A nonprofit corporation organized to develop financial support, growth, and community awareness for the Santa Ana Zoo.
The Friends of Santa Ana Zoo was founded in 1972 by a group of volunteers, aided by Barbara Berton, as the Santa Ana Zoologicial Society. These volunteers bonded with the common goal of enhancing the Zoo's services and providing financial support for the needs of the animals. The organization received official tax-exempt status in September 1975, and the Friends of Santa Ana Zoo was born. Since that time, the organization has grown to include 4 full-time employees and has an annual organizational budget of $987,667.
Today, the Friends of Santa Ana Zoo provides assistance to the Santa Ana Zoo in various areas including the Animal Adoption program and Guest Services, which include staffing and stocking the Zoo's Gift Shop, operating the "Zoofari Express" train ride, seasonal elephant rides, facility rentals, and marketing and communications. FOSAZ also hosts various special events throughout the year, such as: the Zoo Birthday Party, which includes music and games for Zoo visitors; Zoofari, a large-scale black-tie gala fundraiser; Boo at the Zoo, a Halloween-themed attraction held during five evenings in October; and members-only events such as a New Members Tour, Zoo-B-Que, and Sunset at the Zoo. FOSAZ also supports capital projects and Zoo educational programs, recruiting volunteers and seeking funds for improvements and expanded programming.