San Antonio Zoo Receives Record-Breaking $10 Million Donation

Nov 10, 2023 | Zoo Highlights & News

The San Antonio Zoo, a beloved destination for families and wildlife enthusiasts, is celebrating a monumental milestone in its 109-year history. The zoo has received an extraordinary gift of $10 million from The Ralston Family Charitable Foundation. This historic donation is part of the zoo’s Generation Zoo campaign and represents the largest single contribution ever received by the zoo.

The generous funding from The Ralston Family Charitable Foundation will kickstart Phase 1 of the Generation Zoo capital campaign. In recognition of this significant donation, the zoo’s new event center will be proudly named “The Ralston.” This state-of-the-art facility is set to become a hub of celebration and learning, hosting a variety of events including galas, fundraisers, weddings, and other special occasions.

Perched atop the iconic quarried cliff walls of the zoo, The Ralston will offer a unique and breathtaking view. Guests will be able to enjoy the sights of the gorillas in Congo Falls, the majestic lions in Big Cat Valley, and the expansive African Savanna, all set against the backdrop of San Antonio’s stunning skyline. This expansion marks the first time the zoo has extended beyond its traditional boundaries, allowing for an indoor capacity of 500 people and an additional covered patio space to accommodate over 600 guests.

The Ralston Family Charitable Foundation’s dedication to animal conservation shines through this contribution. The foundation’s support is not just a testament to their commitment to wildlife but also a significant boost to the zoo’s fundraising efforts. These funds are essential for the zoo’s mission of wildlife conservation, education, and world-class animal care.

Shannon Ralston of The Ralston Family Charitable Foundation expressed her family’s passion for wildlife conservation and their hopes that The Ralston will inspire others to support the San Antonio Zoo’s global conservation efforts and educational initiatives.

The completion of Phase 1 of the zoo’s master plan, which is estimated at $67 million, is on the horizon. The new zoo entrance is scheduled to open this December, with the gorilla habitat (Congo Falls) and The Ralston event center set for early 2025. This phase is primarily funded through donations, zoo funds, voter-approved bond funds, and Midtown TIRZ funds.

Tim Morrow, President & CEO of San Antonio Zoo, expressed deep gratitude for the Ralston Family Charitable Foundation’s support. He highlighted the significant impact of their contribution on the zoo’s future and its role in global conservation efforts.

With the Ralston Family Charitable Foundation’s gift, the zoo is now closer to achieving its fundraising goal for Generation Zoo Phase 1, which currently stands at over 80%. The San Antonio Zoo invites community members and wildlife supporters to join in this transformative project by reaching out to their Development department.

This exciting development heralds a new era for the San Antonio Zoo, promising enriching experiences for visitors and an enhanced commitment to the care and conservation of wildlife.

Check out more info on the San Antonio Zoo here.

Zoos.com