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Monkey Business: 2017 Gala

  • A walkway with animal prints and large photographs at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Monkey Business Gala
  • Two women talking to an interpreter holding a large snake at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Monkey Business Gala
  • Harrison Ford and Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton
  • A band plays on a colorfully lit stage at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Monkey Business Gala
  • A couple takes a selfie with a penguin at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Monkey Business Gala
  • A table with linens, glasses and flowers at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Monkey Business Gala
  • Two men and a woman pose for a photo at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Monkey Business Gala
  • A group of guests with a band playing on stage in the background at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Monkey Business Gala

On Sept. 28, 450 party animals gathered at the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum's Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard for some Monkey Business—the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s first-ever gala.

Gala guests—who were encouraged to forego "monkey suits" and wear animal-themed attire—stepped out of D.C. and into the tropical rainforest of Borneo, where they mingled with live animals, danced to music by Rhythm Collective and enjoyed food from around the world highlighting the Zoo's global efforts to save species.

The evening also honored Harrison Ford and Betty White with the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal for their many years of work on behalf of animals, wildlife and the environment.

The gala's theme and atmosphere were meant to be fun and engaging, but the work the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute does every day to save species is critically important. The gala raised almost $1 million in unrestricted funds, and proceeds from the event will support global conservation projects and enable the Zoo to build new animal habitats, expand its education programs, conduct and share vital conservation research, and train the next generation of environmental leaders.

Thank you to all who attended and supported the gala!