On the first really nice Sunday of the spring season, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo drew in 5,000 people. The Friends of the Zoo are looking to build on many successes with new animals and exhibits by drawing in more crowds as part of a 20 year master plan. Today they took a look back on the past year and what’s ahead. President and C.E.O. Janet Agostini says 362,000 visitors came in 2014.
“Last year, overall, was a very good year. We ended with a surplus; we’ve done that for each of the last ten years and then that allows us to reinvest back into the zoo. So, the financial picture is strong and we’re always seeking public support.”
…And that means raising about $13 million dollars for three on-site projects to enhance the experience for visitors and the animals. An African Savannah Exhibit and an Animal Healthcare Center that would take zoo visitors closer to animal care. Right now, there is a campaign to build a new elephant pool with a groundbreaking in September and would likely open in 2016.
“…and our goal is that would be fully funded by privately donated dollars. So, we’re well on our way to that and we envision that that will be a reality. That whole $900K will come from support that the friends raise.”
While we’ve seen many improvements at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo over the years, Director Ted Fox says he didn’t always have clear answers for the public.
“People ask, so what’s happening at the zoo? Ya know, a few years ago, it was difficult to say but, now there’s a really cohesive, really tangible plan for us to move forward and be proud about and be able to enthusiastically share with the community that these projects are gonna be awesome. Ya know, one step at a time, moving the zoo forward over the next 20 years it’s just going to be remarkable.”
To view what the zoo may resemble someday, click here. Part of the experience is learning about the animals and new zoo guides have been added to provide more bio-facts on weekends and that will be expanded to other days. The zoo also has a renovated gift shop.