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San Antonio Zoo gets lion's share of new multimillion-dollar grant

San Antonio Zoo gets lion's share of new multimillion-dollar grant

San Antonio Zoo baby lion cubs Tony Parker names Axelle Josh TP November 2015
The San Antonio Zoo will use the endowment to fund field trips for underprivileged school districts. San Antonio Zoo/Facebook

Going to the zoo is a rite of passage for school kids across the country, but affording the ticket fee (not to mention concessions and a commemorative stuffed tiger) can be tough. Here in San Antonio, locally-based Valero is hoping to ease that burden with a new $3 million grant. 

The petroleum and energy company created the endowment as a way for underprivileged schools to afford field trips to the San Antonio Zoo. In an interview with KSAT, San Antonio Zoo CEO Tim Morrow said endowments like Valero's are critical to getting children outside and experiencing nature.

"Children today don't spend as much time outside as maybe our generation did," Morrow told KSAT. "We're getting them outside, connected to these animals that are quickly disappearing from the wild and learning about conservation efforts and why conservation is so critical on our planet." 

In addition to funding educational initiatives, the money will also be used for field trip bussing and transportation, which can be costly. 

As TexasHillCountry.com notes, the park has been one of the city's biggest attractions for more than a century. In addition to hosting upwards of one million visitors a year, the San Antonio Zoo also boasts one of the world's largest collections of birds.

"Our hope is to see guests and zoo crew become advocates for wildlife, carrying the torch for conservation and education and lighting the way for others around them," says the zoo on its website.