New Exhibits and Donations
In honor of our 65th anniversary, Mill Mountain Zoo is excited to announce plans for new exhibits focused on animals native to the Blue Ridge Mountains, including Bald eagle, Black bear and Raccoon exhibits. In addition, a new children’s play area that mimics a more natural environment is also planned. These new exhibits will help educate and excite visitors about the majestic animals living in our region. In fact, many lifelong residents have never seen these animals in the wild; having them as part of our collection will provide an excellent opportunity to become familiar with our native wildlife.
The Zoo receives only about 6% of its overall funding from local governments; the balance of its annual budget is comprised of admissions, gift shop sales, grants funds, and gifts from private donors. These new exhibits will help increase Zoo attendance, which will lead to stronger financial stability. We encourage people to follow our progress on our website and Facebook page as we will be updating these sites with our progress.
The staff and Board of Directors of Mill Mountain Zoo are pleased to announce two significant gifts toward these endeavors. Ed and Barbara Kitas, long-time supporters of the Zoo, recently donated $25,000 to the Zoo. Mr. Kitas is a retired executive from GE, which is generously matching a portion of the Kitas’ gift. Another community philanthropist has generously donated $50,000. Both gifts are unrestricted gifts and will be used for operations and toward the development of some of these projects. The Board is continuing to meet with other prospective donors, stakeholders and community leaders in an effort to raise funds necessary for the construction of these new exhibits.
The Board and staff have a number of events planned for 2017 to commemorate the Zoo’s 65th anniversary and to raise the Zoo’s profile in the local and tourist community. Among the planned events is a Free Day on Saturday, March 25th when the Zoo will open its doors for all in the community to visit. The Zoo will offer family memberships for $65 during the months of March and April. Finally, the Zoo will host its annual Zoo-Do event during the late summer of 2017, with a focus on celebrating our 65th anniversary.