Andrew Erkenbrecher Society

In honor of the Zoo’s founder, the Andrew Erkenbrecher Society was created to recognize our dedicated and visionary donors who give $1,000 or more annually to support the mission of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. This distinguished membership includes all the benefits of a Platinum level membership plus exclusive benefits.

We invite you to join the Andrew Erkenbrecher Society today!


Donor Club Benefits Include:

AES Curator: $1000 - $2499

  • Family membership, including:
    • Unlimited free entry for two names adults and children in the same household or grandchildren under 18 (limit 8)
    • FREE parking for one vehicle per adult, per day
    • Unlimited rides on the Zoo Train and Carousel
    • Early entry to the Zoo (mid March through October)
    • Free or discounted admission to over 100 other zoos and aquariums
    • Two half-price guests each visit
    • Discounts on Zoo education classes, camps and lectures
    • Eight guests per visit (named cardholder must accompany all guests)
  • Invitation to Springtime VIP event
  • Monthly Behind the Scenes (BTS) drawing: Opt in for a chance to win a BTS with an Animal Curator
  • Invitation to the Donor Festival of Lights Preview Night
  • Invitation to at least two Donor Club appreciation events per year
  • Invitation to new habitat openings
  • Recognition in the Zoo’s Annual Report
  • Subscription to the Zoo’s Donor Magazine (during active membership cycle)
  • Tax deduction according to IRS regulations

AES Explorer: $2500 - $4999

All benefits of an AES Curator, plus:

  • One complimentary private VIP tour for up to four people*

AES Director: $5000 - $9999

All benefits of an AES Explorer, plus:

Invitation to a special event with Zoo Director, Thane Maynard

AES President: $10,000+

All benefits of an AES Director, plus:

Exclusive adventure with Zoo Director, Thane Maynard

Donor Club level memberships are valid for two adults and children 18 and under at one household. Grandchildren 18 and under may also be included.

Join the Andrew Erkenbrecher Society

Keeper Circle

Explore the Keeper Circle, a unique opportunity to support your Zoo with an annual charitable gift between $500 and $999 and enjoy exclusive benefits! Maintain all the benefits of a Platinum level membership plus exclusive benefits. Become a Keeper Circle Donor Club member today!


Donor Club Benefits:
  • Family membership, including:
    • Unlimited free entry for two names adults and children in the same household or grandchildren under 18 (limit 8)
    • FREE parking for one vehicle per adult, per day
    • Unlimited rides on the Zoo Train and Carousel
    • Early entry to the Zoo (mid March through October)
    • Free or discounted admission to over 100 other zoos and aquariums
    • Two half-price guests each visit
    • Discounts on Zoo education classes, camps and lectures
    • Six guests per visit (named cardholder must accompany all guests)
  • Monthly Behind the Scenes (BTS) drawing: Opt in for a chance to win a BTS with an Animal Curator
  • Invitation to the Donor Festival of Lights Preview Night
  • Invitation to at least two Donor Club appreciation events per year
  • Invitation to new habitat openings
  • Recognition in the Zoo’s Annual Report
  • Tax deduction according to IRS regulations
Join Keeper Circle

1875 Founders Circle

more home to roamIn 2025, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden turns 150 years old! As we look to the future, we’re excited for our next chapter, More Home to Roam. A bold and achievable $150 million campaign that will dramatically enhance animal habitats at our Zoo and greatly improve the visitor experience. More Home to Roam will inspire guests for generations to come, all while providing better homes for our animals and a better Zoo for our community.

Our newest donor club, 1875 Founders Circle celebrates the year the Cincinnati Zoo joined our community and those that have led the way since our gates opened.

By making a gift of $1875 for three years, you will be in on the ground floor of our most monumental, innovative and future-focused capital expansion to date. With your support we can do even more to care for our animals and inspire future generations to take positive action for the world around us.

By joining, you will be among the first to know of new developments and understand fully the impact of our region’s top-rated family attraction and community cornerstone. Those engaged in the 1875 Founders Circle will feel as though they are part of the most exciting and meaningful project in our Zoo’s history!

Join the 1875 Founders Circle

What's New

What’s New with Donor Clubs
We’ve learned so much from you!

This summer we invited you – our Donor Club members – to attend a couple different sessions to share your thoughts on being part of our Donor Clubs. These facilitated sessions guided participants through sharing what they like, don’t like, where they thought we could do better and create innovative ideas on how we could tap into donors’ passion and pride as members of the Zoo family. The goal was to gather input and create a dialogue that informed the Development team so we can keep growing!

What Did We Learn

Expand to read more

The three common themes that seemed to bubble up at every session were:

  • Visibility: You feel that we need to make it easier to find and donate to our Donor Clubs!
  • Pride/Ownership: As a Donor Club member, you realize that you are part of an influential group that helps move our Zoo forward. We need to find more ways for you to be an ambassador of the Zoo.
  • Communication: You believe that communication with our Donor Club members is key! We need to provide more stories about the impact your dollars are having so that you can continue to share the good work of your Zoo.
What have we done already?

Based on what we heard from you, we have adapted the following:

  • Visibility IMPROVED: We updated the membership website to make it easier to find and sign up for Donor Clubs (see for yourself by clicking here)
  • Pride/Ownership IMPROVED: We increased the number of guests per visit from four to six guests for our Keeper Circle Donor Club. This change will help differentiate Keeper Circle from the Platinum Level Membership. Andrew Erkenbrecher Society (AES) members will continue to be able to bring eight guests per visit. This began in January and will be updated as you renew your membership in 2020.
  • Communication IMPROVED: We are committed to reducing the print version of the 2019-2020 Annual Report by six pages, shifting gifts of $500-$999 to an online donor listing versus print version.
What else are we going to do?

We want to continue to improve our Donor Clubs in order to give you the best experience possible. Over the next year, we will:

  • Create donor-specific volunteer opportunities
  • Create a Donor Summit – a new donor event in which donors will be invited to hear exclusive updates directly from Zoo team members and provide an opportunity to share feedback on Zoo initiatives
  • Launch a quarterly e-newsletter for donors containing updates on animals, CREW, donor and staff profiles, and more!
  • Offer a more compelling invitation for donors to level-up at the time of renewal
  • Begin a referral program
  • Create more opportunities to communicate with those in the Platinum Level of Zoo membership so that they may be inspired to become donors!

As you can see, we are deeply committed to improving your donor experience. We hope attendees at the sessions would agree that they were incredibly productive and eye-opening! I welcome any additional ideas or thoughts you may have.

Our hope is that as a Keeper Circle or AES Donor Club member, you will create opportunities to share your passion for the Zoo and extend invitations to others to visit and experience this place you are so committed and connected to. As we enter 2020 together, we will provide more and expanded tools to help you share your pride in our Zoo with others, building upon your investment through visibility, pride/ownership and communication.

Thank you for your incredible friendship and support and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me any time with feedback or questions!

Thank you for your incredible friendship and support and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me any time with feedback or questions!

Donor Highlights

Donor Highlight: Mara Strock

As a resident in the Washington DC area, Mara Strock serves as a volunteer prepping food for the animals in the commissary each week at The Smithsonian’s Washington National Zoo.  When the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden became home to John the lion in May 2013, Mara followed him here to ensure that he was settled and happy.   Fortunately for us, Mara’s love knows no bounds and her care for John has grown to other animals and countless humans in the years since then.

“I watched John grow up at The National Zoo with his brothers and sisters. When he moved, I wanted to see him in Cincinnati. I have always been very attached to John and I’ve fallen in love with Imani and their three girls. I became very close with the Africa team and as I got to know more people I fell in love with the whole zoo.”

Mara’s heart and generosity are limitless. She makes a point of traveling to visit a few times per year to check in on John, Hokies the Fennec Fox (another recruit from National Zoo) and many other beloved animals. She shares, “there’s just something about the Cincinnati Zoo…. everyone makes you feel so welcome.   It’s beautifully laid out and it draws people in.    It has a special feeling to it.”

While reminiscing, Mara recalls so many highlights – seeing Blakeley getting his walks around the zoo; watching Eunice work with Thatcher, Magnolia and Cinder – her beloved three pigs; enjoying camaraderie during Member’s Munchie gatherings; witnessing the incredible rapport between keepers and animals throughout all the habitats; following the birth and growth of tigers and so many other Zoo babies; and interacting with team members spanning from education to the security team – all of whom offer such good spirits and kindness at every turn according to Mara.

“Everyone works so well as a team…everyone seems so happy!”

With consideration of time, talent, treasure and testimony, Mara is one who seems to give in all arenas. Her generosity pours forth from her investment of time to travel to visit the Cincinnati Zoo, her willingness to share hand crafted items to be sold as a fundraiser through Zooster’s Christmas Shop, donations to the Zoo’s annual Toy Drive through the Gift Shop to benefit local school children, her ability to support keepers and animals through donations during the year, and her amazing ability to share pictures, videos and stories that tell the tale of all that is happening here at the Cincinnati Zoo. Her passion is palpable, and her love of the Zoo is contagious!

When asked what she would say to someone regarding being a donor, Mara shared, “It doesn’t matter what amount you give, it all helps the Zoo. Whether it’s five, ten or twenty dollars – it all adds up! And it makes you feel good that you did something to help the animals.  Be a member of the Zoo!!   Attend all they have to offer. Go see Eunice’s Barnyard Show, the Bird Show, the Cheetah Encounter and of course – the famous Fiona! The Zoo has such amazing programs and opportunities for everyone! Allow your family to learn from this place and enjoy every season. Every bit helps keep this important place going.”

Mara goes on to say, “I want to thank everyone at The Cincinnati Zoo for making me always feel welcome, treated as if I am a member of the family and appreciated for everything I do for both the zoo and the animals.”

On behalf of the entire Zoo team, thank you for your generous spirit Mara! Thank you for being an important member of our donor family. We are better because of you.

Staff Highlights

Staff Highlight: Krista Powers

The most delightful mail arrived from my mom last week. In addition to messages of thanks for Christmas treasures, she included six or seven gems she had unearthed while going through piles – notes I had written to her and dad as a young child and a couple of papers I had written for class assignments. One paper went into great detail telling the tale of summer visits to Florida to visit grandparents and the moment one early dawn that I fell in love with manatees. I vividly recall sitting on the end of that dock waiting…hoping…praying with every ounce of my 11-year-old humanity that I would see a manatee. When it happened, I was forever changed and forever enthralled with the beloved sea cows!

For years, I thought I would become a marine biologist. Since I didn’t actually want to pursue all that science education, I pursued my love for manatees in more recreational ways over time. As a young person, I adopted manatees being rehabilitated in Florida each year, had a special behind the scenes encounter at the Zoo and even pursued a life dream of swimming with the manatees in Crystal River. Little did I realize this was all foreshadowing…

As a social worker by trade, I never knew my path would lead to the development team of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. What I did know quickly in life is that I wanted to make as big an impact on the world as possible. After graduating from Xavier University, I ventured out west to Alaska and Portland, Oregon for a year each. As I put my degree into practice, I quickly realized it would be important to pursue graduate school and shift into community change. So, I ventured back to the Midwest, attended a graduate program at the University of Michigan (I grew up outside of Toledo – which has an exceptional Zoo if you’ve not visited), and then landed back in Greater Cincinnati, making Northern Kentucky my home for the past 17 years. My career tenure includes United Way of Greater Cincinnati, The Matthew Kelly Foundation/Dynamic Catholic Institute and the Alzheimer’s Association. Each of these fine organizations taught me the landscape of what is one of the most generous communities around – chock full of passionate people and organizations that set the bar of excellence.

In 2019 I found myself at a fork in the road – ready for a shift. As I thought about where I would want to land next, the two places that seemed to encompass the culture and excellence I was craving were either the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden or Xavier University. After months of conversations, I was elated to pursue a part-time adjunct position at Xavier (Gerontological Social Work) and a full-time role at the Zoo.

It has been a year since joining the Zoo’s team and I can say without a doubt, this is the highest energy, forward-focused, impactful work I have ever had the honor to participate in. As I reflect on why this is such an impressive organization, I boil it down to two reasons: our donors and our team. While I could write pages worth of why our donors are so extraordinary, I’ll simply say that you captivate my heart with your curiosity as well as knowledge, your generosity and the ripple effect created as you share stories and invite others to come and experience the Zoo. Each and every donor plays a vital role in the story of our Zoo – a vibrant story that spans the generations.

In a similar way, the Zoo team is a pack of passionate people who believe in education, conservation, sustainability, botanical beauty, and animal excellence. The degree of commitment poured into tending to the Zoo is immeasurable and we look forward to highlighting various members of the team in upcoming quarterly e-newsletters. I’d like to close by introducing you to my closest colleagues – the Development Team. This is a dynamic team of folks who understand the confidence you place in us is accompanied with great responsibility. It is our honor and privilege to be entrusted with that responsibility and we are committed to ensuring your dollars continue to fuel the momentum that has made this a world-class Zoo. We are happy to be available to you! Please feel free to pop into Treetops to say hello the next time you’re visiting the Zoo!

2020 Development Roster

Net Zero 2025

Net Zero Energy

It’s about time for some good news on the energy front! And it should be no surprise that the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden – the Greenest Zoo in the Nation – is leading the way. Your Zoo will be net-zero energy by 2025.” These are the confident words of the Cincinnati Zoo’s own Vice President of Facilities, Planning & Sustainability, Mark Fisher. Lately, you may have been hearing a lot about net-zero energy. But what does it mean? Why does it matter? And most importantly, what does it have to do with you? Put plainly, by 2025, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden will produce more energy than it will use. In a time where so much focus is being put on environmental issues and creative solutions, the Cincinnati Zoo is stepping up to the challenge to be the world’s first zoo to achieve Net Zero energy.

How do we plan to achieve this? First, let’s start with solar energy. Did you know that your Zoo already has the largest publicly accessible urban solar array anywhere in the country? But we’re not stopping there. The Zoo has made significant progress on building solar arrays at our offsite facility, Bowyer farm, with a goal of having these off-site arrays fully functional by the end of this year. This new installment will be approximately 20 times larger than the current solar array in the Zoo’s main parking lot. Each of these solar arrays convert sunlight into usable clean energy to help power the Zoo.

In addition to this, the Zoo has hired a talented Sustainability Manager who will be involved in all aspects of the Net Zero initiative. Think of her as the resident “energy engineer” of your Zoo. This role will serve to fill a huge piece of the puzzle as we continue to drive down our overall energy usage.

As Mark Fisher says, “your Zoo will be net zero energy by 2025 and that means everyone wins – nature, wildlife, and people as well. The most important, and impactful, step we can take in lowering our footprint on this earth is to dramatically reduce our use of natural resources in our own backyard.”

It is important to note that it is through the dedication and unending support of donors and financial supporters like you that we are able to make this dream of net-zero energy happen. Thank you for your support and thank you for being a part of this important work.

Want to know more? Mark Fisher was highlighted in a recent edition of the Donor Magazine. Click here to read more.

2020 Donor Magazine

Click here, or the image above, to read the 2020 Donor Magazine.

2019 Annual Report

Click here, or the image above, to read the 2019 Annual Report.

2019 Fall Donor Magazine

Click here, or the image above, to read the 2019 Fall Donor Magazine.

2019 Spring Donor Magazine

Click here, or the image above, to read the 2019 Spring Donor Magazine.

2018 More Home to Roam Donor Magazine

Click here, or the image above, to read the 2018 More Home to Roam Donor Magazine.

2018 Spring Donor Magazine

Click here, or the image above, to read the 2018 Spring Donor Magazine.

2017 Fall Donor Magazine

Click here, or the image above, to read the 2017 Fall Donor Magazine.

2017 Donor Magazine

Click here, or the image above, to read the 2017 Donor Magazine.

New Donor Club Event

Join us for the Donor Summit!

We are excited to invite you to a brand new event this year, exclusively for Donor Club members! You will have the opportunity to learn insider information and hear about your dollars at work. Join us as we take a closer look at some of the elements that make your Zoo the best Zoo in the nation!

This event will be jam-packed with exciting updates and passionate speakers to give you a deeper look into all of the different areas of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Hear from Mark Fisher on how your Zoo is leading the way in sustainability efforts or David Orban on how the Cincinnati Zoo uses science to enhance the lives and wellbeing of our animals. Did you know your Zoo is home to a four year college preparatory program? Hear from Melinda Voss about the Zoo’s amazing Education programs. In total, the Donor Summit will feature speakers discussing the following topics: Sustainability, Horticulture, Education, Access for All, CREW, and Animal Excellence.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear how your support is helping to change the world. Formal invitations and RSVP information will be sent out to Donor Club members prior to the event. We hope to see you there!

Stay Informed

Every issue of our quarterly donor e-newsletter contains new stories of changed lives, offers key ways to get involved, and keeps you up-to-date with the latest news and events. By subscribing to our donor e-newsletter, you are joining an essential community of supporters in Cincinnati who are making an important difference in conservation.


css.php