Mill Mountain Zoo face winter financial difficulties as number of visitors drop

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - Every year once the leaves fall off the trees and the temperatures dip, Mill Mountain Zoo leaders know not expect as many visitors.

"Primarily I think it is the weather and the temperature, people would rather do things inside," said Bambi Godkin, zoo education manager.

Visitors make up for half of the revenue.

"Of course it costs us no matter what time it is, it is the same amount of money to run the zoo, so it is 25 hundred dollars a day to run the zoo," said Godkin.

Without the money that usually flows in, they rely on donations and apply for grants.

"That helps us make it through until it starts to warm up and our busy season comes around again."

Luckily, they recently received a big donation.

"It was a $50,000 anonymous donation, which will help greatly as we move into these colder months."

They've also exceeded their initial Gofundme fundraising goal for new generators.

But after running into trouble with the vehicle they use for education outreach programs, they've extended the deadline through the end of the year to try and raise money to fix it up.

"It's a really important vehicle for us."

Aside from fundraising, all they can do is hope people will continue to visit.

"We always hope for a mild winter because we will see more people come through if it's warmer."

If you would like to help, you can visit the zoo, or donate through their GoFundme, their website, or through their Angel Tree by purchasing the specific things the animals need.