NewsOmaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium


Henry Doorly Zoo adjusting through tough financial period

Posted at 11:14 AM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 16:45:18-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — 2020 was shaping up to be a big year for the Henry Doorly Zoo. They were celebrating their 125th anniversary, then like the rest of the world, were impacted by coronavirus.

They’re adjusting through these tough financial times, but need the public’s help as they help the public through technology.

The zoo closed back on March 16. As of now they expect to be closed until the end of April. During that time frame they’ve estimated they will lose around $6.7 million. They’re using back up funds saved for situations like this but having the zoo closed is a big loss.

“Roughly 93% of all the money we make here at the zoo, through memberships, and gift shop sales, and hot dogs and events at night so it’s a huge, huge portion,” said Dennis Pate, the Zoo Director.

They’ve since put on a hiring freeze and have found other ways to cut back but say people continuing to get memberships is critical right now.

They’re also using technology, to bring the zoo to people at home. “So if you keep going back to the zoo website and check your social media I think that will help fill some time in your day as well,” said Pate.

Their website has a section called “Zoo From Home.” Zoo educators profile certain animals, activities for kids are available, and if you can’t see your favorite creature in person, you might be able to on social media.

Pate remains optimistic, but continues to stress the importance of the zoo helping during this pandemic, but also how the zoo needs help as well.

“Membership is our only form of revenue right now and we’re down about 34% year to date but it’s still coming in and we’re hoping it will still come in to support the operations of the zoo,” said Pate.

Those zoo memberships are currently for sale, visit this link for more information.