Houston Zoo Centennial Campaign

Keeping Our World Wild


100 Years

In 2022, we will celebrate the Houston Zoo’s 100th anniversary by completing the most dramatic transformation in our history. We aim to redefine what a zoo can be with beautiful and immersive habitats, compelling guest experiences, and an unyielding commitment to saving wildlife. I invite you to join me on this thrilling journey to build the world-class zoo Houston deserves. Together, we will keep our world wild.

Today's Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo of today is unrecognizable from its origins in the 1920s. On a small plot of land in Hermann Park, we began with a single bison named Earl. For 80 years, the Zoo was operated by the City of Houston until 2002, when the Zoo transitioned into a non-profit organization in partnership with the City.

Thanks to this public-private partnership, more than $150 million in community investment has revitalized our Zoo. Today, we are a leading conservation and education organization providing care to thousands of animals. All while remaining a cherished destination for family fun and inspiration for Houston’s diverse communities.

More than

2.4 million

Annual guests

helping save wildlife

We Support


Wildlife-Saving Projects

around the world


Wild sea turtles

Received medical care

at the Zoo since 2014

Looking Forward

The Houston Zoo’s story is defined by growth and change. But we are always asking ourselves one question: What’s next?

To answer that question, in 2016 we embarked on an ambitious planning process during which we developed a new strategic plan, master plan, and business plan. Underlying these interconnected plans are eight strategic priorities that will guide the future of the Houston Zoo.

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Saving Wildlife Brand

The Houston Zoo will be a leader in saving wildlife, and our brand will be synonymous with this leadership.
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Amazing Experiences

We will offer amazing experiences on Zoo grounds to inspire our guests to take action to save wildlife.
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Conservation Education

We will be a leader in conservation education by delivering experiential programs at the Zoo and in our communities.
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World Class Guest Experience

We will deliver a world-class guest experience and advance our mission and vision through the implementation of a transformational master plan.
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Highest Quality of Life for Animals

Every animal at the Houston Zoo will experience the highest quality of life, underpinned by mission-driven collection planning and a well-supported animal care, health and welfare program.
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Workplace of Choice

We will be a workplace of choice in the Houston region and national zoological community, invest in our people, and have a culture of innovation and organizational excellence.

Environmental Sustainability

We will operate the Zoo sustainably to protect and conserve natural resources.
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Financial Sustainability

We will grow the Zoo’s financial strength in parallel with the organization’s programmatic and exhibit strengths.

Your Zoo Transformed

The Houston Zoo’s new 20-year master plan will reconfigure our campus into experiential zones that highlight wildlife and ecosystems found in Texas and around the world. With conservation messaging integrated throughout these zones, guests will leave the Zoo inspired to take action to save animals in the wild.

20-year MP map

Phase 1 : 2018 - 2022

The Keeping Our World Wild: Centennial Campaign will secure $150 million from individuals, foundations, corporate partners, and the Houston Zoo’s operational cash flows to complete the new exhibits in Phase I of the master plan by 2022. Renovations to the north arrival plaza will be finished in 2024.

Every year leading to our centennial, an exciting new chapter will open for guests to explore:

  • Heart of the Zoo celebrates Texas wildlife and enhances guest amenities
  • South America’s Pantanal transports guests to the legendary tropical wetlands of Brazil
  • The Avian Conservation Center creates new lushly landscaped aviaries and allows for the expansion of our bird conservation efforts
  • Galapagos Islands and North Arrival Plaza builds a first-of-its-kind exhibit and improves our main entry
Phase I Map - Microsite

Nearly Half

of the Zoo's acreage will be redeveloped by 2022

$5 million

from this Campaign will be Dedicated to Conservation Projects


Exciting New Areas to Explore

Heart of the Zoo

See it today!

Celebrating the biodiversity of Texas, enhancing amenities, and setting the stage for a more navigable Zoo.

  • NOW OPEN – Cypress Circle Cafe has been transformed into a signature gathering place
  • NOW OPEN – The Hamill Foundation Black Bear Exhibit triples the living space for our black bears
  • NOW OPEN – Kathrine G. McGovern Texas Wetlands features alligators, bald eagles, and whooping cranes
  • NOW OPEN – Enhanced orangutan habitat

Conservation Connection

The Texas Wetlands exhibit will engage visitors in the Zoo’s conservation programs with local species; students can connect this exhibit with hands-on, in-the-field conservation work experienced through Zoo-led education programs.

Funds raised through this campaign will support field conservation projects tied to animals featured in the Heart of the Zoo. We are strengthening our partnership with the International Whooping Crane Foundation and their work based at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. In Borneo, our partnership with the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project helps protect these gentle creatures and other rainforest dwellers.

HOTZ - Microsite heart-of-the-zoo-birds heart-of-the-zoo-gator-125 black-bear-circle

South America's Pantanal

See it today!

Exploring the legendary tropical wetlands of Brazil – home to South America’s greatest concentration of wildlife.

  • Lush wetland and riverine forest environments with jaguars, giant otters, piranhas, anacondas, and tapirs
  • Jaguar training window and overhead bridge provide exciting opportunities for interaction and viewing
  • Shaded Animal Encounter Space for informal presentations with ambassador animals and Zoo staff

Conservation Connection

The Zoo partners with on-the-ground conservationists in South and Central America to study and protect jaguars, macaws, tapirs, and other Pantanal inhabitants; the exhibit will strengthen the Zoo’s conservation investment by offering visitors and students a more immersive, engaging experience of this ecosystem.

Pantanal - Microsite VERSION 2 jaguar Capybara-2-185px monkey

Avian Conservation Center

Showcasing the Zoo’s diverse family of bird species.

  • Our Attwater’s prairie chicken breeding program will move to an expanded facility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, allowing for improved animal welfare and program growth

Conservation Connection

This project will enable the growth of the Zoo’s efforts to breed endangered bird species, such as Texas' own Attwater's prairie chicken.

Storm-Stork-0001-3093-1200x800 flamingos curassow-185px bird

Galapagos Islands and North Arrival Plaza

2022 – 2024

A first-of-its-kind Galapagos exhibit, plus enhancements to our main entry and central public spaces.

  • Opening 2022 – Unique Galapagos exhibit featuring sea lions, sharks, sea turtles, and giant tortoises
  • Opening 2024 – New Arrival Plaza to welcome guests and honor our supporters
  • Opening 2024 – New Event Hall and Terrace, as well as a new casual café, enhance the historic reflection pool and garden area

Conservation Connection

No place better illustrates the wonders of unique species, the delicate balance of ecosystems, or the pressing need for conservation action than the Galapagos Islands. This exhibit will immerse visitors in the Islands’ starkly beautiful environment; highlight the Zoo’s ongoing field work with giant tortoises, birds, and marine animals; and serve as a jumping-off point for educational experiences, including eco-travel.

Galapagos - Microsite seal tortoise turtle

Join Us

To inquire about opportunities to support the centennial campaign, please fill out your contact info here. 

Campaign Co-Chairs

Joe Cleary

Dr. Cullen Geiselman

Honorary Chairs

  • Peggy and Bill Barnett
  • Barbara and Jonathan Day
  • Anne and Charles Duncan
  • Annie and Bob Graham
  • Kathrine McGovern
  • Bobbie Nau
  • Bobbi and Vic Samuels
  • Randa Duncan Williams
  • Jeanie Kilroy Wilson


Our Location

The Houston Zoo

6200 Hermann Park Drive

Houston, TX 77030

(713) 533-6500


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