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PRETTY WOMAN: The Musical 

CARTI: A Cancer Surgeon and Survivor’s Tips for Prioritizing Your Health

Be a Part of the Cure Walk

Designers Choice Fashion Preview – Next in Fashion

University of Central Arkansas – Distinguished Alumni Award

Methodist Family Health – Share the Light

Know Your Numbers

UA Little Rock Leader – Leigh Ann Biernat

Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts

Plants with a Purpose: ACCESS Gardens Plant Sale

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The Year of the Dragon

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Congruent with Chinese culture – the 2024 Year of the Dragon represents courage, tenacity and intelligence combined with enthusiasm + confidence. With this forecast comes ample opportunity. At the Little Rock Zoo, this translates into big plans that Director Susan Altrui believes will transform the guest experience. She reflects on recent accomplishments and more reasons to celebrate at Wild Wines later this month.

A native Arkansan, Susan returned to the state after enjoying work and life in Colorado as a graduate student. Her heart for service landed her a job at the Little Rock Zoo. “I wanted my work to really make a difference and create positive community development,” she explains. “The zoo is a place for family recreation, but it also illustrates the importance of wildlife conservation and nature.”  Susan credits the invaluable insight of mentors, former Little Rock Zoo Director Mike Blakely and City Manager Bruce Moore, who recognized + cultivated her leadership skills. “They allowed me to grow and to gain the knowledge necessary to be successful. They have passed on a huge legacy in their deaths.”  Susan continues to honor the rich history of the zoo while looking forward with optimism to the important role the zoo plays in our state. “This is truly a new era for the Little Rock Zoo.”

 

For nearly a century, the Little Rock Zoo has provided a place for people to connect with wildlife. Education is a critical component of the vast amenities it provides. “It’s our responsibility to share the wonders of nature with our guests and remind them how our actions, even the smallest actions, impact the environment.” Support from the Arkansas Zoological Foundation makes new exhibits and educational programming possible. She notes that more than 40,000 visitors attended GloWILD last year. “It’s the most successful event in the history of the zoo.” Another accolade is the re-release breeding program with the eastern collared lizard. “We’re a leading family attraction where real conservation takes place every day.” She’s quick to add, the komodo dragon is noteworthy and aligns well with the Year of the Dragon. “Our very own mythical creature that highlights the wonderful world of reptiles.”

This year, the Little Rock Zoo embarks on the largest new construction project to date. “It will cost around $9 million. The 2022 Bond will cover $5 million, and the Arkansas Zoological Foundation has committed $1 million to the projects.” That leaves $3 million to complete the plan. Susan notes there are several generous patrons to lead the efforts. “It’s a bold and courageous time for the zoo; design elements include exciting new animal habitats that meet modern zoological design, improve animal well-being and the guest experience.” This kind of challenge, luck and success seems to pair well with the Year of the Dragon This new campaign will welcome the Little Rock Zoo into a new era and events, like Wild Wines, support the vision.

Presented by the Arkansas Zoological Foundation, Wild Wines features wonderful wines from O’ Looney’s Wine & Liquor + light bites from the tastiest Central Arkansas restaurants. This festive fare will be complemented by the wildest entertainment in town. Patrons are encouraged to mix and mingle with Little Rock Zoo Animal Ambassadors and docents who serve as hosts throughout the zoo. It’s a unique opportunity to experience the animals after hours and provides a journey where each one shares in the important story of wildlife conservation. For Susan, enthusiasm is an undeniable part of her devotion to the Little Rock Zoo. “Every time I step inside the gates, a sense of joy comes over me.” She takes in the grand façade and adds, “Even my worst day is an amazing day; not many people can say that about work.”

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