The Best Of : Best opportunity to meet a celebrity

The word “celebrity” seems to have fallen on hard times recently. Before the Britneys and the Paris Hiltons came around, who rely on notoriety to maintain their fame, there was a time when “celebrity” referred to people who were luminaries in their field.

In this century, the term tended to fall on entertainers more often than those people of other professions, but this man seems to fit into both categories. Jack Hanna, the famed animal trainer, naturalist and conservationist, will be paying at visit to the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Preserve on Nov. 11 for a fundraising gala.

If his name doesn’t ring a bell, it might be because Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin out-showboated him, but Hanna has been the most recognized face in animal entertainment for many years. He’s been on too many television shows to list them all in this tiny space, but most people will remember that he has regularly visited The Late Show with David Letterman for over 20 years. He has also hosted the nationally syndicated television show Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures for almost 15 years.

Hanna is not merely a television personality, however. As the executive director of the Columbus Zoo in Ohio in the late 1970s, he turned the place around and made it into a state of the art park. In 1992, he became director emeritus of the Zoo to accommodate his media appearances and still holds that position today.

People who are willing to pay the steep ticket price will listen to Hanna talk about his travels, conservation efforts and experiences in the world of zoos and animal entertainment. The admission charge will support the reserve’s research, stewardship and education efforts, so it’s not like your money won’t be well spent.

I’d snap up tickets now, though. It sounds like the reserve’s winter schedule is about to start and that means there are plenty of people to take up space in all of their programs.

Visit or call 417-6310 ext. 409 for more information.

© 2007 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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