ROANOKE, Va. -

The Mill Mountain Zoo was the place to be Friday night. WDBJ7 was one of the sponsors of the fundraiser that aims to keep the zoo running and affordable.

The Zoo Do event is one of four seasonal fundraisers the Mill Mountain Zoo puts on every year. It's the biggest of the summer and everyone involved is behind a night time cocktail party that brings the community and nature together to raise much needed money.

"To keep the toilets flushing and the bills paid is what we do these events for. So, these are operational event fund raisers," said Mill Mountain Zoo Marketing Coordinator, Sara Brooks.

It takes a lot to keep Mill Mountain Zoo, which sits atop Mill Mountain and boasts views only seen in books, running. Here, a sleepy red panda takes a nap and reminds these guests about things often forgotten about.

"The animals are important to our society, the whole ecology and environmental issues involved, volunteer Patty Powell told Your Hometown News Leader.

Still, many zoos across the nation struggle to keep their doors open and costs down. Events like Zoo Do help this one remain a well known landmark accessible to all.

"We really, really feel it's important to keep our admission prices at a level that keeps us available to the community," Brooks said.

Cocktails, music and food at the zoo makes for a unique evening but those attending know the real reason behind all the fun.

"This is just like a wonderful microcosm of animals from all over and it is important because where else can you get that experience?" event guest, Judy Gearing told WDBJ7.

Those here work hard to keep that experience and the programs unique to the zoo alive.

"It's really educational. They do a lot with the international zoo program, they do breeding of the animals, it's a wonderful place," Powell said.