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Donation Supports Expansion of Zoo’s Africa Exhibit; Contributes to Zoo’s Transformational Journey

Cincinnati, OH – (August 30, 2011) –  The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the second oldest zoo in the country, received a $1 million donation today from Kroger (NYSE: KR), the nation’s largest traditional grocery retailer, and PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), the world’s second largest food and beverage company.  The funding will be used to expand the Zoo’s new Africa exhibit.

Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo said the funding will support the largest and most ambitious wildlife exhibit project ever undertaken in the Cincinnati Zoo’s 136-year history – Africa.  “Donations from corporate partners like Pepsi and Kroger help the Zoo continue its central objective – to inspire every visitor with wildlife every day,” Maynard said.  “This support enables the Zoo’s transformational journey.  Soon, baboons, leopards, ostrich, cranes, storks and even hippos will join our incredibly popular giraffe and cheetah habitats here in Cincinnati.”

Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. has been a longstanding supporter of the Zoo.  Founded in 1883, the grocery retailer is deeply committed to the communities it serves across the country.  “For well over 25 years, we have successfully partnered on several of the Zoo’s endeavors and exhibits,” said Sukanya Madlinger, President of Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division.  “We are honored by the opportunity to grow that partnership,” she said.  “The Kroger Co. shares with the Zoo and PepsiCo a commitment to educational possibilities and investing in the area where our customers and associates live and work.  This project is truly another jewel in the crown of the Queen City.”

PepsiCo echoes Kroger’s support.  “PepsiCo is committed to Performance with Purpose, and is always proud to support local institutions and invest in the communities where we work, live and do business,” said John Boes, Vice President & General Manager PepsiCo Kroger Team.  “The Cincinnati Zoo is one of the city’s great institutions, and adds both educational and cultural value to the community.  We’re proud to partner with Kroger and help the Zoo grow and attract visitors from near and far.”

Africa, a $25.4 million project, is being completed in four phases as funds are raised by the Zoo. With phases I and II already complete, the Zoo is focused on phase III, a wider vista that will offer visitors the opportunity to see African primates such as the olive baboon, Africa’s most endangered predator, the African wild dog, and a mixed herd of antelope, eland, and zebra together with some of Africa’s most spectacular birds, such as ostrich, grey-crowned crane, and marabou stork.  Overlooking Africa will be a new dining concept that will be without rival in the region.  This indoor and outdoor facility will include group rental facilities as well as an African-themed restaurant for visitors.  With $4.3 million still needed to complete Phase III, the Zoo expects Africa to open in 2014. 

A final $7 million phase IV will bring hippos, one of the most remarkable and fearsome creatures in all of Africa.  The hippo area will give visitors a dramatic experience by providing both above- and below-water viewing – a much anticipated and desired exhibit by Zoo visitors.

Upon completion, Africa will provide 8 acres of total exhibit and green space for wildlife, much of which was the Zoo’s former main parking lot.  Not only will this be the largest exhibit in the Zoo’s history, but it also continues the Zoo’s commitment to “green” development and sustainable design which is the upmost priority to the Greenest Zoo in America.