Access and Outreach
For programs and development of the Minnesota Zoological Garden and to provide access and education related to programs on the cultural heritage of Minnesota.
Outcomes in FY16 include:
- Implementation of the Free to Explore program which replaced the previous system for distributing free zoo admission to low income Minnesota families.
- More than 57,000 guests visiting the Zoo for free.
- Production of Zoo site maps for visitors in 10 languages (in addition to English.)
- 7,500 adults came to the Zoo for Adults Night Out events.
- Six guest lectures held with 720 people in attendance.
- 30 classes, camps and programs held for 310 adult participants.
- A new advertising partner was selected and our “Where Amazing Lives. Every Day.” brand strategy implemented.
- Zooper Troopers, illustrated characters that delivered conservation messages, piloted with the opening of the summer dinosaur exhibit.
- Zoo director visits around the state enhanced with the addition of the Zoomobile to key audiences in Alexandria, Austin, Mankato, Rochester and Virginia.
- 54,280 Minnesotans in 42 Minnesota counties visited by the Zoomobile.
As Minnesota’s state Zoo, we are committed to ensuring that our programs are accessible to all our citizens – regardless of age, geographic location, disability or background. “Zoo Unlimited” is our community outreach and access initiative that unites a wide range of programs and policies designed to ensure every Minnesotan has unlimited opportunities to form stronger connections with the natural world. Legacy funds help us implement this program bridge barriers that keep people from connecting with all the Zoo has to offer.
The Zoo is committed to ensuring that economic circumstances are not obstacles to experiencing the Minnesota Zoo. With Legacy support the Zoo recently created the position of Community Relations Coordinator, a position responsible for the statutorily-mandated free ticket program for economically disadvantaged Minnesotans, all aspects of ADA compliance, and other programs related to accessibility of the Zoo.
The Minnesota Zoo is not just for children! Legacy funding supports a number of programs aimed at supporting and expanding Zoo programs for adults. This includes a recently introduced adults only program, “Adult Night Out.” These age 18+ evening events offer an after-hours experience for working and older adults who might not otherwise visit the Zoo. This program also incorporates the Our World Speaker Series designed to engage guests in conservation issues. These lectures are offered free of charge to all attendees, ensuring access for all interested guests. The Zoo is also offering a number of adult education programs that focus on special interest areas such as Zoo horticulture and wildlife photography. These programs serve a range of adult audiences including seniors, corporate groups, and young adults.
In an effort to help Zoo guests care more and do more for conservation, this project was designed to test and implement zoo-based conservation messaging that would encourage people to act for wildlife. The Zoo began implementing its new brand strategy “Where Amazing Lives. Every Day.” This campaign creates a consistent story throughout the Zoo.
Geography can be a barrier to accessing high quality environmental education programs. The Zoomobile program exists to serve people who cannot visit the Minnesota Zoo by bringing the Zoo to them, regardless of where they live in Minnesota. Trained interpretive naturalists travel with animals to all corners of the state and deliver programs at schools, libraries, community centers, children’s hospitals, senior centers, and more. Zoomobile participants experience live animals up close and learn about the ecological principles that connect all living things to one another. Legacy funding makes it possible to expand the service and reach of Zoomobile by sending more staff and more animals throughout the state.