Elmwood Park Zoo receives $30 million donation for animal hospital

NORRISTOWN – Elmwood Park Zoo is pleased to announce that a donor has made an historic $30 million donation to fund the construction of a new animal hospital and visitor centre. The donation both honors the zoo’s 100th anniversary in 2024 and supports the zoo’s ambitious $150 million master plan, which includes a series of projects that will renovate and expand the zoo over several years.

At more than 17,000 square feet, the Elmwood Park Zoo Animal Hospital will be one of the largest and most advanced exotic animal care facilities in the country. Its multiple examination rooms, treatment centers, quarantine facilities, recovery rooms and operating theaters will be equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. Giant picture windows will offer customers an insider’s look at the daily activities of the hospital. Everything from selected medical procedures to dietary preparations will be on display to the public, further emphasizing the high level of care the animals at the zoo receive.

In addition to the hospital, the building will house the zoo’s visitor center, complete with ticket offices, educational exhibits and a gift shop. Guest amenities that emphasize accessibility and inclusivity will provide visitors with a comfortable and inviting environment. An additional floor inside the building will add more than a dozen administrative offices and meeting spaces.

Guest amenities that emphasize accessibility and inclusivity will provide visitors with a comfortable and inviting environment. (Photo submitted)

The anonymous donor, a local entrepreneur with close ties to Norristown, wanted his contribution to be the lead donation for the zoo’s master plan, saying: ‘This was done as an effort for other philanthropists in Montgomery County to follow [my] lead and get involved.

“It is beyond humbling to receive such a transformative and generous gift,” said Al Zone, Executive Director and CEO of Elmwood Park Zoo. “This donation comes at a crucial time for the zoo. On the eve of our 100th anniversary, this donation allows us to extend our exceptional veterinary care to a growing number of species, and it provides us with a means to build an entrance that can accommodate the large number of guests who visit us every year. It is the most important element of a plan from which all our other plans will be made possible.

Preliminary designs for the animal hospital and visitor center can be viewed on the zoo’s website at www.elmwoodparkzoo.org/master-plan. The webpage lists additional goals from the zoo’s master plan, including new animal exhibits and areas for expansion.

“We are truly fortunate to have the trust of this individual, and I appreciate his forward-thinking in helping the Zoo enter its next century as a strong and solid organization,” said Jennifer Conti, Director of Development. from Elmwood Park Zoo. “The Zoo has shown immense organizational strength over the past two years, and we have overcome tremendous challenges to get to where we are today. I look forward to the journey ahead.

At more than 17,000 square feet, the Elmwood Park Zoo Animal Hospital will be one of the largest and most advanced exotic animal care facilities in the country.  (Photo submitted)
At more than 17,000 square feet, the Elmwood Park Zoo Animal Hospital will be one of the largest and most advanced exotic animal care facilities in the country. (Photo submitted)

Benjamin M. Yerger