Why support the Zoo during Give to Lincoln Day?

Whether you're feeding a giraffe, climbing with spider monkeys, taking a ride on the ZO&O Railroad, or learning about animals from all over the world, the Zoo is a place for families to connect, learn, and have fun. Your generosity allows us to fulfill our mission in the work we do daily and continue building a better Zoo for the Lincoln community.

Along with creating fun and educational experiences, the Zoo is also committed to animal conservation efforts and saving species from extinction. Home to over 30 species categorized as vulnerable or near-extinction, such as the Sumatran tiger and Matschie’s tree kangaroo, the Zoo is committed to preserving and protecting animals for future generations.

With 400 animals in our care, it costs approximately $13,000 each day to operate Lincoln Children’s Zoo. Your gift supports education, conservation, animal care programs and meets the Zoo’s most urgent needs. Your gift is vital for the Zoo’s future success.

Give to Lincoln Day is May 30th!
Help us reach 175 donors and receive an additional $10,000!

We play an important role in animal conservation and protecting species from extinction.

In November 2023, Dr. Sarah Woodhouse, the Zoo’s Director of Animal Health and Conservation, spent three weeks in South Africa working with VulPro. VulPro is a conservation group that works toward preventing the extinction of African vultures.

African vultures face many threats to their population in the wild. While there are many species of vultures, most of the African vulture species are considered endangered or critically endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Why is vulture conservation important?

Vultures are essentially nature’s clean-up crew. Ecosystems are dependent on vultures to keep diseases at bay. As scavengers, vultures clean up carcasses and can eat diseases that other animals cannot such as tuberculosis, rabies, anthrax and more. This eliminates the disease and prevents other animals from getting infected and spreading that infection further.

During her most recent trip, Dr. Sarah performed physical exams on resident vultures, collected blood samples for blood tests, performed x-rays, took care of a large volume of sick or dehydrated vultures as they arrived, and more.

We provide high quality care to the animals that call the Zoo home.

If you’ve visited the Secret Jungle, you've probably seen Tonnie the spider monkey. What you might not know is Tonnie’s incredible birth story and the high level of care and commitment that led to her surviving and thriving today.

Tonnie was born on May 31, 2020 to mom, Lola. Lola was a great mother but unfortunately, she developed mastitis and was unable to nurse Tonnie. The on-site veterinarian staff and dedicated team of zookeepers knew without the proper nourishment, Tonnie’s health would decline rapidly, so they made the difficult decision to hand-raise her.

Zookeepers provided around-the-clock care for the first few months. They took rotations sleeping in the Secret Jungle to care for Tonnie through the night, providing up to 12 feedings a day, baths, enrichment and more. Tonnie’s keepers maintained close proximity to her family troop to keep a strong bond between baby and adults. Keepers created climbing structures to teach Tonnie to climb and mimicked monkey facial expressions to ensure that Tonnie would learn to be a monkey, not a human.

"The most rewarding part of raising Tonnie was her introduction back into the troop. It wasn't a guarantee that the grown ups would accept her, so it was a real nerve racking build up. However, she fit in quickly. It was rewarding that we taught a monkey how to monkey well enough to fit in with others!" - Tori Reynolds, zookeeper.

Today, Tonnie is a thriving member of the spider monkey troop all because of our team’s quick thinking and commitment to a high level of care for our animals!

Our education programs foster a lifelong love of animals.

Here at the Zoo we provide educational programs for children and teens that offer memorable experiences and teach them about conservation, animals and the natural world. An example of the lifetime effects these programs have on kids can be found in our Zookeeper, Stephanie.

“I started Zoo Crew the summer before entering 7th grade. My mother told me I needed do something during the summer to stay busy and my aunt told me about the Zoo Crew program.

On training day, I showed up nervous because I didn't know anyone, but excited to lean what we would be doing (plus I had a pizza lunchable, which had just come out, and I was eager to try it at lunch). By lunch time I knew that my future was at the zoo. When we all came together for lunch, the Education Director asked every staff member that would be working with Zoo Crew to line up at the front and introduce themselves. I thought to myself in that moment, "that is were I want to be." It took me 4 years of a 5-year program to get to that special line up.

In my final year of Zoo Crew, I worked with the keepers. For me this was such an amazing experience, and it solidified my desire to be a zookeeper. I would spend all day helping them clean and feed the animals, I did dishes and diets, they talked me through all aspects of their job, even including how the pumps worked for the pools. We talked animals all the time. We discussed behavior, enrichment, diets, and the consistency of poop as a matter of seriousness and not as something funny or gross. I could ask all the questions I wanted and get the answers or be shown where to find the answers and encouraged to do the research. I learned a lot about responsibility and commitment during my years of Zoo Crew and I enjoyed it immensely.

Zoo Crew led to applying for Zoo School (LPS Science Focus Program), which I ended up graduating from. I was hired at the Zoo as a Zoo Crew Manager and as a Part-time Keeper. I worked at the zoo while attending college. I have been involved in many of our programs over the years and because of that I was invited to go the White House in 2007 to receive an Institute of Museum and Library Services award from First Lady, Laura Bush.

I have now been at the Zoo for over 20 years and it's all because my mom said I needed to volunteer somewhere for the summer!”

-Zookeeper Stephanie

  • Visitors in 2022
    Visitors in 2022


  • CAMPERS IN 2021
    CAMPERS IN 2021