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Want to drink with some real party animals?

The Palm Beach Zoo will welcome party-seekers Saturday night for its first-ever beer festival. But unlike a similar event of the same name held at Zoo Miami, Brew at the Zoo will allow drinkers to mingle with critters from 6 to 9 p.m.

"Most of our animals are active at night," marketing associate Andrea Garver says. "People will get to experience the zoo with the animals that aren't necessarily going to bed."

Panthers, bears, jaguars and flamingos are some of the species whose exhibits will be open during the festival. A keeper will parade Wilbur the sloth around zoo grounds, and another will guide New Guinea singing dogs Mick and Sydney through the throng.

Touching the creatures is prohibited, as is bringing children to this 21-and-older event. But photos are encouraged.

The beer list touts locals such as Due South, Tequesta Brewing Company and Holy Mackerel, but there will be more than 50 styles counting imports and other domestic brews. VIP tickets, which include complimentary grub, are sold out, but event manager Ron Brooks says all vendors will have at least one item priced at $5 or less.

General admission tickets cost $35 at Tickets will not be sold at the door, and online sales will cease midafternoon Saturday. The zoo is located at 1301 Summit Blvd., in West Palm Beach. Call 561-547-9453.

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