One Great Zoo

The beautiful Santa Barbara Zoo is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (Tax ID# 95-2268554). We depend on the support of the community, not tax dollars, for operations and improvements.

There are many ways to support the Santa Barbara Zoo. You can make a general donation, sponsor an animal, or even buy enrichment items (toys) for the animals.

Sponsor an Animal

Foster Feeders help the Santa Barbara Zoo provide a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet for all of the animals. The Zoo’s food bill is $230,000 a year and there are more than 500 animals to feed. Various animal sponsorship levels are available with different, wild benefits!

Event Sponsorships

From the Snow Leopard Festival to Zoofari Ball – events are always wild at the Santa Barbara Zoo! Event sponsorships are a wonderful way to support the Zoo and gain exposure for your business.

Please contact Elaine K. Mah Best, Director of Development by email or phone (805) 679-8450 to learn more about the benefits of being a Zoo event sponsor.

Special Projects

Whether we’re modifying a barn to accommodate the needs of a newborn calf or purchasing a new vehicle to safely rescue endangered animals in remote areas – funds for special projects allow the Zoo to make repairs and replacements when most needed and you can help!

Please contact Elaine K. Mah Best, Director of Development by email or phone (805) 679-8450 to learn more about the current priority projects at the Zoo.

Donate Your Green Waste

Green waste that includes non-toxic branches and leaves from specific species of trees and shrubs, such as bamboo and grapevines, make up an important part of our animals’ diets. Won’t you consider giving yours to the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo?
Find out more about our browse donation program.

Planned Giving:
Leave a Legacy to the Santa Barbara Zoo

Did you know that planned and estate gifts may provide these benefits?

  • Lifetime income
  • Income tax deduction
  • Reduction of estate taxes and probate costs
  • Avoidance or reduction of capital gains taxes

Learn more about planned giving here.

The Phoenix Society recognizes those visionary and caring individuals who help to ensure the future of the Zoo by remembering the Zoo in their planned or estate gifts. Phoenix Society Benefits:

  • Golden Membership to the Zoo*
  • Invitation to the annual appreciation event
  • Invitation to other exclusive Zoo events
  • Recognition on the Phoenix Society plaque

*Golden Memberships are valid for 50 years and will be given to Phoenix Society Members who have provided the Zoo with a copy of the page(s) of their estate plans that specifies a gift to the Zoo.

The preparation of wills and trusts needs an attorney’s professional training. These examples are shown as a public service to provide accurate information of a general nature only. For your specific circumstances, professional legal and tax advice should always be sought.

For help in making a planned or estate gift to benefit the Santa Barbara Zoo, please contact Elaine Mah Best, Director of Development by phone (805) 962-5339, ext. 109 or email Elaine Mah Best.

Donation Requests

If your nonprofit organization is holding a fundraiser, the Santa Barbara Zoo may be able to help by donating two guest passes to be auctioned or raffled off. Your organization and fundraiser must meet the following criteria to be considered for a donation:

  • Organization is located in the state of California
  • Organization is a 501(c3) with a Federal nonprofit I.D. number
  • Zoo passes will be used in a fundraising capacity (i.e. auctioned or raffled)
  • You have not already received a donation from the Santa Barbara Zoo this year

If you meet all of these guidelines, please download our Guest Pass Request Form to apply for consideration.

Please be advised that applications or letters of inquiry which do not meet all of the above guidelines will receive no response.

Santa Barbara Zoo guest passes will expire one year from the date of your event; no extensions can be granted. The passes have no cash value and may only be used for general admission at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Due to the great number of requests the Zoo receives, we can only give out passes to each nonprofit organization once per year.

Charity Information

The Santa Barbara Zoo is a private, nonprofit organization that relies on revenues generated from ticket sales, memberships, concessions, education programs, private events, and donations from generous individuals just like you to sustain our operating budget.  In addition, donations are needed to support outreach programs and capital improvements.

More information can be found on the Zoo’s Donor Bill of Rights, Donor Privacy PolicyAnnual Reports, IRS 990s, and Audited Financial Statements.