Special Events

Delegates of the 44th Annual National AAZK Conference are invited to join in a number of special events throughout the conference. Learn more about all the fun as you make your plans!

Icebreaker (Sunday): Kick off the conference with the Icebreaker event at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD! Guests will have access to various exhibit areas such as the touch pools within the Living Seashore, Jelly Invasion, Australia: Wild Extremes, the Amazon, and much more! There will also be several meet and greet sessions with ambassador animals throughout the night, including a few possible painting demonstrations. Tasty appetizers and desserts, along with a bar, will be available throughout the night!

Keynote Speaker (Monday): We are excited to announce our Keynote Speaker, Dr. Steve Monfort, Director of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Deputy Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Dr. Monfort’s speech “Zoo Optimism: The role for zoos in conserving species” will begin at 8:30am.

Town Hall (Monday): AAZK CEO Ed Hansen and the AAZK Board take your questions! Listen to reports on the state of the association, updates on programs and get your questions answered by Ed and the Board.

Zoo Day (Wednesday): Enjoy a full day at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park! The 126 year old zoo opens at 8:00a.m. and closes at 7:00p.m., which is plenty of time for you to explore our animal exhibits, enjoy behind-the-scenes tours, and view our daily public demonstrations.

Silent Auction (Wednesday): Don’t miss your chance to win big at the 2017 Silent Auction. Our list of incredible, unique items is growing every day, but don’t forget to bring items from your organization to the conference. We will be accepting auction donations during registration. A big thank you to the individuals, shops, and companies that have already donated unique items for the auction.

Interested in donating to the silent auction? Please email Ashley at GrahamAs@si.edu

Final Banquet (Thursday): Join us in the hotel banquet room one last time as we thank our hosts and sponsors and celebrate a week of professional development, networking, and fun! Dinner will be provided, followed by a zookeeper dance party!