Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

About Como Friends

Our Mission

We inspire community generosity to advance Como Park Zoo & Conservatory as a destination where people from all walks of life can gather, learn and enjoy the natural world.

Our Core Values

  • Engage the community and donors of Como Friends.
  • Steward the resources entrusted to us, and respect the wishes of each donor.
  • Embrace Como Friends’ growth to support continuous improvements of Como Park Zoo & Conservatory.
  • Serve as a model for an exemplary public-private partnership with the City of Saint Paul.
  • Honor the traditions of Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in our community.
  • Support education and enjoyment for all, with special concern for those who may not otherwise have access.

Our History

Created by volunteers and boosters, community donors and docents, Como Friends is the nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting, preserving and enhancing Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. Since forming in 1999, Como Friends has reinvested more than $30 million in programs and projects at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory that have helped to make this free-admission treasure Minnesota’s most visited cultural destination. Contributions support three initiatives:

  • Visionary capital improvements such as the Visitor Center, Tropical Encounters, Polar Bear Odyssey and the upcoming Japanese Garden Experience.
  • Annual investments in programs and improvements to benefit animals, gardens and visitors. Recent gifts have made possible a renovated Sparky Amphitheater, expanded education programs that now reach nearly a half million visitors each year, new gardens in front of the Visitor Center, and a new face-lift for the Primate Building for the newly opened Gorilla Forest exhibit.
  • Creation and growth of endowment funds to support garden and animal habitat improvements and education initiatives, transforming Como’s future for the 21st century. Funds have grown from $12,000 to $5.6 million.

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