Sloths are hanging, penguins are waddling and animal handlers are educating.
This will be the scene of District PourHouse on Wednesday when it hosts “Boo! with the Zoo,” a free event that brings in animals from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to celebrate the Halloween season.
Christiana Moffa, property manager at The Gateway — University District, said the event is an extension of another event PourHouse hosts over the summer called “Brew with the Zoo,” where attendees can pet, interact and learn about zoo animals, such as sloths and baby penguins, in the Gateway plaza while enjoying beer from Ohio breweries.
“It’s been such a popular event — our ‘Brew with the Zoo’ over the summer — that we thought, ‘why not also do another one in the fall,’” Moffa said. “The weather is temperate [and] people love fall foliage and decor, so we opted to do another one. People cannot seem to get enough of the fluffy zoo animals.”
Brian McGlothlin, general manager at PourHouse, said “Brew with the Zoo” came to be through a collaboration between Gateway and the Columbus Zoo, where PourHouse had the idea to add the happy hour and craft beer element.
Halloween elements include a screening of the 1991 film “The Addams Family” at the end of the night, as well as themed beer from Jackie-O’s Pub & Brewery, called “Dark Apparition.”
McGlothlin said events like “Boo! with the Zoo” and “Brew with the Zoo” are great because the community is able to experience a fun, cool environment while also giving back to the Columbus Zoo, for Jackie-O’s and the PourHouse will each donate 50 cents per pint sold to the zoo.
“It’s a pretty awesome experience. Usually the animals they bring, you can’t typically interact with animals like that on a daily basis,” McGlothlin said. “It’s a pretty fun experience to get up close [with] a sloth. The last one they had some baby snow leopard cubs.”
McGlothlin said he hopes people will come to check out the space Gateway has to offer and support the Columbus Zoo at this family-friendly event.
“We have something to offer for everyone … You don’t have to buy a beer, you can come check out the animals without it,” McGlothlin said. “I think the Columbus Zoo is one of the best zoos in the Midwest, if not in the U.S., and it’s free to come out and see what they do and support them.”
As for Moffa, she said she hopes “Boo! with the Zoo” will not only let the community engage with different animals, but bring the community together as well.
“It’s not every day that you can see a snow leopard or watch a sloth climbing around on the railings and eating a snack [or] hold a baby kangaroo,” Moffa said.
The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and is free to the public.