"We’re still short about $1 million in terms of overall revenue and that’s hard to replace," explained Don Goff deputy director of Connecticut Beardsley Zoo.
2020 has been a wild experience for the zoo industry and the team at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport said they’re feeling the impact.
"Early on in the season when we first get started we have lots of groups coming in lots of school groups and things of that nature and all that went away," Goff said. "We’ve had lots of zoo supporters and lots of support but it still doesn’t make up for loss of revenue in terms of birthday parties weddings group functions."
With the nearly 100-year-old zoo being closed for two months and capacity now being cut in half, it hasn’t been easy to stay afloat. The team has instituted the new Beardsley Zoo Emergency Operating Fund with the goal of raising enough money to sustain the operation especially through the winter months when attendance is low
"We take monetary donations no matter how big or small. We love the big ones but we love the small ones," Goff said.
The money goes to supporting the zoo and the staff who take care of the animals every day.
Others are also facing tough times. The Mystic Aquarium says their revenue loss has totaled around $11.5 million and although they’ve received some help they say they’ve been leaning heavily on their digital platforms to engage with guests.
"We have seen a lot more people become engaged with the aquarium who are participating in our online programs," Roslyn Gilhuly - SVP of external relations for Mystic Aquarium said.
"Donations are critically important to our survival and to also move the organization into the new year."
The zoo isn’t just about providing experiences but also giving exposure and education to those who visit. Those interested in donating to the Beardsley Zoo Emergency Fund can do so here.