DMC's holiday parties have taken us everywhere from the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center to a former prison. This year, the Chicago office decided to go wild at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
After an onsite smell-test, we selected the zoo's Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House. The 32,000-square-foot building holds around 200 small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and birds.
Cocktails in the Ecosystem
The Regenstein offered the benefit of enjoying two different environments. The Ecosystem is a lush oasis filled with plants and animals you might expect find in the rainforest, representing climates and animals from South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
In the Ecosystem, we enjoyed hors d'oeuvres like Medjool dates stuffed with local goat cheese and wrapped in crispy Applewood bacon. I ordered an Old Fashioned and spied on the local inhabitants.
Some critters were just drifting off to sleep, while the nocturnal animals were beginning to wake up. We watched as the Dwarf Mongooses wrestled and scampered around their enclosure. In nearby underground nests, naked mole rats piled on top of each other for a long snuggle. A Sand Cat (in true cat form) alternately stalked around and dozed, paying very little attention to its admirers on the other side of the glass.
Dinner & Mingling in the Gallery
The Gallery features individual exhibits of species like sand cats, frogs, and mongooses behind glass. It was a welcome respite from the Chicago January weather raging outside!
For dinner, we sat down to plates full of turkey breast, pork loin, and roasted vegetables. I saw more than one guest return to the mashed potato bar to top a second helping with Applewood smoked bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and scallions.
DMC events are an ideal chance to say hello to everyone's partners, friends, spouses, as well as the new employees, and even current employees that I don't get to see on a regular basis (a.k.a. the ones who logged all of those trips to China last year). Four of our new hires joined us as well, and it was great to be able to include them in the festivities and put names and faces together before their official start dates.
Our emcee for the evening, Patrick Corcoran, stepped in to talk about the year. He introduced the management team and our President, Frank, who all gave inspired speeches recapping the projects we’ve worked on in the last year and congratulating everyone on our continued growth.
If you look closely, you can see a Monitor Lizard clapping for Patrick in one of tanks.
As our evening at the zoo came to a close, everyone descended on a dessert table covered in cupcakes, then gathered around to take our group photo.
With the otters asleep and the buffet cleared, we made plans to head to Hotel Lincoln's rooftop bar J.Parker for an afterparty. The afterparty turned into an after-afterparty, and possibly an after-after-afterparty. While we've all since recovered, it was a fun night to celebrate our camaraderie at DMC.
With all that said, 2015 was a great year for us, and this year's Holiday Party at the Lincoln Park Zoo was an excellent way to top it off.
Cheers to 2016!