The Arizona Center for Nature Conservation/Phoenix Zoo, has been a point of pride for Arizona for over 55 years. The Zoo is the state’s most popular cultural attraction, hosting over 1.4 million guests each year.

Decades of success in fulfilling its mission to inspire people and motivate them to care for the natural world through impactful education programs and conservation efforts have made the Zoo an international leader among zoological organizations. Fulfilling this mission requires ongoing investment in capital projects that best serve the Zoo’s animal collection and guests.

The Pride Campaign, is a plan to secure $12.1 million in philanthropic support to fund major capital projects in four distinct areas. The elements include new or expanded habitats and additional capacity for enhanced wildlife education and conservation efforts.


Arthur L. and Elaine V. Johnson Foundation Conservation Center Expansion
Budget: $550,000 | Funded | Opened Summer 2017
The Zoo’s reputation as a major conservation organization is built on more than 50 years of leadership in projects protecting endangered and threatened species. Those efforts are headquartered at the Arthur L. and Elaine V. Johnson Foundation Conservation Center, which opened in 2007. An additional facility will greatly increase the Zoo’s conservation science capacity and provide additional space for critical work on behalf of imperiled Arizona species, including the Mt. Graham red squirrel and the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl.

Wildlife Amphitheater
Budget: $1,650,000 | Partially Funded
Showcasing animal behaviors provides insight into their adaptations and is an integral aspect of the Zoo’s educational objectives. The Zoo will build a 500-seat amphitheater on the Nina Mason Pulliam Children’s Trail. It will feature broad lake views and a spacious and functional stage with backstage animal holding facilities. The Wildlife Amphitheater will consolidate housing and care for the Zoo’s educational collection of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods. It will also provide flexible space for artistic performances, school group gatherings and organizational functions.


The tropical rainforest is a hot, moist biome found near the equator. It is estimated that tropical rainforests sustain 50 percent of all species on Earth. The Tropics Trail is home to some of the Zoo’s favorite and most iconic residents.

Galápagos Tortoise Habitat
Budget: $165,000 | Funded | Construction beginning summer 2017
These slow moving, yet charismatic reptiles are a guest favorite and can live to be more than 100-years old. An enhanced habitat will provide indoor space, which will help these ectothermic animals better regulate their temperatures and provide greater viewing opportunities for guests.

Sand Cat Habitat
Budget: $110,000 | Funded | Construction beginning summer 2017
Native to Africa’s Sahara desert, the Arabian Peninsula and central Asia, the sand cat prefers dry, arid habitats. This newhabitat will be featured at the C.W. & Modene Neely Education and Event Center where guests of special evening events will have promising views of this nocturnal cat.

Asian Elephant Habitat Expansion
Budget: $1.98 million
The elephant habitat will double in size, providing our Asian elephants with ample room for roaming and behavioral enrichment and enhanced space for medical attention. The additional space will also allow the Zoo to continue its groundbreaking work in the advancement of pachyderm care.


The Namibian Village and Trail will be an immersive experience into life in West Africa, featuring a completely new and expanded one-acre African lion and spotted hyena habitat. As the world’s fourth-largest island, Madagascar boasts an incredible richness of unique flora and fauna, many of which can be found nowhere else on Earth. New animals to the Zoo include a clan of meerkats and the fossa, a cat-like carnivore.

Aldabra Tortoise Habitat
Budget: $150,000 | Funded | Construction beginning summer 2017
The Aldabra tortoise is endemic to the islands of the Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar. With their new home, guests can look forward to many more encounters with these amazing animals.

African Lion and Spotted Hyena Habitat
Budget: $2.3 million
The African lion and spotted hyena live in the coastal areas in Namibia and will coexist within the new Namibian habitat on the Zoo’s Africa Trail. The habitat will feature a uniquely shared exhibit with two separate living spaces that either lions or hyenas may inhabit on any given day. Guests will be able to experience these spectacular animals at all times, from two different viewpoints through an expansive glass viewing area.

Mixed Species Habitat

Budget: $2.4 million
The Namib Desert does not truly come to life until the sun sets. With species including bats, caracals and other animals, this new indoor facility will provide daytime guests an air-conditioned opportunity to witness the activity of the desert night. A winding trail through surrounding exhibits will present an array of the Namib Desert’s indigenous species.

Meerkat Habitat
Budget: $517,000
The Namibian Village will house a new meerkat clan. Constantly active and highly social, these creatures are among the most entertaining of Africa’s small mammals.

Leopard and Warthog Habitat
Budget: $2.2 million
One species is among the planet’s most beautiful and feared hunters; the other features a face only a mother could love. Leopards and warthogs are among the more fascinating mammals of the Namib, and a classic example of relationships between predator and prey. The unique vantage points of this exhibit will allow guests to view both leopards and warthogs at the same time, while keeping both species in visual but not direct contact with each other.

The Arizona Center for Nature Conservation/Phoenix Zoo humbly thanks our key volunteers dedicated to improving our
state-of-the-art habitats, expanding the Zoo’s conservation efforts and creating a more dynamic wildlife education experience.

The Pride Campaign leaders wish to publicly recognize those who have contributed to the success of this campaign. The Board of Trustees of the Arizona Center for Nature Conservation gratefully acknowledges the following individuals, corporations, foundations and organizations for their support.

* Deceased | All supporters as of February 21, 2017

The Campaign leadership wishes to make a public and enduring record of those who have invested generously to strengthen the Zoo as a cultural, scientific and educational attraction worthy of the community it serves. Gifts can be made in memory or honor of a loved one or anonymously and will be recognized as such.

Multi-species Conservation Facility (confirmed) $ 250,000    Namibia  
Species Propagation Areas (confirmed)  100,000    Namibian Village  $ 2,000,000
Research Lab and Conference Room (confirmed)  100,000    African Lion Habitat  1,000,000
       Spotted Hyena Habitat  1,000,000
THE TROPICS      Mixed Species Habitat  250,000
Asian Elephant Habitat   $ 1,500,000    Leopard Habitat  250,000
Galápagos Tortoise Habitat (confirmed)  165,000    Warthog Habitat  150,000
Sand Cat Habitat (confirmed)  100,000    Meerkat Habitat  100,000
       Restrooms (confirmed)  100,000
Amphitheater (confirmed)  $ 1,500,000    Madagascar  
Stage 500,000    Aldabra Tortoise Habitat (confirmed)  165,000
Backstage Green Rooms (one of two available) 100,000    Lemur Habitat  100,000
Animal Housing (five of six available) 50,000    Fossa Habitat  100,000


The Phoenix Zoo is a non-profit organization that receives no government operating subsidy. It relies solely on earned income and philanthropic support. Of the $12.1 million campaign total, $1.1 million will be restricted to a permanent endowment to support operational and maintenance expenses of these new expanded projects.

For more information, contact:
Lorraine Frias
(602) 914-4322