Malibu Seen / By Kim Devore

THE ELEPHANT WALK

Legendary “Hot in Cleveland” star Betty White is gearing up for another roaring good time at her favorite event of the year. Ms. Betty, along with Richard Lichtenstein, will co-chair the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s beloved Beastly Ball.

Ever since the Summer of Love, GLAZA has been throwing a high-flying, tree-swinging, all-about-animals, A-list affair.

Sharing her passion when it comes to creatures big and small, Betty and her band of furry friends have helped make the Beastly Ball one of the city’s most unique and popular events. It’s a one-of-a kind adventure designed for kids of all ages. Hundreds of animal lovers clad in their safari best will make their way to the zoo’s upper grounds ferried aboard special outdoor trams.

Admiring the lush, tropical foliage, the blooming Jacaranda trees and listening to a symphony of animal sounds, they get a sneak peak at what the L.A. institution looks like after dark. It’s a perfect time to spy on the zoo’s full time residents during their feeding time. From elegant giraffes to cuddly koala bears and scary looking komodo dragons, this isn’t your usual black tie crowd.

In addition to lions and tigers and bears, visitors can get up close and personal with the new inhabitants who make up the Living Amphibians, Invertebrates and Reptiles area better known as LAIR. Think iguanas, crocs, a slew of snakes and all kinds of other slithery critters.

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In addition to just plain fun, this outdoor experience is an educational affair as well. There are plenty of specially trained zookeepers on hand who can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about a baby hippo or a mischievous monkey. Hippos, for example, love to snack on a whole head of lettuce; the dragons, with their preference for rodents, could definitely work for Western Exterminator and the koalas happily munch away on tasty eucalyptus leaves.

But chow time isn’t just for the animals. Zoo guests are always well-fed too, moving station to station sampling everything from first-class sushi to sweet corn tamales, French and Italian cuisine, and even a fully loaded Pink’s chili-cheese dog, if they are so inclined.

There’s also a mind-boggling array of live and silent auction items including signed guitars, safari gear and great getaways.

The festivities take place on June 16, and this year’s honoree is former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan.

From the world music to the international treats to meeting your favorite animal, it’s a walk on the wild side that never disappoints. The most amazing creature of all may be spunky Ms. White. Even in her ninth decade, she works tirelessly year after year. At her age one wonders how she does it. “At 90, I am as horny as ever,” she quips. We know she loves African wildlife and preservation, but in this case, we don’t think she’s talking about rhinos.

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