9:10 PM EST, December 18, 2012
The battle is still very much uphill for Roanoke's Mill Mountain Zoo. It's overcoming what seems to be a constant change in leadership, making sure its animals appeal to visitors and lately, finding enough money to stay open.
"With the inclement weather, things slow down (during the winter). People just don't come up quite as much," says Ray Correia, the executive director of the Mill Mountain Zoo.
Attendance is down and that puts a choke hold on the zoo's cash flow. Yet still, 14 full time staff members need to be paid, 175 animals must be fed and veterinary bills continue to add up.
From now until May, the zoo needs about $250,000 to take care of its expenses. In the meantime, the staff is coming up with long-term ways to stabilize its budget including producing educational videos for schools, a golf tournament next spring and in the summer, an outdoor entertainment series called Music on the Mountain.
"Maybe Acid or Hard Rock won't be on the venue but you know an enjoyable concert, some nice music and some refreshments and it should be a very popular program,"says Correia.
The zoo accepts donations year round. To learn more on how to donate, click here.
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