News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
April 16, 2021                               
Note to editor: An image of the Whirl logo is at the end of this release.

Chicago Zoological Society’s Whirl Fundraiser is Virtual in 2021

Brookfield, Ill. — This year, the Chicago Zoological Society is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Whirl, its largest fundraiser. The event, co-hosted by the Society’s Board of Trustees and Women’s Board, will be held virtually on Saturday, May 1, at 7:00 p.m. So, no need to worry about a tux or gown, guests can attend from the comfort of their own homes, while still supporting the animals at Brookfield Zoo, as well as the Society’s conservation, education, and research programs.

Prior to the official kickoff, participants can tune in a little earlier at 6:00 p.m. for a special VIP animal experience featuring critters that have been featured in the zoo’s popular “Bringing the Zoo to You” chats. Additionally, during a transition between the animal experience and start of the event, images will be displayed acknowledging Virtu-Whirl sponsors and highlighting previous Whirl attendees as w4ell as a sampling of Whirl invitation designs from the past 40 years.

The evening’s Virtu-Whirl also will feature special programming highlighting the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chicago Zoological Society, the nonprofit organization that manages Brookfield Zoo.  A memorable video featuring historic moments will showcase this notable milestone.

During the event, attendees will be able to start bidding on dozens of amazing silent auction items featuring a stunning piece of jewelry courtesy of A. Marek Fine Jewelry; a Kate Spade loden green exotic tote; sports memorabilia, including a signed football by Green Bay Packers legendary quarterback Bart Starr; an exquisite elephant brooch; an array of gift basket packages from local venues; and animal-themed opportunities from Brookfield Zoo such as VIP tours and naming one of the zoo’s animals.

Bidding for silent auction items begins April 26, at 5:00 p.m. CT with bidding closing at 9:00 p.m.
CT on May 1. A live auction for several select items will be hosted during Virtu-Whirl starting at 7:00 p.m. There will also be an opportunity to contribute with a monetary donation as in a paddle raise.

Those participating in the silent auction will be able to see what the current bid is for each item, and set an auto-bid amount/maximum bid amount. Bidders 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.

Registration for Virtu-Whirl, which begins on April 16, is required to participate in the silent auction as well as to attend virtually on the evening of May 1. To register and for further information, visit Those unable to attend the Virtu-Whirl, can still donate at

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 Image of Whirl logo

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, and 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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