$50m donation set to transform Cincinnati Zoo

A $50 million donation is set to transform Cincinnati Zoo. Local philanthropists Harry and Linda Fath’s generosity has brought the zoo a third of the way to its $150 million goal for More Home to Roam campaign.

The largest donation in zoo history is set to ensure the future of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. The Faths have already helped the zoo complete its indoor gorilla facility and Africa habitat. Now they have donated a further $50 million. The zoo hopes to raise a total of $150 million by 2025 for its “More Home to Roam” capital campaign.

“The Zoo is one of the jewels of our city,” said Harry Fath. “So we decided the Cincinnati Zoo has to be one of our transformative gifts.”

Cincinnati Zoo Roo Valley

Zoo director Thane Maynard is understandably delighted. “The future of the Cincinnati Zoo is bigger and brighter than ever thanks to the generosity of Harry and Linda Fath who believe in our vision to build a better zoo,” he said. “Cincinnati Zoo plays a key role in our community and around the globe, and we are grateful that Harry and Linda recognize and support our efforts to make a difference and inspire visitors with wildlife. Their gift allows us to move forward with plans to improve and expand the zoo for future generations.”

The zoo aims to both maximize their visitor experience while providing improved care and well-being for the animals. Elephants, in particular, will benefit with a new habitat that will spread over nearly five times the footprint of the current yards.

“This fundraising campaign will transform what’s already one of our country’s top zoos and make the experience for visitors even better,” said United States Senator Rob Portman. “I’m excited about it. We are unmatched in Cincinnati as far as I’m concerned with our zoo. And, with the help of our community we will be sure to maintain that amazing legacy we have.”

New habitats and improved visitor experience

The work will be completed in various phases. New projects (with expected opening dates) include:

  • Roo Valley – 2020. The new Australian-themed will include Wildlife Canyon, a two-level activity course. A 15,000-square-foot kangaroo walkabout will let visitors see kangaroos and wallabies close up.
  • Penguins will gain a new home with underwater viewing. In addition there will be a new beer garden and a multi-tiered seating for food and drink.
  • Entry Village – 2020. 12 new ticket windows will streamline entry. There will be more family style restrooms and more storage space. A calming room will be built for guests with developmental disabilities.
  • Safe and Efficient Visitor Access – 2023. An 1,800-car parking garage will free up nearly five acres of green space for elephants.
  • Rhino Reserve – 2023. This will be redesigned to include multiple outdoor yards, expanded moats and visitor viewing decks.
  • Elephant Trek – 2025. The new enlarged habitat will include trees, grasses, pools, streams and mud wallows.

The greenest zoo in the country

The zoo also has impressive energy aims. It’s already the greenest zoo in the country and now seeks to be ‘net zero energy, water and waste’ by 2025. By capturing 100 percent of storm water, the zoo can reuse it, diverting water from the sewer system.

With improved organic waste management, the zoo is also set to become a net zero waste facility.