Zoo Boise connects our visitors with animals to inspire and involve our community in the conservation of wildlife worldwide.
Established in 1916 with the gift of rare birds from the Sportsman’s Club and the acquisition of a chimpanzee that escaped from a traveling circus passing through town, Zoo Boise has seen much growth over the years. During the 1920’s, the Boise Police Department took care of the animals by collecting left-over food from local restaurants and grocery stores. By WWII, the zoo had grown to display 40 different species. Throughout the war and over the next decade, the zoo suffered from neglect, and by 1961 it was in danger of closing. That same year, the Idaho Zoological Society was formed, now known as Friends of Zoo Boise, to support Zoo Boise through capital development, animal acquisition, volunteer opportunities and education programs.
In 2002, Zoo Boise achieved and has since maintained accreditation by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, a distinction shared by less than 10% of the 2,500 zoos and aquariums across the country. Home to more than 250 animals from more than 100 species, Zoo Boise is a living science education facility with a three-part mission of education, recreation and conservation.
Zoo Boise provides a variety of educational programs that play a pivotal role in educating more than 150,000 children, of which 40,000 are school field trip participants. Our interactive programs focus on biological sciences, conservation, and the importance of responsible stewardship.
Zoo Boise strives to remain an affordable recreational destination, and because of this and our continuing improvements, our attendance records continue to grow. Last year, we welcomed more than 322,000 visitors. The zoo hosts a number of special events throughout the year, including Boo at the Zoo, Easter Eggstravaganza and Run Wild. In 2013, the zoo will also open a jellyfish and African cichlid exhibit, as well as a new Overnight Safari Camp and summertime Dinomotion exhibit.
Zoo Boise has committed itself to support wildlife conservation in response to the growing extinction crisis that threatens such species as tigers, gorillas, pandas and countless others. The zoo has created the Zoo Boise Conservation Fund from fees added to admission and membership prices, opening additional attractions such as the Giraffe Encounter and Zoo Farm and committing 10% of all capital funds to support wildlife conservation projects in Idaho and around the world. On May 4, 2013, Zoo Boise will celebrate surpassing $1,000,000 in conservation grants made since 2007 with the Zoo Boise Wildlife Conservation Expo.
Zoo Boise has turned the act of visiting the zoo into a conservation action - Keep Your World Wild!