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 ›

Holmes Foster Event Center at Blank Park Zoo Opens

January 19, 2021

Holmes Foster Event Center at Blank Park Zoo Opens
Photos and video:

For Immediate Release

DES MOINES, Iowa (January 19, 2021) – Officials from Iowa’s Blank Park Zoo have announced the opening of the Holmes Foster Event Center, which will be home to educational activities, conservation programing, recreational events and private gatherings such as business meetings, weddings and reunions.

“We are excited to open the Holmes Foster Event Center, which will quickly become a tremendous community asset,” said Anne Shimerdla, president and CEO of Blank Park Zoo. “Blank Park Zoo and central Iowa have needed a space like this for many years.”

The 10,000 square foot building replaces the tent-like ZooPlex, which had exceeded its lifespan. The new building is temperature controlled, has a speaker prep area, bride and groom suites, AV, WI-FI, and a catering kitchen. It also adds additional restroom facilities to that area of the Zoo.

“Blank Park Zoo adds a unique element to an event, making it a one-of-a-kind experience,” said Kevin Prust, director emeritus of the Blank Park Zoo board. “The Holmes Foster Event Center will make an impact because it offers a special space for a combination of the Zoo experience and private events that enhances the gatherings of friends and families.”

This winter, Blank Park Zoo will be hosting winter activities including a nine-hole mini-golf experience in the new event space. Enjoy indoor mini-golf, self-guided education activities, and a snack area during your visit with the animals. The mini-golf course will be set up to ensure social distancing of groups and is free with regular admission to Blank Park Zoo.

The event center is named in memory of Holmes Foster. Marjorie and Holmes Foster are long-time supporters of Blank Park Zoo.

 “I am very proud to continue supporting the Zoo, and Holmes would be proud too, he just would not want the attention. Holmes had a never-ending commitment to Iowa and its people…this center that now bears his name will continue that commitment.  A commitment that we all should follow,” said Marjorie Foster.

“Once the pandemic concludes, the hope is the event center will aid in the financial recovery of Blank Park Zoo and will help support the operations and conservation work of the Zoo,” said Shimerdla.

Homes Foster Event Center Statistics

Cost: $2.2 million
Square Feet: 10,000

Seated Capacity: 350 at round tables, approximately 500 theater style

AV: Sound, Video and Wi-Fi

Speaker prep, bride, and groom suites
catering prep kitchen

Contact: Allison Bollinger, 515-974-2506,

About Blank Park Zoo

The mission of Blank Park Zoo is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education, research and recreation. Zoo hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily. Admission rates are $14 for adults, $8 for children under 12, and $11 for seniors and active military. Children one year 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.


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