Zoo receives anonymous $1m gift

Franklin Park Zoo received an anonymous gift of $1 million to support construction of Nature’s Neighborhoods at the new George Robert White Fund Children’s Zoo on Oct. 10.

This gift is the single largest individual gift given in the Zoo’s history.

“I think this is indicative of the kind of support we will receive from other supporters when they fully understand the zoo, all that we are working to accomplish and all the value we are bringing not just to the people of Boston, but to the Commonwealth and beyond,” John Linehan, President and CEO of Zoo New England, Franklin Park Zoo’s parent organization, told the Gazette through a spokesperson.

Nature’s Neighborhoods is a $6.6 million project that will provide engaging experiences for children and families through active self-directed exploration and discovery. To date, $5.65 million has been raised for the campaign.

The “nature-based educational exhibit for children,” as previously described by Zoo New England’s Vice President for Development Suzanne Thompkins, will compare various ecosystems to neighborhoods. Grasslands, woodlands and wetlands will form the main areas with themed smaller exhibits and play structures. Featured animal exhibits will include red pandas, North American river otters, prairie dogs and others.

Construction is slated to begin later this year or early 2015 for a spring 2016 opening.

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