The San Antonio Zoo received the largest donation in its history in the form of a $10 million gift from the Ralston Family Charitable Foundation.
The generous donation will go toward building a unique event center called The Ralston that will overlook the lion exhibit at Big Cat Valley and a soon-to-open gorilla exhibit dubbed Congo Falls.
The new 500-person capacity event center will also feature a 60-foot tower, allowing gorillas to come and interact with guests attending galas, fundraisers, weddings, and other occasions.
“My family and I are passionate about wildlife and conservation, and our hope is that The Ralston and the events that are held there will help fund and fuel even more conservation efforts around the globe,” said Shannon Ralston in a statement.
Construction of The Ralston is part of the zoo’s $67 million Phase 1 master plan, which includes a new zoo entrance set to open in December, with the gorilla habitat and event center set to reach completion by early 2025.
“Shannon, her family, and The Ralston Family Charitable Foundation’s generous support will significantly advance our efforts to create a better future for San Antonio Zoo and the incredible animals we care for,” Zoo CEO Tim Morrow said in a statement.
“We are deeply grateful for this gift, Shannon’s commitment to our community, and the lasting impact her contribution will have on our zoo and worldwide conservation efforts.”