Capital Campaigns

Moving Como Forward

Private support is transforming Como for the 21st century


Jackie Sticha
phone: 651-487-8225

In 2000, Como Friends began a $32.45 million capital campaign to create the Visitor Center that united the historic Zoo and Conservatory with a shared entrance—and a shared mission—in 2005. The successful public-private partnership reached its goal in 2003, securing $24.54 million from the public sector and $7.91 million in private contributions. This community-wide initiative provided the funding to build a new wing to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, the immersive Tropical Encounters exhibit, and a new Animal Support Building, while renovating the WPA-era Zoological Building for administrative use.

In 2007, Como Friends launched an $18.8 million capital campaign to build Polar Bear Odyssey, a naturalistic new habitat for Como Zoo’s polar bears, and The Ordway Gardens, a new wing to showcase the Conservatory’s nationally-regarded Japanese horticultural collections. In spite of a challenging economic climate, the Campaign for Como achieved its goal in 2011, matching $10.35 million in public funding with $8.45 million in private contributions.

This year, Como Friends is starting a campaign for Como Zoo’s seals and sea lions.  Private donations will make possible a state-of-the-art Seals and Sea Lions Habitat and improve the visitor experience.  Every gift Matters!  The remaining $2.1 million is now being sought from the public.  Ground breaking is set for spring of 2018, and the goal is to have all funds raised by January 2019.  READ MORE!

Capital investments at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory have been shown to have important ripple effects throughout the state economy. A recent study conducted by Sapphire Consulting found that the $11 million in public funding invested in Gorilla Forest, the new primate habitat opened in 2013, contributed to more than $24 million in economic impact for the state of Minnesota, while also creating 202 jobs.

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