A record-breaking 35,701 guests celebrated the Cleveland Foundation's 100-year anniversary today with free admission to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Today's attendance is the highest single day attendance at the Zoo since June 13, 2011 when 24,746 guests were recorded.
This is the first time in nearly 20 years that Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has offered free weekend admission to all visitors, including admission to The RainForest.
The Cleveland Foundation Day at the Zoo was the foundation's latest gift to the community as part of its 12-month centennial celebration in 2014.
Staff members from Cleveland Metroparks, the Zoo and the Cleveland Zoological Society collaborated with almost 100 volunteers to make it a day to remember for local families with activities and entertainment in honor of Earth Day which is celebrated in April.
"We opened the Zoo gates for this rare free day to help make sure the entire community could experience and enjoy all that it, and the entire Park District, offers," said Robert E. Eckardt, executive vice president of the Cleveland Foundation. "We are thrilled that a record number of Greater Clevelanders took advantage of our Cleveland Foundation Day. It's a key goal of our monthly gifts to make the community aware of the nationally renowned assets available right in our own backyard."
Guests were treated to music, animal enrichment demonstrations, Meet the Keeper sessions, live animal shows, costumed mascot characters, crafts and plenty of hands-on interactive programs and activities.
"We're honored that the Cleveland Foundation chose the Park District to be part of its year-long anniversary celebration," said Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman. "Today we made history, shared our mission and helped make memories for a record-breaking number of families who came out to play."
The Cleveland Foundation played a key role in the creation of Cleveland Metroparks and has given $2.2 million to the Park District over the years to help support various reservations, nature centers, and educational programs, and granted $3.7 million to the Zoo Society/Zoo to help with exhibit construction and other projects. Most recently, the foundation granted support to help the transfer of lakefront parks from the state to the Park District.