December 15, 2020

2020 in Review

Celebrating the Many Ways Our Donors Buoyed the Zoo Through an Unusual Year

2020 was an unprecedented year filled with uncertainties, unknowns and unexpected triumphs. You, our unwavering donors, proved your love and loyalty to Denver Zoo in more ways than one. From supporting our Emergency Fund, to partying like flock stars, because of you, 2020 was a year we won’t soon forget.

Call to Action



On March 16, Denver Zoo made the difficult decision to close our gates in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19. As you know, we rely heavily on guest visitation, membership, events and programs to ensure the comfort and care of our nearly 3,000 animals. We called on our community and boy, did you respond! Collectively, we raised nearly $1 million through our emergency support efforts, and that number continues to grow. Not only that, but we welcomed over 5,000 new donors to our Denver Zoo family. We look forward to continuing to cultivate those relationships and are so grateful for the outpouring of support we received during our 87-day closure.

Not Your Average Tuesday

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Each December, nonprofits around the world recognize Giving Tuesday as an international day of philanthropy. This year, to support nonprofits during an especially trying time, Giving Tuesday was moved to May 5. Not knowing what to expect from our beloved community, we launched the day with a hope and a dream. Yet again, our donors came out in droves, setting a RECORD-BREAKING day of giving for Denver Zoo! In just 24 hours, we were able to raise an extraordinary $235,000 making May 5, 2020 a Tuesday unlike any other.

A Fine-feathered Affair

Flock Party


Nearly all events this year were cancelled, postponed or virtually presented, leaving most attendees all dressed up with nowhere to go. Instead of following suit, Denver Zoo decided to take advantage of our spacious outdoor campus and host an event fit for a flamingo! Flock Party offered attendees a colorful, casual and socially distanced event that raised over $100,000 for Denver Zoo, and set a new standard for COVID-safe events.

Oh Baby (Names)!

Lion cubs


To keep our community engaged while our gates were closed, we invited you, our donors, to help us choose names for our baby greater one-horned rhino and our two youngest African lion cubs. Like Oskar and Araali, the competition was fierce, but they, along with Joona, rose to the top! Not only did you help us select the most fitting names for our new friends, but you collectively raised over $60,000 for our animal care and conservation programs.

Love Knows No Bounds



While much of the focus in 2020 was on supporting Denver Zoo during one of the most challenging years in our 124-year history, we can’t forget about the outpouring of support received for our friends at Zoos Victoria during the devastating Australian wildfires. Thanks to the incredible generosity of our devoted supporters, we were able to donate nearly $100,000 to Zoos Victoria and their rescue and rehabilitation efforts. With the help of Denver Zoo and many other contributors, Zoos Victoria has since implemented the Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund intended to support the recovery of threatened species and ensure that the organization is even more ready to help Australia's wildlife in future bushfire events.

Thank you to our community of donors – your generosity and compassion kept us optimistic, encouraged and excited for the next 125 years. From our animals and our staff, be safe and have the happiest of holidays!


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