S.F. Zoo fundraiser offers sneak peak of new cineplex

Organizers hope to raise up to $25K at Westfield San Francisco Centre’s theater

Hours before the upscale Market Street shopping destination throws open its doors, an animal-themed evening is in store at the new Westfield San Francisco Centre’s movie theater.

Century Theatres is hosting a fundraiser for the San Francisco Zoo Wednesday night, complete with cocktails, food and the sounds of local DJ M3 spinning records. A silent auction promises everything from home stereo systems to digital cameras and leather goods, organizers said.

Nine new screens will show animal-related films, although the names of the movies have yet to be announced, said Karolina Kielbowicz, a spokeswoman for Century Theatres. One of the films will be a first-run feature-length film, Kielbowicz said.

Tickets, which can be purchased at www.sfzoo.org, are $30, with proceeds going to benefit the zoo and its animals, said Tjiska Van Wyk, the zoo’s director of development.

The zoo aims to raise about $25,000 with the reception, which is open to the first 600 people buying tickets, Van Wyk said. The number is limited to 600, which is the maximum seating capacity for the old-Hollywood style lobby.

The theater opens to the public with regular programming on Friday. On Thursday, movies filmed in San Francisco, such as Vertigo and Dirty Harry, will be shown all day. Admission for unlimited access is $5; proceeds will benefit the Hamilton Family Center, which aims to end homelessness for the families it serves.

Wednesday’s zoo benefit will help buy hundreds of bales of hay for the zoo’s rhinoceroses and hippos, fish to feed the polar bears and mealworms for the anteaters, Van Wyk said. Proceeds go to the San Francisco Zoological Society.

The San Francisco Zoo hosts up to 1 million visitors annually. The Sloat Boulevard location on 125 acres first opened in 1929. More than 250 species — mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and invertebrates — make their home at the zoo. Thirty-nine species at the zoo are classified as endangered or threatened by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

mcarroll@examiner.com

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