The Arizona Center for Nature Conservation (ACNC) is committed to providing experiences that inspire people and motivate them to care for the natural world. Our belief is that everyone should have the opportunity to experience and cultivate positive connections to nature and wildlife and we seek inclusion of all members of our community, regardless of economic status or other limiting factors.
As a major educational resource for the state of Arizona, with widespread community support, our Community Access Programs (CAP) are dedicated to making the Phoenix Zoo and the South Mountain Environmental Education Center (SMEEC) more accessible to low-income, at-risk and/or underserved children and families.
In following our core values, the ACNC is proud to develop and foster positive relationships within our community, which we believe will ensure long-term success. The ACNC provides the following opportunities for community access to our facilities, experiences and programming:
Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Program
Notice: On January 1, 2018, the Arizona Center for Nature Conservation/Phoenix Zoo moved away from the national Museums for All program but are offering a community access program for Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cardholders. Effective September 2, 2018, the Phoenix Zoo EBT Discount Program (valid on Sundays ONLY) is increasing its rate from $5 to $8. Cardholders may purchase up to four (4) general daytime admission tickets at the Phoenix Zoo EBT Program admission rate. Tickets purchased through the Phoenix Zoo EBT Program are only valid on the date on which they were purchased.
For additional information on this program, please see our Electronic Benefits Transfer FAQ page.
We offer discounted daytime Zoo admission to all school groups. Title I schools are eligible for a larger admission discount along with program scholarships. Such scholarships may provide additional funding to defer the costs of bringing students to participate in Zoo programming on-site, or to facilitate Zoo outreach programming brought to their schools.
Through generous donations from individuals, corporations and foundations, our ZooReach scholarship program supports free or discounted admission to the Phoenix Zoo and/or participation in a variety of educational programs for Title I schools, as designated by the Arizona Department of Education. Title I schools have 50 percent or more of their enrollment on a free or reduced lunch program. To view a listing of available scholarships, select the ‘Scholarships’ tab here: https://www.phoenixzoo.org/camps-programs/school-teacher-programs
South Mountain Environmental Education Center Programming
Along with a number of fee-based educational programs offered at SMEEC, free learning opportunities are provided including South Mountain 101, Movie at the Mountain, Desert Play Space and Sunday Mini-Fests. Enjoy the Visitor Center at SMEEC at the base of South Mountain while taking in breathtaking views of the Phoenix skyline and learning about the Sonoran desert, all at no cost. For more information, call 623.334.7880 or visit http://smeec.org
Special Needs Programs
The Zoo offers programs developed specifically for students with special needs. Live animals, photographs, skull models, pelts, animal figures and more are used to engage students and demonstrate concepts. Programs are offered Mondays in October – April by reservation only. Classes are presented by Zoo volunteers and are free with paid admission to the Zoo. Call 602.914.4333 for more information.
Thanks in part to a grant from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, we facilitate free and low-cost family nature club programming periodically throughout the year. Our Day of Nature Play events provide an opportunity for families to explore, discover, have an adventure, celebrate and play together in nature. Please join us to learn more about connecting to nature through play and to participate in the Phoenix Zoo Family Nature Club. Fee waivers are available on a limited basis for our fee-based family nature club programming. For more information, visit https://www.phoenixzoo.org/camps-programs/kids-family-programs
The ACNC has numerous opportunities for volunteers to support our events, programs and operational needs. We are fortunate to have volunteer programs for adult individuals, ZooTeens and corporate groups. We encourage volunteering in all areas of our operation and explore the talents that each volunteer brings. The ACNC seeks to be inclusive while providing an enriching experience for each individual in appreciation of their time. See more at: https://www.phoenixzoo.org/support/volunteer/
Community Outreach Events
We encourage hosting community engagement activities at our facilities such as health and safety topics, animal adoptions and food drives. We are pleased to discuss collaborations with for-profit corporations or non-profit organizations to serve our community and reach new audiences (sponsorship and site fees may apply). Please contact our Corporate Relations office at 602.286.3887.
Non-profit groups receive a 25 percent discount on venue rental fees (as space permits) to host meetings and fundraising events. Please call 602.914.4301 to book your event.
Donations of Zoo Admission Tickets for Charitable Causes
We’re happy to consider donating general admission tickets to support the charitable fundraising efforts of other non-profit organizations. Eligible organizations must provide written requests on non-profit letterhead and provide their non-profit IRS EIN. Each organization may only receive one donation every 12 months. ACNC does not accept requests from individuals. We receive many donation requests throughout the year, and may not be able to fulfill every request. To be considered, please submit your request at least one month in advance. See more at: https://www.phoenixzoo.org/charitable-donation-program/