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Otter Ball

Saturday May 20, 2023

Time: 6pm-10pm

The Museum will be closing at 2pm on Saturday, May 20, 2023 in preparation for Otter Ball.

Celebrate the Virginia Living Museum’s conservation mission with an entertaining evening filled with a fabulous farm-to-table menu, elaborate fanfare, and an outstanding live auction!

Each year, the Gala compliments the Virginia Living Museum’s mission by featuring an artfully prepared menu with local and sustainable resources by the talented Taste Catering & Events.

Following the exquisite dinner is a thrilling live auction and paddle raise led by local auctioneer Justin Swisher of Swisher Auctions, not to mention amazing and inspiring aerial feats performed by an enchanting otter!

Semi formal attire. Tickets on sale March 2023.

Unable to attend on May 20th ? Consider joining the Otter Ball Community Challenge from April 19th through May 19th. Become an ambassador for the Museum to raise funds for conservation, animal welfare, and biodiversity in your community!

There are three ways to be an ambassador:

  1. Form a Team – a group of individuals raising funds together (an office, a family, etc.).
  2. Join an Established Team
  3. Join as an Individual – you, an individual, raising funds from your peer group
Join the community Challenge

Become a sponsor. The Otter Ball Conservation Gala Fundraiser is the leading contributor to the museum’s conservation mission. The Otter Ball will help support science education and animal care needs of the museum.

Presenting Sponsor:

View 2022 Otter Ball photos on Facebook.

Live Auction Items

Animal Annual Support
  • Meet one of the more secretive and fascinating mammals found in Virginia! Bobcats are highly adaptable members of the North American cat family. The only wild feline still found in the state, they are common in the Dismal Swamp and the mountains of Virginia and are rarely seen. Our young bobcat has an extraordinary story of survival. Sarge, who was named by Museum guests, survived a car strike as a kitten. Despite undergoing a lifesaving surgery to amputate his front right leg, he is an active and curious young cat that can’t be slowed down!
  • Help us pay for his meals, enrichment, and care! Come meet him at your personal ‘Behind the Scenes’ event for a group of 6 with the Bird and Mammal Curator. Learn more about this incredible animal and how the Museum cares for them. You will be listed as the 2022 Bobcat Annual Support Sponsor.
    • Suggested Retail Value: $2,200
    • Opening Bid: $1,000
  • Meet the most endangered mammal in North America, the red wolf. The red wolves currently living at the Museum are part of a Federal Species Survival Program. Historically, red wolves were seen all over the southeastern United States. However, today there are only approximately 15-20 that live in one managed wildlife area in North Carolina. The Virginia Living Museum is one of 44 approved facilities to care for this species.
  • Please support enrichment and medical care for this critically endangered animal at the VLM today! Enjoy a personal ‘Meet the Keeper’ tour (group of 6) to learn about the Red Wolf’s habitat, care, nutrition, and status in the wild. Learn how our keepers prepare their daily diet, and enjoy a special enrichment activity. You will be listed as the 2022 Red Wolf Annual Support Sponsor on the boardwalk exhibit!
    • Suggested Retail Value: $2,500
    • Opening Bid: $1,200
  • Your generous gift will support the care, feeding, and training of our Museum male North American river otter mascot, Moe! He was rescued as a pup when discovered as an illegal house pet. Moe is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) North American river otter Species Survival Plan. We are proud to care for Moe as he helps educate the Museum’s guests year round!
  • Come meet Moe (and Molly) at your private feeding and animal care talk (group of 6) with our Bird & Mammal Curator. Learn about their unique adaptations for surviving in cold climates and toss them their favorite fish treats! Your name will be listed as Moe’s 2022 Annual Support Sponsor.
    • Annual Care: $2000
    • Opening Bid: $1000
  • Your gift will support the care, feeding, and training of our Museum female North American river otter, Molly. Molly came to the Museum from California as recommended as a breeding companion for Moe by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ North American river otter Species Survival Plan. The two represent valuable members of their species, educating the Museum’s guests with humor and jovial antics!
  • Come meet this lovely lady at your private feeding and animal care talk (group of 6) with our Bird & Mammal Curator. Learn about their unique adaptations for surviving in cold climates and toss them their favorite fish treats! Your name will be listed as Molly’s 2022 Annual Support Sponsor on the outdoor exhibit.
    • Annual Care: $2000
    • Opening Bid: $1000
  • The Museum’s Lined Seahorse breeding program promotes the conservation of this important aquatic species by providing an alternative source to the wild captured seahorse trade. Advancements in husbandry techniques allowed us to acquire captive-bred animals as opposed to wild-caught via a trade with other AZA institutions. The Museum participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP), raising our own seahorse populations for exhibit and trading with other facilities participating in the same plan to promote genetic diversity and to avoid others having to collect from the wild.
  • Come see the tiny fully-formed seahorse babies in the nursery. If you’re lucky, you may see a male seahorse give birth – a sight to behold. Help pay for the care and maintenance of our seahorse species survival program.
    • Annual Care: $2000
    • Opening Bid: $1000
VLM Experiences
  • Get lost under the stars at your private party on the VLM Observatory Deck. Over the course of two hours, your group of 10 will enjoy heavenly inspired desserts and refreshing cocktails as you lose your earthly boundaries discovering unique images in the night sky, seasonal constellations, and visible planets.
  • This unique evening of stargazing, led by Museum Astronomy Curator, Dr. Kelly Herbst, also includes discussions about celestial happenings occurring around the time of your visit and a starry program in the full dome Abbitt Planetarium.
    • Suggested Retail Value: $1,000
    • Opening Bid: $750
  • Today few groups have access to Fountain Cave–a handful of museums, universities, and professional spelunkers. The Virginia Living Museum is one such group and you have the chance to experience this elusive and beautiful cave!
  • You and your 5 guests will traverse the rocky trail through Fountain Cave in Grottoes, Virginia for 2 hours of cave exploration (9 hours with travel). Using only headlights to guide your way, this adventure will take you through the twilight, middle and dark zones of a geologically old cave. Learn about cave formations, the ecological importance of caves, and maybe encounter a cave animal or two. Note: This is a strenuous trip. Participants must be 13 years or older at the time of the trip and be able to walk easily without assistance on the uneven ground including some steep slopes.
    • Package Value: $1,000
    • Opening Bid: $600
  • More info coming soon!

Live Auctioneer:

Justin Swisher, Swisher Auctions


To Be Announced

Special thanks to our sponsors:



Catering by: