New snow leopard’s arrival among highlights of December Gift to the Community

ZOO LOGO Tag NR.jpgMilwaukee, Wis., Dec. 7, 2015 – The grand finale to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s centennial Gifts to the Community will feature six days of free access to the Milwaukee County Zoo, headlined by the Zoo’s newest resident – Asa the snow leopard.

Each month in its 100th year of service, the Foundation has brought the community together to celebrate and experience important places and events that define and enhance the region. For the culminating Gift to the Community, every person visiting the Zoo Saturday, Dec. 26, through Thursday, Dec. 31, will receive free admission and free parking. Operating hours will be extended for the week, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day.

Asa’s journey to Milwaukee began this summer when the Foundation announced it would help the Zoo acquire two new snow leopards for its July Gift to the Community. A young male born in New York, Asa is the first of the big cats to arrive. A female snow leopard from Switzerland is expected to join the Zoo in 2016.

“We are so excited for the community to meet Asa, and I can’t imagine a more perfect opportunity than giving everyone the chance to visit the Zoo for free in the final week of the Foundation’s centennial year,” said Ellen Gilligan, president and CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. “With most children home from school and with multiple free days from which to choose, we hope as many people as possible include the Zoo in their December plans.”

A Woodlands Winter theme and a variety of special activities will greet guests of the Zoo during the Foundation’s access days. Highlights include:

  • Animal Talks – Zoo Pride volunteers at various exhibits will make special presentations to visitors, explaining animals’ daily care, interesting facts and answering questions.
  • Animal Enrichment – Zookeepers will demonstrate the art and science of animal enrichment, the necessary activities to keep Zoo animals engaged and healthy.
  • Ice Carving – Professional ice carvers will demonstrate their unique talent in this seasonal artistic medium with custom sculptures featured throughout the grounds.
  • Craft Projects – Children and guests of all ages are invited to create animal-related crafts and projects
  • Kohl’s Wild Theater – The Zoological Society of Milwaukee’s award-winning theater act will present two live entertaining and educational performances per day.

“We are grateful for the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s generous donation; first for the assistance in the acquisition of two new snow leopards, and secondly to offer guests the opportunity to visit the Zoo for free, beginning the day after Christmas through the end of the year,” said Charles Wikenhauser, director of the Milwaukee County Zoo. “We hope visitors will take advantage of this special free week during the holiday season and enjoy all the Zoo has to offer.”

The Foundation additionally invites guests of all ages to offer their hopes for the future of the community by participating in a unique “Post-a-Hope” project available at the Zoo at various times throughout the week. Inspiration and aspirations are welcome!

For questions about the December Gift to the Community, call (414) 771-3040 or visit for additional information. Milwaukee County Zoo is located at 10001 W. Bluemound Road, Milwaukee, Wis.

Last month, more than 18,000 people attended the closing day of Holiday Folk Fair International for free through the Foundation’s centennial gift. Through 11 months, more than a quarter million people have participated in the Gifts to the Community.

About the Greater Milwaukee Foundation

For a century, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation has helped individuals, families and organizations realize their philanthropic goals and make a difference in the community, during their lifetimes and for future generations. The Foundation consists of more than 1,200 individual charitable funds, each created by donors to serve the charitable causes of their choice. The Foundation also deploys both human and financial resources to address the most critical needs of the community and ensure the vitality of the region. Established in 1915, the Foundation was one of the first community foundations in the world. Ending 2014 with more than $841 million in assets, it is also among the largest.