The Washington, D.C. region’s premier family destination and a global leader in conservation, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is a force in animal care, cutting-edge research and environmental education. The Zoo welcomes more than 2.3 million visitors each year plus nearly 7 million more online.
Sponsorships allow companies to enhance their visibility and demonstrate their philanthropic and environmental commitments to target audiences in the local region, across the country and around the globe. Recognition and benefits offer companies the opportunity to align their brands with not only the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, but also the world’s largest museum and research complex. Partnerships may take the form of both monetary and in-kind donations.
Corporate partners allow the Zoo and SCBI to maintain and improve world-class standards in animal care, visitor experience, research, and sustainability, through the opportunity to sponsor exhibits, science and conservation programs around the world, and annual on-site events.
Sponsor an Exhibit
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is the favorite destination for families with children in the Washington, D.C. region and a magnet for animal lovers worldwide. The Zoo provides fun, engaging and inspirational experiences with animals, and through the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, is renowned for a long history and commitment to the scientific study and conservation of animals and their habitats throughout the world. Along with increased efforts in research and conservation comes the need to expand public understanding of and passion for wildlife and the environment. Today, all of the Zoo’s exhibits convey important messages about species conservation and what visitors can do to help us fulfill our mission to save species.
Companies that sponsor exhibits have the opportunity to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility initiatives to hundreds of thousands of households in key target demographics. Coca-Cola, for example, highlights its commitment to water conservation through its sponsorship of the underwater viewing pavilion at the Zoo’s LEED-certified seal lion exhibit. Sponsor names and logos are prominently displayed in signage and other materials related to the sponsored exhibit. Several exhibits with optimal visibility through public demonstrations and foot traffic are currently available for sponsorship.
For additional information on exhibit sponsorship, please contact us.
Understanding the implications of conservation efforts for corporate bottom lines, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute works with companies to identify potential areas of support for research, training, animal care and public education goals.
For additional information on science sponsorship, please contact us.
Examples of successful science partnerships include:
Science partnership with ConocoPhillips
ConocoPhillips supports the Zoo and SCBI research to protect migratory birds and their habitats. This partnership supports signature conservation tracking projects, including migratory connectivity information for several bird species that follow a migratory flyway that aligns with key ConocoPhillips locations. The partnership has also allowed scientists to create species-specific maps to contribute to the Atlas of Migratory Connectivity for the Birds of North America, as well as to continue to grow banding and educational programs at the Mad Island Preserve in Matagorda, Texas, where the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center established a bird banding station that captures and bands thousands of migratory song birds each year. ConocoPhillips is also sharing its commitment to the environment with the 2.3 million visitors to the Zoo by sponsoring the "Bird Bridge" leading from Elephant Trails to the historic 1928 Bird House.
Science partnership with Ford
The Ford Motor Company Fund supports the Zoo and SCBI's giant panda program by funding the research partnership with Chinese colleagues. In China, Zoo and SCBI scientists work with their Chinese counterparts to better understand giant panda health and reproduction. With the Fund’s support, researchers are also assisting Chinese colleagues in creating a Wildlife Disease Control Center, a key component of efforts to reintroduce giant pandas back into the wild.
In addition, the Ford Motor Company Fund sponsors the Zoo's Giant Panda Cam. This technology enhances scientific research efforts while providing millions of web visitors the opportunity to watch giant pandas live on the internet. In 2015, over 2.3 million visitors came to the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat where, in addition to seeing giant pandas, can view volunteer behavior watchers operating the Panda Cam. In 2015, the Panda Cam, sponsored by Ford Motor Company, was viewed more than 38 million times.
Science partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton
Booz Allen Hamilton has partnered with the Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center to support the Neighborhood Nestwatch program. The Neighborhood Nestwatch program works to educate the public about the wonders of bird migration and what they can do to protect birds in their own backyards. Participants learn about birds and help scientists solve critical questions regarding the survival of backyard bird populations. With the support of Booz Allen, Zoo and SCBI researchers continue to work with neighbors and school groups to build the scientific understanding of birds throughout the Washington, D.C. region.
Sponsor an Event
Sponsorship funds directly support the Zoo’s important science, research, conservation and education programs. Benefits range from logo recognition on in-park banners, programs, invitations and print advertising to booth space from which sponsors can interact with guests. There are also opportunities for product sampling and giveaways.
For additional information, please contact us.
Annual events include:
Easter Monday: A Washington Family Tradition
Easter Monday at the Zoo has been a regional tradition for more than 100 years. Activities include special animal demonstrations, an egg roll, field games, music performances and a food bazaar.
Free admission. Attendance: 15,000–20,000
Our annual fundraising gala is Washington, D.C.’s wildest party: an evening of gourmet foods, fine wines, fabulous entertainment and dancing under the stars. Party goers include corporate, political and community leaders who enjoy a taste of Washington, D.C., served by the region's finest restaurants. Highlights also include behind-the-scenes tours of the Zoo, a private VIP reception and a silent auction.
Ticketed. Attendance: 3,500
Brew at the Zoo
Dozens of microbreweries from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., along with European breweries, share their handcrafted beers. Top area restaurants provide hors d’oeuvres while guests enjoy live music.
Ticketed. Attendance: 2,500
ZooFiesta celebrates Hispanic Heritage month at the Zoo. With animal demonstrations, Hispanic and Latino music, costumed dancers, salsa and merengue lessons, traditional crafts, and Latin American foods, the event draws thousands of families from the local community every year. Animal programs are presented in both Spanish and English.
Free admission. Attendance: 20,000–25,000.
Boo at the Zoo
Boo at the Zoo offers Washington, D.C.-area families a safe, fun-filled “trick-or-treat” at the Zoo. Children can visit 40 candy and food stations, enjoy animal demonstrations, participate in pumpkin stomps and many other spooktacular activities.
Ticketed. Attendance: 18,500
Night of the Living Zoo
Young professionals flock to this edgy, adults-only Halloween event featuring live entertainment and a group costume contest. Performance artists, including fire-eaters, illusionists and palm readers, round out the evening.
Ticketed. Attendance: 2,500
The Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland with dozens of animated light displays, holiday-themed treats, festive decorations and family-friendly entertainment. Guests stroll along the Zoo’s main path marveling at soaring eagles, playful prairie dogs and leaping frogs, all constructed with LED lights. Highlights include a model train display, train rides for children and a tubing track.
Free admission. Attendance: 180,000+
Host an Event
Companies that make an unrestricted donation to the Zoo are invited to co-host a special event in celebration of their gift at one of the Zoo's various event sites. Your contribution supports the Zoo's important wildlife conservation, science and public education programs. Donation levels are dependent on event site, time of event and group size. Donations are tax-deductible and do not include any direct event costs such as catering, tents or additional expenses.
PLEASE NOTE: Events of a personal nature, such as weddings, as well as fundraising, product marketing, religious, commercially ticketed and political functions, are not permitted. Corporate events must comply with Smithsonian policies and guidelines.