The Building of the Monterey Zoo

$154,010 of $2.0M goal

Raised by 66 people in 50 months


When Wild Things’ owner, Charlie Sammut, decided to enter the animal industry, he did so with a very special partner, his lion Josef who without a doubt paved the way for Charlie’s career and the future of Wild Things.  In the early days of Wild Things, the primary source of income was the film and television industry.  As the company evolved, they ventured into the education industry and opened Wild Things to the public, welcoming all to see how the animals were kept, trained and cared for. 

In July 2008, Charlie faced his biggest tragedy and challenge of all.  He lost Josef at the age of twenty-two.  Charlie made Josef a promise; a promise that would afford the other animals a better quality of life.  A promise to finish what they had started together.  Wild Things continues to evolve today as it ventures into keeping that promise to Josef and building that home for the animals.  A home they are now calling, “Monterey Zoological Society”.  In 2011 they became a California 501(c) (3) nonprofit and broke ground in 2012 to build a REAL zoo!

The creation of large, natural style exhibits for the animals is the next milestone in the reinvention of the Monterey Zoo. The plan is to develop the unused portions of the 51-acre ranch, constructing large, natural, open enclosures for the larger animals (lions, tigers, bears). Then after completing and relocating the larger animals to their new enclosures, the existing facility will be remodeled offering larger more natural spaces to all the smaller animals. The Zoo’s first exhibit/project is slated to house the  “big” cats (lions, tigers and leopards), after which the goal is to secure sponsorship and funding for additional exhibits 

These projects will bring change to the zoo that will increase levels of interaction and engagement with zoo guests, staff and all of the animals.  Creating nose-to-nose experiences with the animal ambassadors to build lasting guest memories to better the bond between people and the planet.  According to Charlie, “We are excited about this plan because not only will expansion of the Zoo’s footprint enhance the zoo visitor’s experience, it will also significantly improve the site to the benefit of nearby communities, the city and region.”

We want to:
- Create large, natural sytle exhibits for the animals.
- Increase the amount of time visitors can view the animals.
- Continue to educate visitors about conservation.
- Continue to make our facility available to the less   fortunate in our community who might otherwise be unable to travel to SF or Santa Barbara to see animals.
- Create a beautiful urban park offering family fun and excitement, stimulating education programs, and a peaceful place to enjoy nature. 
- Provide educational, interactive experiences that continue to set us apart from most zoos.

We have the animals.  We have the property.  We have the expertise. 


The zoo is a non-profit organization and at this time 100% of the dollars needed for the build out of the Monterey Zoo are generated through its own fundraising efforts.

The breakdown of Phase I:

Completion of Tiger Exhibit - $600,000 FUNDED Estimated completion: FINISHED!

Zoo Pathways and Signs - $130,000 Estimated completion: Partially Completed

Zoo Restrooms - $100,000  Estimated completion: FINISHED!

Lion Exhibit - $600,000 - FUNDED completion: FINISHED!

Bear Exhibit - $750,000 Estimated completion: FINISHED!

Leopard Exhibit - $500,000 Estimated completion: January 2018

+ Read More
Very special thanks to our donor who is offering a $25,000 matching grant! You know who you are :)
+ Read More
Don't miss the Grand Opening of the Lion Exhibit on April 17th. Invitations are exclusive to Zoo Sponsors. Become a sponsor today! Minimum $500 sponsorship for 2 tickets.

See you there!
+ Read More
The Lion Exhibit is now Under Construction!
+ Read More
The Grand Opening of the All New Monterey Zoo's First Exhibit will be on August 22nd at 2pm. Join us as we release the tigers into their new exhibit for the first time! This event is exclusive to Zoo Sponsors (min $500 for 2 tickets). Don't miss this exclusive event!
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update
Be the first to leave a comment on this campaign.

$154,010 of $2.0M goal

Raised by 66 people in 50 months
Created January 29, 2015
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
19 months ago
24 months ago

i would like to see at some point the ability to walk through the zoo on your own. I took my elderly mother and she had trouble keeping up with the tour, though the tour was good it was fast and not so good for the children and elderly.

William Harris
25 months ago

Hope your elephants and all other wildlife are feeling less stressed since the storms.

Be the first to leave a comment on this campaign.
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.