News Release

Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,

April 17, 2020                       


Chicago Zoological Society’s Whirl Fundraiser Goes Virtual

Brookfield, Ill. – During this social-distancing and stay-at-home time of uncertainty, the Chicago Zoological Society’s largest annual fundraising gala, the Whirl, is going virtual. The public can “attend” from the comfort of their own homes—no need to worry about a tux or gown!

This year’s event, Rain Forests of the Virtu-Whirl, which is presented by the Society’s Women’s Board and Board of Trustees, will consist of an online auction. Beginning Thursday, April 23, at 5:00 p.m. and continuing through Saturday, April 25, at 9:00 p.m., the public can bid on a variety of fabulous auction items or even contribute with a monetary donation as in a paddle raise.

Auction items include the opportunity to name and meet a 3-month-old two-toed sloth, a Brookfield Zoo Family Unlimited Membership, a St. John wool shawl, a Tory Burch mini bucket bag, a Hermes scarf, six VIP tickets to Brookfield Zoo’s Wines in the Wild, tickets to the Jimmy Buffet and James Taylor concerts, a Versace bag, tickets to a Chicago Blackhawks game with gift certificate to Rosebud Restaurant, tickets to Disney on Ice, Pampered Chef soup and smoothie blender set and quick cooker and accessory set, a BLISS spa basket, dinner for 10 at Francesca’s Restaurant Group, gift cards to a variety of suburban and Chicago restaurants, and much more!.

During the bidding, participants will be able to see who has the most recent bid. They will also be able to set an auto-bid amount/maximum bid amount. Users will be notified via text if they have been outbid on an item. Immediately following the auction, all winners will be notified by text or email.  A staff member of the Society’s Development Department will then follow up with each winner regarding claiming items.

Proceeds from Rain Forests of the Virtu-Whirl support the care and welfare of the animals at Brookfield Zoo, as well as the Society’s conservation, education, and research programs.

Registration, which is required to participate in the Virtu-Whirl auction, begins on Wednesday, April 22. To register and for further information, visit

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About the Chicago Zoological Society

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. The zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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