VISITORS: Please note that the Zoo will close early to pedestrians and vehicular traffic on Oct. 20, 21 and 22 in preparation for Boo at the Zoo. Please visit the hours page for full details.
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Campaign Priorities

Smithsonian Campaign

The Smithsonian Campaign — the largest in history for a cultural institution — will transform one of the nation's greatest assets into a 21st century catalyst for change. Through investments in people, places, programs and treasures, we will tell America’s story, spark discovery, inspire lifelong learning and use technologies to reach people everywhere.

The campaign began in fiscal year 2011 and will continue through 2017. Its benefits will extend far beyond its conclusion and make a transformational impact on the Smithsonian’s legacy.

Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute Campaign Priorities

Amidst the greatest mass extinction since the dinosaurs, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute saves species. To accomplish this, our vision must be grand, our goals must be lofty and our action plan must be comprehensive.

Our current fundraising campaigns focus on ambitious projects that will allow us to make a lasting impact on the lives of our visitors, on the lives of the animals in our care, and most importantly, on the survival of some of the world’s most threatened species. Our campaign donors are the leaders, dreamers and visionaries of the world who understand that it is our responsibility to ensure a healthy and biodiverse planet. If you, too, wish to make a lasting impact on species survival, please consider making a contribution to one of our top three campaign priorities.

Experience Migration

artist rendering of the songbird migration shade tree coffee farm exhibitThe Smithsonian's National Zoo is transforming its historic 1928 Bird House into an educational celebration of birds and bird migration. Experience Migration will be a first-of-its-kind  attraction that immerses visitors in birds' miraculous annual journeys, showcasing 25 years of pioneering research by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center through interactive exhibits, walk-through aviaries and a tracking lab. Significant recognition opportunities for donors include naming the aviaries, migratory bird tracking station and outdoor play area, among others. If you are interested in making an impact, please contact us.

Slate Hill Conservation Initiativemaned wolf with pups

We can save species with science, but we need your support. Thanks to a generous $1 million donation from Advisory Board member Hal Brierley and his wife, Diane, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute is beginning to design and implement the Slate Hill Conservation Initiative. Developing the 240-acre Slate Hill site at our facility in Front Royal, Virginia, will give our scientists unprecedented opportunities to increase the number of animals we work with and enable new training and research programs to enhance our ability to save species. SCBI scientists will continue more than 40 years of research on cheetahs, black-footed ferrets, clouded leopards and red pandas; and expand their research to include African painted dogs, red wolves and dholes. Additional funding is needed to continue and complete the development of the Slate Hill Conservation Initiative. If you are interested in making an impact on this incredible undertaking, please contact us.


two keepers measuring a panda cubThe Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute establishes endowed positions, fellowships and program funds to sustain exhibits, research and education programs. Gifts to endow leadership positions provide the financial stability and prestige to attract outstanding scientists and ensure that these innovators have the capacity to react quickly to opportunities and crises. Gifts to endow fellowships enable us to increase the number of research and animal care positions and attract creative new leaders in these fields. Gifts to endow programs and facilities help guarantee the most inspirational guest experiences and the highest quality animal care. Significant recognition opportunities for endowing positions include naming the positions of Director of the National Zoo, the Associate Director of Animal Care Sciences and the Chief Veterinarian, among others. If you are interested in making an impact, please contact us.