Evansville zoo considers increase in private funding

EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Supporters of Evansville's nearly 90-year-old zoo are pushing for a public-private funding model that would bring in sponsors to help the zoo upgrade and expand.

Generations have flocked to Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden since it opened, but attendance has fallen since 2009. Officials hope to add a penguin exhibit, a carousel and a playground honoring longtime fixture Donna the hippo but need money.

The Evansville Courier & Press reports  revenue at the 50-acre city-owned facility topped $1 million. Director Amos Morris says the zoo will need more private support and possibly even a new governing model to make new projects a reality.

Morris says the zoo is preparing to launch its first capital campaign to raise money for the carousel and penguin exhibit.

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