Welcome Plaza

Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Welcome Pavilion

For each admission sold visitors will receive a token representing a quarter for conservation. Guests then use their token at a kiosk display to vote for one of three ongoing Zoo field projects including:

Andean Bear
Elusive yet charismatic, Andean Bears are the only surviving species of bear native to South America, and the last remaining of the short-faced bears in the world. Experts predict that that Andean Bears will be considered endangered in the next 20 years. Research on bear distribution and numbers is needed to design effective conservation strategies for this threatened species. The Andean Bear Conservation Alliance represents a collaborative, coordinated, and efficient approach to the conservation of the Andean bear throughout its range. ABCA is a partnership initiative of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, in collaboration with the IUCN Bear Specialist Group and other partners working to create range-wide conservation plans for the Andean bear. Learn More About Andean Bears

Asian Turtle

Nearly 1/3 of all and freshwater turtle and tortoise species are found in Asia and are threatened by large-scale, unsustainable trade for sale in food markets and traditional medicine. Learn More About Asian Turtles


Giraffe are one of the most recognized and beloved animals on the planet. Surprisingly, their numbers are declining across Africa – the population has decreased by nearly 40% in the last 15 years. Poaching, habitat loss, and disease continue to threaten existing giraffe populations. In partnership with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) we are working to secure a future for all giraffe populations by promoting giraffe conservation and supporting innovative research, conservation and management to better understand giraffe ecology, genetics, conservation and management. Learn More About Giraffe


Gorillas are powerful yet shy and intelligent. Eastern gorillas (Grauer’s and mountain gorillas) are severely affected by human activity. They are hunted and their habitat is being lost to mining and agriculture. Only 850 mountain gorillas remain in two populations in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Fewer than 3500 Grauer’s gorillas remain in DRC. Learn More About Gorilla

Lion and Cheetah

Lion populations have decreased by more than 40% in the last 20 years, and are likely to half again in the next two decades unless a major conservation effort is mounted to save them. Central to protecting lions is supporting the human communities that share their home turf in Tanzania’s Ruaha landscape, a globally important region for carnivore conservation. In partnership with the Ruaha Carnivore Project, we are working to develop effective, long-term conservation strategies for lions and other large carnivore in Tanzania.Learn more about Lion and Cheetah.

Illegal Wildlife Trade

The illegal wildlife trade is consuming wildlife at alarming rates and is a grave threat to the survival of the earths’ species. This escalating trade, a black market turned ‘big business’, is estimated to be worth more than $15 billion a year. Elephant ivory and rhino horn might come to mind, but a myriad of plant and animal species are taken from their wild habitats and sold as pets, parts, products and more. Controlled by dangerous international criminal networks, this Illegal trade has been linked to terrorism and the trafficking of drugs, arms and people. Addressing it requires strategic efforts at all points in the trade and supply chain, from collector to consumer. This involves anti-poaching efforts, law enforcement and legislative action, education and public advocacy, and personal consumer behavior change. We work to protect Elephants, Rhino, Slow Loris, Tiger and other threatened species. Learn More About Illegal Wildlife Trade.

Quarters for Conservation

As Northeast Ohio's most-visited year-round attraction, the Zoo has the potential to collect a lot of quarters! Check out the 6 Future for Wildlife Programs above and choose which programs you will support! These funds will help the Zoo save endangered animals and their habitats around the world and right here in Northeast Ohio, and continue the Zoo's primary mission of connecting people with wildlife.