JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Jan. 31, 2020) — The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is providing guests with the opportunity to donate directly to Australian bushfire relief efforts during the month of February and ending the month with a Leap Day event on Feb. 29.

Throughout the month, guests can donate $1 when buying tickets at the front gate and receive a sticker to show their support. Additionally, for Leap Day on Saturday, Feb. 29, the Zoo and Gardens will host an event included with Zoo admission on the Great Lawn from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Zoo will donate $5 from each admission on Feb. 29 to relief efforts. Attendees will experience a wallaby visit, education about native species to Australia, music, crafts, and “leap” themed games and activities.

“Our hearts are heavy for the communities and wildlife affected by the bushfires in Australia, including many threatened and endangered species. The habitat destroyed has displaced many native wildlife and will take years to recover the land to support these species again. We cannot bring back the plants and animals that have perished, but the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens hopes our donation will make a small impact in this very complex crisis facing the country of Australia,” said Executive Director Tony Vecchio.

In an effort to support both immediate aid to native species and the long-term habitat recovery, all donations collected by the Zoo and Gardens will be sent to the Zoos Victoria Bushfire Emergency Wildlife FundTaronga Conservation Society Australia Wildlife Crisis Appeal, and The Great Koala National Park land protection initiative.

February is an exciting time to visit the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, with many experiences featuring art and conservation. Guests can find 16 new sculptures throughout the Zoo made by a group of artists from impoverished and disadvantaged backgrounds, who were recruited by Wildlife Garden Creations in Nairobi, Kenya. Every piece is made from recycled metal, including scraps from metal barrels and auto parts.

February is also the final month displaying the captivating images in the National Geographic Photo Ark installation. The annual Manatee Festival is scheduled for Saturday, February 15 to celebrate Florida’s most beloved resident. For more information about February’s events, visit JacksonvilleZoo.org.

About Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

For over 100 years, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has aimed to inspire the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. Starting in 1914 with an animal collection of one red deer fawn, the Zoo now has more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 species of plants, boasting the largest botanical garden in Northeast Florida. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a nonprofit organization and a portion of every ticket sold goes to the over 45 conservation initiatives Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens supports around the world, and here in NE Florida. JZG is proud to be an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information, visit jacksonvillezoo.org.