Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo

Open Daily, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
$20 adults, $15 children

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Open Daily, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
$20 adults, $15 children

View All Rates ›

Blank Park Zoo Cuts Ribbon on New Blumenthal Giraffe Pavilion

June 15, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (June 15, 2017) – Blank Park Zoo’s latest expansion is a $2.2 million, 6,600 square foot Blumenthal Giraffe Pavilion capable of providing living quarters for up to eight giraffe in addition to other hoof stock species. The facility also features an indoor public area where visitors will be able to see and feed giraffe during times when they are unable to be outside due to cold temperatures, rain or snowy conditions.

“Not only does this facility allow for more public access to the giraffe, it allows for a huge upgrade in the quality of our animal care,” said Mark Vukovich, CEO. “It features a day room for the giraffe to exercise and a giraffe restraint device to allow for veterinary care without the need for risky immobilization.”

Don and Margo Blumenthal gave a lead gift for the project. They said their fascination with giraffe began while traveling in Africa.

“Giraffe are the tallest mammals in the world … up to 18 feet tall and their babies can be as tall as eight feet - now that is what I would call and attraction,” said Don Blumenthal, “We are so happy at this stage of our lives we can give back and the Zoo has always been one of our favorite charities.”

“Go to the zoo and watch the animals, they will lift your spirits and put a smile back on your face,” said Margo Blumenthal. “It is our pleasure to be able to make this gift to the zoo. We love our city and want to give back with a long-lasting gift of pure enjoyment.”

The giraffe have already taken residence in the new facility and it will open to the public this fall when temperatures necessitate for the giraffe to stay inside and a pathway to the facility has been completed.

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About Blank Park Zoo

Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission rates are $14 for an adult, $8 for a child (3-12 years), and $11 for a senior. Children two years and under and Blank Park Zoo members are free. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums. The AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.

About Don and Margo Blumenthal

Margo Blumenthal served on the Blank Park Zoo Foundation Board of Directors for 12 years. When speaking of her experience on the board, “We were challenged by Jackie and Mike Blank to see that the zoo was a prime attraction for the city of Des Moines. They were lifelong friends and we did our best to honor their request.  We had the wonderful experience of working with Bob and Gloria Burnett, Tom and Joe Ghrist, Billie and Bob Ray, Dawn Roberts and many others who worked diligently for many years to position the zoo to where it is now.  Mark Vukovich's creative vision for the zoo, is why it is the #1 attraction in Des Moines.” said Margo Blumenthal.

Don Blumenthal is a native of Des Moines and until its sale in July, 1995, was the CEO and owner of Steel Warehousing Inc.  Don and his wife, Margo, were married in 1967 and both are well known for their community activities.  They have one daughter, Joscelyn, who currently lives in Colorado and is following in her parents’ footsteps with her involvement in philanthropy.

Don and Margo also helped establish the Blumenthal Thera Pet program at the Animal Rescue League, Blumenthal Crisis Care Center at YESS and the Blumenthal/Variety Club Center at YESS, along with the Respite Care program at Child Serve. 


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