The downtown headquarters of Zappos.com is going to be a real zoo this weekend.
The online retailer will play host to as many as 70 exotic animals as part of a fundraising event for the Roos-N-More zoo in Moapa.
In an event billed as a “pop-up petting zoo,” ticket-buying customers will be able to watch — and in some cases interact with — animals in temporary enclosures throughout the Zappos campus.
Among the Roos-N-More residents expected to attend are camels, kangaroos, lemurs, monkeys, sloths and snakes.
The zoo, owned by husband-and-wife veterinarians Jay and Valerie Holt, is trying to raise roughly $250,000 to pay for new restrooms and other upgrades that will allow the 3-acre facility 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas to open its gates to the public a few times a month.
Steven Bautista of Zappos.com said the company will match the proceeds from the event up to $50,000, with an overall goal of raising at least $100,000.
In addition to the enclosures set up in most of the complex’s outdoor spaces, live animal shows will be held inside the old council chambers at what used to be Las Vegas City Hall before Zappos bought it and moved into the building at Las Vegas Boulevard and Stewart Avenue last year.
There also will be a raffle, carnival-style games, face-painting, balloon animals and a photo booth where you can get your picture taken with one of the Holts’ critters.
B autista said the cause is a natural fit for Zappos, which is already a big supporter of the valley’s largest animal shelter and its operator, the Animal Foundation .
He said the company easily could have just cut Roos-N-More a check, but this weekend’s event is about more than money. “I think it’s bigger than that. It’s about bringing the whole community together to help out.”
In case you were wondering, Bautista’s job title is “karma commando.” It’s on his business cards and everything.
“All the fun stuff like this I kind of get to oversee,” he explained.
Between 50 and 75 Zappos employees have volunteered to help out with the event, though Bautista said Roos-N-More — and Valerie Holt in particular — will be in charge of the care and handling of the animals.
“I don’t know how she’s going to do it. But she says she can, and I believe her,” Bautista said.
County code inspectors shut down the Roos-N-More zoo last month after about four years of operation. The Holts have since been allowed to reopen to small, private tours, but large public events will not be allowed until they install a commercial septic system and new bathrooms, among other regulatory requirements.
None of the code violations involved the care or condition of the zoo’s roughly 385 animals.
Jay Holt said it is expected to cost between $220,000 and $250,000 to make all the improvements needed to allow the facility to accommodate up to 200 visitors at a time.
The upgrades won’t be finished until early June at the earliest, he said.
IF YOU GO:
The Roos-N-More zoo at Zappos.com will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the company’s downtown headquarters at Las Vegas Boulevard and Stewart Avenue.
General admission is $12 for adults and $7 for children age 12 and under. Kids 2 and under get in for free.
Special interactive tickets ($35 for adults and $25 for children age 12 to 2) will get you inside some of the enclosures so you can hold a baby kangaroo, pet an otter, get climbed on by a monkey or walk beside a camel.
Proceeds from the event will go fund upgrades that will enable the Roos-N-More zoo in Moapa to reopen to the general public.
Contact reporter Henry Brean at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0350. Follow him on Twitter at @RefriedBrean.