marc Heinzman.

Attendees agreed the event was a unique way to explore the zoo without the kids.

"I haven't been here for like 10, 15 years, and I only like a couple miles away. I can hear the animals at night, but I haven't actually been here in a long time. So, it's good. I like it," said Lindell.

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