About ZSM

The Zoological Society is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization with 50 full-time and 40 part-time seasonal interns and employees who manage daily operations and programs. Helping the Milwaukee County Zoo maintain its reputation as Wisconsin’s premier educational and cultural treasure is a big part of the Zoological Society’s mission. Together, the Zoo and Society serve nearly 1.3 million guests a year.

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The mission of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee is to conserve wildlife and endangered species, educate people about the importance of wildlife and the environment, and support the Milwaukee County Zoo.
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Our Role in Conservation

In the last quarter-century, the Zoological Society has made lasting contributions to conservation around the world and at the Zoo. Several animals that are in immediate danger of extinction have a better chance for survival thanks to the work and funding of the Society. The Society provides annual funds to the Milwaukee County Zoo to help support conservation and research projects, some of which involve Zoo staff. These projects have helped animals around the world, including orangutans, Humboldt penguins, giraffes and Grand Cayman blue iguanas.

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Our Educational Opportunities

The Zoological Society of Milwaukee produces and delivers educational programming that supports the Zoo’s mission and the accreditation they receive from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Throughout the year, the Zoological Society brings exceptional animal, environmental and science-based educational opportunities to children, adults and families. The programs help people of all ages develop an understanding of wildlife and some of the environmental challenges the earth faces. Offerings include Zoo Classes and Camps, school programs, community outreach and Kohl’s Wild Theater. Overall, these programs reach nearly 250,000 individuals annually.

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Our Support of the Milwaukee County Zoo

The Zoological Society offers financial and in-kind support to the Milwaukee County Zoo. The organization raises millions of dollars each year that goes directly to the Zoo in unrestricted funds.

In addition to the annual financial support, the Society has invested millions in capital improvements within the Zoo. The Society’s support, through three capital campaigns, combined with matching dollars from Milwaukee County, has helped build animal homes that resemble natural habitats including the most recent campaign, Window to the Wild – Adventure Africa.

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Mission And Impact Gallery
Mission And Impact Gallery
Mission And Impact Gallery

Funding the Mission

We offer many opportunities for people to help the Zoological Society’s mission. Selling Zoo Pass memberships is the largest piece of our fundraising. Annually, the Society brings in more than $6 million in Zoo Pass memberships of which 50% of the funds go directly to the Zoo. Higher-end membership programs like the Platypus Circle bring in valuable dollars from more than 500 area foundations, businesses and individuals.

Other fundraisers include the Society’s Sponsor an Animal program. People can sponsor one of the numerous animals at the Zoo starting at $25 up to $2,500. Throughout the year, individuals and families are encouraged to attend a fundraising event such as our Ride on the Wild Side biking event in the Zoo or our bigger events like Zoo Ball, a black-tie gala.

The Society relies on the generosity of companies and foundations to support the Zoo and the Society through grants, event sponsorship, attractions and more. Individuals or companies can choose to give direct donations to the Society or donate to a new yearly need established in our Annual Appeal. No matter the size of the donation or participation, the Zoological Society could not do it without the help and investment of the community.

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Funding The Mission

Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion

The Zoological Society of Milwaukee is committed to creating a welcoming environment for staff and visitors of all backgrounds. The Society and the Milwaukee County Zoo also believe the Zoo should be accessible to all members of the community. Throughout the year there are opportunities for free or discounted admission to the Zoo, special events or educational programs.

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