ABQ BioPark Zoo hosts sold-out ‘On The Rocks’ event

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A few dozen adults got a special look at the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo after hours Saturday evening, with some free food and drinks.

Officials with the BioPark Zoo say they’re looking for ways to get more types of people out to their exhibits. That meant opening up the Penguin Chill Exhibit and Reptile House just for the adults, and there were a few surprises waiting inside.

“It’s fun, I mean, like you say you don’t have to feel rushed or anything, have to worry about kids, or screaming, or crying in the background,” said Adriana Gonzales. 

Tickets for the BioPark Zoo’s second annual 21-and-up “On The Rocks” night sold out in just 24 hours. Despite the free food and cocktails, most folks said they came out to see the penguins.

“I love penguins, so it just seemed really interesting,” said Erin Spurgeon. 

Unfortunately, the penguin chill exhibit lived up to its name in more ways than one.

“A lot of the penguins are kind of settling in for the night, they’re not as active and swimming around quite as much. A lot of the reptiles are nocturnal, so we do see a lot of activity over here,” said Cheri Vogel, ABQ BioPark education director. 

People weren’t really there for the animals though. 

“We’re kid-less. It was our one night out to, you know, enjoy ourselves,” said Adriana Gonzales. 

And organizers say that’s the point.

“A lot of people don’t like coming during the day or don’t have a time during the day, so these evening events just add a little bit more flavor, and a different demographic appeal,” said Vogel. 

Organizers say the event proceeds help fund zoo education events throughout the year for children and adults.  

“Our focus has been on conservation, and we do a lot of information about reproduction on these events, because we are an adult event,” Vogel said. 

Most adults were just happy to have the place to themselves:

“Thank you mom, thanks mom for watching our kids, so we can come out and enjoy our time.”

Organizers say they’re working to get more of these adult-only events on the schedule. There’s already one planned at the aquarium in April. Tickets for that event are expected to go on sale soon.