Cincinnati Zoo in the form of their A.D.O.P.T. program. Through donation to this program you can "adopt" an animal of your choice from the zoo. My children love animals and the Cincinnati Zoo is one of their favorite outings. In addition to our sight-seeing romps, my children also attend classes where they learn about animals and are given the chance to touch various critters in a safe environment. (One of our favorites has always been Minnie, the Chinchilla. You've never felt such soft fur!) The Zoo also has an annual Festival of Lights in December, a Hall-Zoo-Ween celebration in October, Zoo Babies in the spring, and some of the most gorgeous flowers to be found in the city.
In addition, they are working hard make the Zoo environmentally friendly and to live up to their reputation as "The Greenest Zoo in America." They incorporate wind power, green building practices for new construction, energy efficient products, and water conservation into daily operations. This year they are embarking on a new project with solar energy. A huge parking area will be covered with a canopy of solar panels, the largest urban, publicly accessible solar array in the country. It is expected to generate about 20% of the Zoo's energy needs and they are hopeful that some sunny and cool days they can be off the grid completely. It's this kind of innovative thinking that gets me excited, and hopeful, about the future. (Please check out this link to the Zoo's website for more information or watch the brief video below. It's awesome!)
Save the Manatee Club as well, so these gentle giants have a special place in our hearts.) Higher donation levels come with even more perks such as Zoo shop discounts, Christmas ornaments, and docent-lead tours. It's a nice way to give back to the Zoo for all the knowledge and joy they've given my children. And it's a good lesson for the kids as well.
If you're planning a trip to Cincinnati, be sure to check out www.cincinnatizoo.org and pay then a visit. Tell the manatees we said "hi"!