With our future in mind, an ambitious strategic plan has been developed to help the National Zoo become the world's finest zoo by 2016. When visitors enter the Zoo’s urban oasis, they will be even more inspired by state-of-the-art, innovative exhibits that reflect a deep commitment to animal care, science, education, and sustainability. These exhibits will connect visitors to our animals and immerse them in real-life stories of wildlife conservation, many of them drawn from the work of Smithsonian scientists. Our outstanding education and outreach programs will inspire the public to learn and care more about the magnificent animals and habitats with which we share our planet, and about the Zoo’s conservation and scientific initiatives.

One of the Zoo's efforts to conserve wildlife is Elephant Trails: A Campaign to Save Asian Elephants. Elephant Trails is a comprehensive breeding, education, and scientific research program to save these magnificent animals and ensure the future of the species. When it is finished, an innovative and stimulating new home where elephants thrive will let visitors experience the extraordinary reality of a living elephant. Support Elephant Trails.

Individuals & Families

An easy way to contribute directly to ongoing Zoo renewal, conservation, and education programs is to make a donation. Donating is a rewarding way to support Zoo animals and programs for individuals, but also for groups: through an employer’s workplace giving campaign, a planned gift, or a corporate matching gift.

Overnight campers engrossed in hands-on science during a biodiversity study at a Virginia stream. The opportunity to attend summer camps is one of the many benefits of FONZ membership.

Of course, Friends of the National Zoo members are the foundation of our support base.

Membership funds have helped to improve animal habitats, create new educational exhibits, and sustain the Zoo's wildlife conservation programs. If you’re not already a member, join FONZ today! You’ll also receive a wide array of exclusive benefits, from free parking to discounts on popular special events like Guppy Gala and Boo at the Zoo.


A corporate celebration under the stars at the Zoo—a chance to party among some wild friends and offer your guests an event to remember!

Corporations are invited to support the Zoo and get involved in many different ways. A newly introduced corporate membership program offers your employees the benefits of membership along with prominent recognition for your company. Or, you may choose to sponsor one of six major events at the National Zoo, and receive benefits ranging from on-site product sampling to logo inclusion on in-zoo banners, invitations, and print advertising. Another way to support the Zoo is to hold a private reception at one of our many magnificent animal exhibit areas, where we can arrange special animal visits, keeper talks, and everything you need, from catering to seating, to “wow” your guests and make your function the most talked about wild party in town.

Animal-Centered Programs

Kandula, the Zoo’s rambunctious Asian elephant calf, was the successful outcome of a difficult artificial insemination. The Adopt a Species program helped to underwrite the cost of this complex procedure.

Special fundraising initiatives that contribute to animal care, habitat improvement, and research programs at the Zoo also provide a way to recognize a special occasion or send a unique gift to a loved one. The Adopt a Species program provides food, medical care, and equipment for all of the Zoo’s animals, through donations for an animal species from our “Adopt” list. Benefits range from a photo and fact sheet on your adopted species to a private visit with your adopted animal. Kids' Adopt also makes a fabulous gift, teaching children about the importance of conserving both animals and the wild places in which they live.

You Make a Difference

Friends of the National Zoo supports science and conservation at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. As a result of this joint effort, species like the North American black-footed ferret have been saved from the brink of extinction and are being restored to the wild.

Your contributions—large or small—go a long way in helping the Zoo achieve its mission to provide leadership in animal care, science, education, and sustainability. Whether you join FONZ, donate stock, ask your employer for a matching gift, or volunteer your time to enhance the experience of other visitors, we are truly grateful for your help.

Together, we will ensure that the National Zoo will continue to lead the way in wildlife conservation, animal care, and research.

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