San Diego Zoo Receives $15 Million Gift

The San Diego Zoo has received a $15 million gift from longtime donor Conrad Prebys to renovate and expand its big cat and koala exhibits, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The largest single donation in the history of the zoo will be used to transform the Big Cat Trail into a winding walkway and enhance its Africa Rocks section; redesign the northeastern side of the koala exhibit; and expand the zoo's Outback region. The renovations are scheduled to be completed in time for the zoo's centennial celebration in 2016.

According to, Prebys, president of the Progress Construction and Management Company, amassed his fortune in real estate by building and developing properties nationwide. Over the years, he has made significant contributions to various organizations in Southern California, including a $10 million gift to Scripps Health; $10 million to the Old Globe Theatre; and $1 million to the Boys & Girls Club of East County. His latest gift to the zoo is in addition to a $10.1 million donation he made in 2007 for renovations to the Polar Bear Plunge and elephant care center.

"We have the ability to have a facility that's world-class because of gifts like Conrad's," San Diego Zoo CEO Douglas Myers told the Union-Tribune. "It's really transformational to the zoo."

Diane Bell. "Zoo Gets $15 Million Gift and a New Look." San Diego Union-Tribune 03/27/2011. Hannah Martine. "San Diego Zoo Receives $15 Million Donation." 03/28/2011.