Audubon Zoo’s Dinner and a ZOOvie series kicks off June 1

Audubon Zoo’s popular “Dinner and a ZOOvie” series returns with a lineup of six family-friendly films, beginning with the animated action comedy “Despicable Me 3’’ on Friday, June 1.

Gates for Friday’s movie open at 6 p.m., and the movie starts after 8 p.m.

The Friday evening screenings will continue with five more ZOOvies throughout the summer, concluding with the blockbuster “Black Panther’’ on August 3.

Photo courtesy: Audubon Nature Institute

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Audubon also offers an invitation for moviegoers to beat the heat before each film by visiting Cool Zoo/Gator Run, the wild and wet splash park, before the movie at 6 p.m.

“The Dinner and a ZOOvie series has become a beloved tradition for families who want to spend a summer evening under the stars and enjoy an entertaining film,’’ Ron Forman, Audubon Nature Institute president and CEO, said. “Guests can also cool off before the ZOOvie in our water park and grab a bite to eat,” Forman said.

Guests can bring their own dinner or dine at the Zoo where food trucks will be onsite and some Audubon concessions will be open.

Folding chairs and blankets are welcome. Suitcases, backpacks or coolers (with or without wheels) must be no larger than 28-quart size and limited to one per family. Audubon reserves the right to search coolers and backpacks. Glass containers, disposable straws and lids are not permitted for the safety of the animals. Animal exhibits will not be open.

Each night will also include games and activities with prizes. Also, guests can sample complimentary Swedish Fish candy – while supplies last. A DJ will provide music.

Guest can participate in an Instagram contest each night to win a VIP Movie Viewing package to include complimentary movie admission, access to a special seating area with chairs to take home. Other giveaways will be included.

The Dinner and ZOOvie series is a special admission event. Members must purchase tickets and there is no member discount. Complimentary guests passes are not valid.

Movie admission is $6 and an additional $6 for admission to Cool Zoo/Gator Run (children under two years of age receive complimentary admission to both).

ZOOvie tickets are available for purchase online, at the Zoo, at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and at Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium and will be on sale at the Zoo on the night of each showing. Buying tickets ahead of time is recommended to ensure speedier entry.

Online ticket sales will be available up to 5:15 p.m. on the day of each ZOOvie. After 6 p.m., tickets can be purchased at the Zoo. Anyone purchasing $12 Cool Zoo/movie combo tickets online or in person must pick up wristbands at the Zoo entrance.

2018 Dinner and a ZOOvie Schedule

June 1 – “Despicable Me” (2017)

June 22 – “Beauty and the Beast” – singalong version (2017)

June 29 – “Wonder Woman” (2017)

July 13 – “Coco” (2017)

July 27 – “Star Wars – The Last Jedi’’ (2017)

August 3 – “Black Panther’’ (2018)

For more information, visit Audubon Nature Institute’s website.