By giving to the Detroit Zoological Society, you can make a real difference in Celebrating and Saving Wildlife. From large transformative gifts with outcomes like the Arctic Ring of Life and Cotton Family Wetlands to general support that helps us provide memorable experiences and rich education programs, gifts of all kinds are important to the current and future success of the Detroit Zoological Society.

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  • Zoo Experiences

    Create lifelong memories with a special experience at the Detroit Zoo!

    Experiencing animals in their habitats puts you and your family at the heart of Celebrating and Saving Wildlife.  Your interactive experience purchase includes a charitable contribution; please see below for the fair market value for each. A tax receipt will be provided within two weeks of purchasing your animal encounter. Contact us to schedule your special experience today!

    For more information and reservations, please call (248) 336-5836 or email us.

    Reservations must be made two weeks in advance and are non-refundable.


    Resident Reptiles

    Detroit Zoo Experiences - Resident Reptiles

    Revel in a private, educational, zookeeper-led tour of the Holden Reptile Conservation Center, home to 180 reptiles representing 70 species. You and your guests will learn about the Detroit Zoo's turtles, snakes and lizards - and witness a python, water monitor or crocodile enjoy a hearty meal. (Not for the faint of heart!)

    • There will be no direct animal contact
    • Groups limited to five participants
    • Children must be 8 or older and accompanied by an adult
    • Cost is $500.00 per group
    • Fair market value: $70

    Breakfast with a Favorite Animal

    Detroit Zoo Experiences - Breakfast with a Favorite Animal

    You've heard of dancing with wolves – now you can dine with them. Enjoy a delicious continental breakfast at the Zoo with the animal habitat of your choosing serving as a unique backdrop. Your longtime favorites – Breakfast with the Giraffes and Breakfast with the Butterflies – are still options for this experience. Throughout the 90-minute encounter, you'll learn details of the animals' daily lives from the people who take care of them.

    • There will be no direct animal contact
      • (except for Breakfast with the Giraffes or Butterflies)
    • Groups limited to five participants
    • Children must be 5 or older and accompanied by an adult
    • Cost is $500.00 per group
    • Fair market value: $120

    Mingle with the Macaronis (Gentoos, Rockhoppers and Kings, too!)

    Detroit Zoo Experiences - Mingle with the Macaronis

    Available beginning June 2016

    Do you want to know how penguins stay warm, eat and play while living in their icy cold habitat? Get up close and personal with them at the Zoo! Under the guidance and supervision of a zookeeper, you will interact with these charming birds in their habitat. Your visit will last approximately two hours and includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the Polk Penguin Conservation Center. Once inside, you’ll meet some of our 80-plus penguins. Many photo opportunities will be available as you hand-feed our gentoo, rockhopper and macaroni penguins.

    • Mingles are conducted from 1 to 3 p.m. (available beginnning June 2016)
    • No Mingles will be scheduled during breeding (March 15 – May 31) or molting season (August 15 – September 30)
    • Offered year-round unless penguins are molting or breeding
    • Groups limited to six participants
    • Children must be 7 or older and accompanied by an adult
    • Cost is $1,000.00 per group
    • Fair market value: $150

    Photo Safari

    Detroit Zoo Experiences - Photo Safari

    How many times have you just missed the perfect shot when trying to photograph one of the Detroit Zoo’s animal residents? Amateur shutterbugs are treated to a 90-minute guided tour of the Zoo with an experienced photographer while learning tips and tricks for capturing perfect photos of the animals. Reservations must be made two weeks in advance. Photo Safari dates are subject to availability.

    • Photo Safari is conducted from 8 to 9:30 a.m.
    • Offered year-round (weather permitting)
    • Groups limited to three participants (one more participant for an additional $100)
    • Children must be 10 or older and accompanied by an adult
    • Cost is $300.00 per group
    • Fair market value: $40

  • Polk Penguin Conservation Center

    $5 million
    $10 million
    $15 million
    $20 million
    $25 million
    $30 million
    Current Amount:
    $27.1 million


    Be a part of the growing community of “penguin people” who have experienced the new Polk Penguin Conservation Center. Share in the excitement by making a gift today!

    The Polk Penguin Conservation Center is designed to set the new standard for penguin care and conservation worldwide. The habitat ensures an optimal environment for the penguins’ welfare and encourages wild behavior, from diving and porpoising to nesting and rearing young. In addition to providing an unparalleled visitor experience, the new penguin center offers engaging educational opportunities that lead to an appreciation and stewardship of nature.

    Inspired by Sir Ernest Shackleton’s legendary Antarctic expeditions and epic crossings of the Drake Passage, the experience features 4-D effects such as polar blasts, rough waves and snow. The building’s dramatic exterior evokes a tabular iceberg with an ice crevasse and waterfall, conjuring the stark and beautiful Antarctic icescape right in the heart of southeast Michigan.

    Gifts of $1,000 or more will be recognized on our donor wall in the new Polk Penguin Conservation Center.

    Donate Now       Learn More

  • Detroit Zoo Fund

    Detroit Zoo - Annual FundDonations to the Detroit Zoo Fund have helped provide emergency care and sanctuary for more than 1,000 rescued animals – from lemurs and coatis rescued locally to turtles and tortoises destined for the pet trade. The Detroit Zoo has become a refuge for these remarkable beings, and your support has helped provide them with a better life.

    Charitable donations also bridge the gap between revenue from admissions, membership and millage funds and the true costs of Zoo operations and allow us to further our mission of Celebrating and Saving Wildlife.

    Show your support today by giving a gift to the Detroit Zoo Fund.

    Thank you.

    Donate Now

    Give By Mail

    Please make your check payable to
    Detroit Zoological Society
    8450 W. 10 Mile Road
    Royal Oak, Mi 48067
    attn: Detroit Zoo Fund

    Give By Phone

    (248) 336-5729

  • A.D.O.P.T.S.


    The Detroit Zoological Society’s A.D.O.P.T.S. program provides an opportunity for you to support endangered species around the world and our mission of Celebrating and Saving Wildlife while offering a gift that keeps on giving!

    Your symbolic animal adoption will support the conservation of animals at the Detroit Zoo as well as endangered species around the world. Your support will also help provide the best in animal and veterinary care for the more than 2,400 animals representing 255 species that call your Detroit Zoo home.

    Your wild gift includes a card wishing Happy Birthday, Congratulations or Thank You to a family member, friend or business associate. They will love their special gift, and you can give twice — to your recipient and to the animals at the Detroit Zoo.

    A.D.O.P.T.S. Gifts

    Choose from the following options:
    *Not available as plush

    Aardvark Flamingo Lion Rhinoceros Wolverine
    Arctic fox Giraffe Otter Seal Zebra
    Bald eagle Gorilla Penguin Sloth
    Beaver Grizzly bear Poison dart frog* Snow monkey*
    Kangaroo Polar Bear Tiger
    Lemur Red Panda Wolf


    This is also a great philanthropy program for schools!  Is your class learning about wildlife, endangered animals, geography or the environment? Does your school have an animal mascot that is also a Detroit Zoo animal? If so, consider raising awareness by fundraising for an A.D.O.P.T.S.  Each A.D.O.P.T.S. includes a certificate of symbolic adoption, fact sheet, animal photo, and an optional greeting card that can be used to acknowledge your thoughtful gift.

    Guardian of Wildlife - $1,000

    • Medallion placed at the habitat of your adopted animal for one year
    • Recognition on the online A.D.O.P.T.S. Honor Roll
    • A.D.O.P.T.S. certificate
    • Animal fact sheet and photo
    • Optional greeting card mailed on your behalf
    • Gift certificate for a plush redeemable at Zoofari Market


    Champion of Wildlife - $250

    • Recognition on the online A.D.O.P.T.S. Honor Roll
    • A.D.O.P.T.S. certificate
    • Animal fact sheet and photo
    • Optional greeting card mailed on your behalf
    • Gift certificate for a plush redeemable at Zoofari Market


    Protector of Wildlife - $100

    • A.D.O.P.T.S. certificate
    • Animal fact sheet and photo
    • Optional greeting card mailed on your behalf
    • Gift certificate for a plush redeemable at Zoofari Market


    Friend of Wildlife - $50

    • A.D.O.P.T.S. certificate
    • Animal fact sheet and photo
    • Optional greeting card mailed on your behalf


    A.D.O.P.T.S. Gifts

    Please contact Eunice Graham at (248) 336-5836 or via email if you have any questions or would like to participate in this program.

    ADOPTS Honor Roll

    Thank you to the Detroit Zoo’s Champion of Wildlife and Guardian of Wildlife supporters. Through their symbolic adoptions, we are Celebrating and Saving Wildlife!

    Guardian of Wildlife

    Make your Donation to the Guardian of Wildlife benefit level.

    • Brown Elementary School
    • Hoover Elementary PTA of Livonia
    • Thornton Creek Elementary


    Champion of Wildlife

    Make your Donation to the Champion of Wildlife benefit level.

    • Barnard Elementary School
    • Detroit Medical Center
    • Ebeling Elementary
    • Marjory W. Epstein
    • Girl Scout Troop 70625
    • Girl Scout Troop 71687
    • Henry Gott
    • Imperial Beverage Sales Management
    • John F. Kennedy Elementary School
    • Evelyn Landrum
    • Josh Levine
    • Keith Elementary School
    • Musson Elementary School
    • Orchard Hills Elementary School
    • Michael Peplinski
    • Molly Pelon
    • Joanne Rackham
    • Ridge Wood Elementary
    • Max Rosenthal
    • Richards Middle School
    • Shawnee Elementary School
    • Jill Sheipline
    • South Arbor Charter Academy
    • St. Damian Catholic School
    • St. Mary - Wayne Catholic School
  • Renaissance Circle



    The Detroit Zoological Society’s (DZS) Renaissance Circle is made up of caring individuals and families who enjoy all the benefits of a regular Detroit Zoo membership while providing generous philanthropic support for the organization.

    The financial commitment provided by Renaissance Circle Members creates a foundation for DZS to further its mission of Celebrating and Saving Wildlife.

    From special celebrations and private tours to exclusive experiences, there is a lot to do and enjoy with your annual membership. Share new adventures and create memories with your family and friends. Become a Member of the Renaissance Circle at the Detroit Zoo for as little as $125 a month.

    If you have questions or would like additional information, please call (248) 336-5729 or email us.

    Donate Now


    There are five levels of Renaissance Circle, each providing exclusive benefits:

    Donor Circle – $1,500-$2,499

    • Unlimited daytime admission for two adult Members and up to four unnamed guests – or two adult Members, up to six named children (18 and under) and up to two unnamed guests – per visit to the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo
    • Discounted admission at more than 100 reciprocal zoos across the U.S.
    • Recognition at the Renaissance Circle Grotto across from Rackham Fountain
    • Complimentary invitation for one Member adult and up to four guests to attend the following:
      • Renaissance Circle Picnic
      • Holiday Reception, celebrating Wild Lights
      • Private “insider” golf cart tour
      • MemberFest
    • Advance purchase of “good any day” tickets for Zoo Boo and Wild Lights that allow you to come any date and time you choose
    • Advance registration for Summer Safari and advance ticket sales for Summer Zoomance, Wild Beasts Wild Wine and Zoo Brew
    • 10% discount at the Zoofari Market and Arctic Outpost gift shops
    • Exclusive members-only entrances at Main Admissions and seasonal members-only Rackham Fountain Entrance from Memorial Day to Labor Day
    • A one-year subscription to Habitat, the Detroit Zoological Society’s quarterly magazine, and Zmail, the monthly online newsletter
    • Invitation for two adult Members to attend the Members’ Annual Meeting


    Ambassador Circle – $2,500-$4,999

    Includes all Donor Circle benefits plus…

    • Complimentary invitation for one adult Member and up to four guests to attend a special “insider” Zoo Experience, such as a habitat preview, zookeeper-led walking tour, exhibit opening or ground-breaking

    Curator Circle – $5,000-$9,999

    Includes all Ambassador Circle benefits plus…

    • Complimentary invitation for one adult Member and up to four guests to meet and tour with a Zoo curator while getting to know your favorite animal up close and in person

    Director Circle – $10,000-$14,999

    Includes all Curator Circle benefits plus…

    • Complimentary invitation for one adult Member and up to four guests to have a private tour and breakfast or lunch at the Zoo with the Executive Director/CEO of the Detroit Zoological Society

    Rackham Circle -$15,000 and above

    Includes all Director Circle benefits plus…

    • Invitation for you and a guest to spend a very special day with a member of the Life Sciences staff while you both care for the Zoo’s animals (restrictions apply)


    Donate Now
  • Amazon Rainforest Adopt-A-School Program


    Preserving the rainforest, one child at a time.


    Make A Donation

    The Adopt-A-School program provides educational materials and supplies for the schools in rural Amazonia through donations from individuals, schools and organizations in the United States and around the world. Since 1999, the Detroit Zoological Society has partnered with Conservacion de la Naturaleza Amazonica del Peru (CONAPAC) in this conservation and educational program.

    One hundred percent of all donations made to the Adopt-A-School program are used by CONAPAC to purchase school supplies in Iquitos, Peru, thus supporting the local economy, reducing purchasing costs and eliminating shipping costs. Donations are also used to fund workshops that help teachers and community leaders promote sustainable lifestyles to protect the natural resources of the Amazon rainforest.

    Students in a classroom in Peru

    Support a School

    You can make a difference in the lives of school children by donating a year’s worth of school supplies for $425. The government provides a school building and teacher but supplies for the classroom and children are an impossible financial burden for most families. Your donation allows the children to achieve a basic education and help protect the amazing natural resources of the Amazon rainforest.

    Make A Difference

    A picture of a student smiling in Peru

    Support a Student

    You can support an individual child by providing him or her a year’s worth of school supplies for $50. The government provides a school building and teacher but supplies for the children are an impossible financial burden for most families. Your donation allows a child to achieve a basic education and help protect the amazing natural resources of the Amazon rainforest.

    Make A Difference

    FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions


  • Wish List


    Enrichment is an essential element of the daily care of our animals at the Detroit Zoo. The goal of the enrichment program is to assist our animals in demonstrating their natural behavior, allow them exercise and add variety to their day. Enrichment encourages the animals to engage in species-typical behaviors and gives them more choice and control over their environment while enhancing their well-being.

    In order to achieve this, animal staff provides a list of goods and/or services needed. This list does change often.

    If you are interested in donating to the Enrichment Wish List, please contact us at (248) 336-5836, or [email protected]


  • Planned Giving

    Consider including the Detroit Zoological Society in your estate plans

    A gift to the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) that is part of a thoughtful, comprehensive estate plan provides a way to complete a lifetime of giving or to make a significant gift that was not possible during your lifetime. In many cases, planned giving provides helpful financial benefits to the donor through tax breaks.  Your gift will provide a legacy for future generations by protecting and conserving some of the most remarkable creatures on earth.

    Throughout our history, the Detroit Zoo has welcomed generations of visitors with experiences that stimulate learning and encourage a deeper appreciation for the awe-inspiring creatures that share our planet. A planned gift will allow us to continue a tradition of leadership in metro Detroit’s cultural, educational and recreational community, as well as the zoological community.

    Planned gifts may include bequests, living trusts, charitable gift annuities, charitable life income trusts, retirement plans, life insurance, gifts of securities or real estate.  The DZS encourages you to consult with your attorney, accountant or other professional advisor to confirm the financial benefits of a planned gift and determine how it best fits with your personal financial circumstances.

    Wildlife Legacy Circle

    wildlife_legacyThe Detroit Zoological Society’s Wildlife Legacy Circle was created to recognize friends who have endorsed our mission by including the Society in their estate plans or by making a planned gift.

    Undesignated contributions from members of the Wildlife Legacy Circle are directed to the Endowment Fund for the Detroit Zoological Society. This general endowment provides annual income to maintain and improve our animal habitats, grounds, facilities and infrastructure, thus sustaining unparalleled experiences for our visitors and the highest quality of care for our magnificent animals.

    As an alternative, donors may designate their gift for a specific aspect of our mission. We encourage individuals who are considering making restricted contributions for a particular endowment or any other special purpose to discuss these ideas with us before finalizing their plans.

    We will assist you in finding giving options that best suit your situation, and will simplify the process by working with you and your advisors. To learn more about supporting the Detroit Zoological Society through a planned gift, please contact Tricia Brosnahan at (248) 336-5728, or email us.

  • Matching Gifts

    Do you work for a matchmaker?

    Many employers sponsor matching gift programs and will match charitable contributions made by their employees. Some also provide matching funds to support employee volunteer hours. Most of these programs match contributions dollar for dollar, and some will even double or triple the amount of your gift! To find out if your company has a matching gift policy, please enter your employer’s name in the search box below.

    If your company offers a matching gift, please fill out the company form (online or paper) and send it to:

    Detroit Zoological Society
    Matching Gifts
    8450 West 10 Mile Road
    Royal Oak, MI 48067
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: 248-336-5729

    If you don’t see your company’s name here, be sure to contact your Human Resources Department directly to find out if your employer participates in a matching gift program or or contact Sommer Brock at (248) 336-5279 to discuss your options.


  • Tributes and Memorials

    The Detroit Zoo is a cherished part of our lives, our children’s lives and our grandchildren’s lives. Visits to the Zoo are often some of our fondest memories. Now you have the opportunity to make those memories a part of our Zoo.

    The Detroit Zoo Tribute Program offers a variety of options for the perfect gift to commemorate someone or something special in your life.

    Detroit Zoo - Rackham Fountain

    Honor and Memorial Gifts

    Make a donation in honor or in remembrance of that special person or moment in your life or the life of a loved one.

    To make a tribute or memorial gift or to get more information, please contact the Development Department at (248) 336-5836 or email us.


    Detroit Zoo - Brick Pavers

    Nature Paver

    Participate in the Pathway Program: In Step with Nature and purchase a nature paver.  There are three sizes from which to choose.

    $1,000 for 12×12” paver
    $900 for Zoo and Renaissance Circle members
    Inscription area has a max of 7 lines and 21 spaces per line

    $500 for 8×8” paver
    $450 for Zoo and Renaissance Circle members
    Inscription area has a max of 5 lines and 15 spaces per line

    $100 for 4×8” paver
    $90 for Zoo and Renaissance Circle members
    Inscription area has a max of 3 lines and 15 spaces per line.

    Order confirmation will be mailed after purchase. Placement confirmation with locater map will  be mailed upon completion of paver installation.

    For spring installation, paver must be purchased by March 15; for fall installation, paver must be purchased by August 15.

    Placement is determined by Detroit Zoological Society staff and paver cannot be moved once placed. Installation dates are contingent upon weather.

    Order Your Nature Paver



    Detroit Zoo - Brass Butterfly

    Brass Butterfly


    Purchase an engraved brass butterfly that mirrors the beauty of life and friendship.  All tribute butterflies are on display in the Wildlife Interpretive Gallery. Brass Butterfly display cases are located at the entrance to, and exit from the Butterfly Garden. Butterflies are installed monthly.

    Order A Brass Butterfly


    Detroit Zoo - Memorial Trees



    Your gift includes the planting, care and maintenance of a tree and recognition plaque.  The type of tree and its location will be mutually agreed upon between Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) staff and the donor.  Trees will be maintained by DZS staff and will be replaced when necessary.


    Detroit Zoo - Memorial Benches



    The purchase of a Zoo bench includes a brass recognition plaque.  The location of the bench will be mutually agreed upon between DZS staff and the donor.


    Detroit Zoo - Memorial Theatre Seats

    Theater Seat

    $750 / $500

    Theater seats are located in the 4-D Theater in the Ford Education Center.  Choose the location of your seat (based on availability).  A brass recognition plaque will be placed on your theater seat.