Funding For Special Projects
Your support for Como Friends helps special projects and improvements grow at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
Since 2000, Como Friends has been the behind-the-scenes fundraising force at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, transforming Minnesota’s most visited cultural destination to meet the needs of our 21st century visitors. From raising the roof on the Visitor Center that first united the historic Zoo and Conservatory, to improving animal care in progressive new habitats like Polar Bear Odyssey, Como Friends has raised more than $37.6 million in private support to preserve Como while protecting the “open door” policy that provides free admission to millions of Minnesotans every year.
Here’s a look at some of the recent special projects your support has made possible:
- Bringing Back the Butterflies: More than 93,000 visitors immersed themselves in Blooming Butterflies in summer 2016, learning all about the intersection between pollinators, plants and people. This popular interpretive garden will burst to life again in summer 2017, with funding from Como Friends.
- Second Grade Field Trips: Thanks to you, every second grade classroom in the city of St. Paul is invited to take part in a free Como field trip—with round-trip transportation and conservation class included. Your support makes it possible to keep the Como field trip a Minnesota tradition shared across the generations.
- Conservation Champions: Como Zoo keepers take part in conservation efforts in the field and come home with important conservation lesson for our 2 million annual visitors. From preserving the genetic health of endangered orangutans in southeast Asia, to protecting Black-footed penguins in South Africa, to tracking the survival of reticulated giraffes in Namibia, your support in 2017 allows Como to share its resources and expertise behind-the-scenes conservation efforts around the globe.
- Large Cat Habitat: Starting in fall 2017, Como Zoo will begin construction on an exciting new “facelift” for Como’s tigers, lions, cougars and snow leopards, that will also create more close-up views for visitors. Tree trunk seating for small groups, climbing structures, and even a “Safari Jeep” for young visitors are just some of the interactive features made possible by your contributions to Como Friends.
- Face to Fur Encounters: With a more naturalistic interior habitat, and an exciting new public feeding station for giraffes that opened in summer 2016, Como Friends supporting the “face-to-fur” encounters that help inspire life-long conservation in Como Zoo’s newly remodeled African Hoofstock building.
- Japanese Garden Restoration: Como’s Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden is a recognized “rising star” in the Japanese garden world thanks to a major restoration made possible by private contributions to Como Friends. The restoration effort is earning rave reviews from Como visitors and Japanese garden experts—improvements that wouldn’t be possible without private investment.
- Centennial Celebrations in 2015: Thanks to contributions to Como Friends, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory looked better than ever on her 100th birthday with new landscaping, historic recreations of turn-of-the-century horticultural attractions, and a beautiful new Centennial Garden just outside the Visitor Center.