Supporting Local Zoos

What's New At Your Zoo?

bear at zoo laying on rock

It’s hard to beat a day at the zoo. From mischievous monkeys to playful otters, there’s something fun and exciting at every turn. But zoos provide much more than simple entertainment, and that’s why First PREMIER is dedicated to supporting zoological gardens in our market communities.

Zoos fulfill many important missions. They provide hands-on education to children of all ages; care and rehabilitation to injured animals; and they assist with conservation efforts and the protection of endangered species. Without zoos, species including the California condor, red wolf and black-footed ferret would be extinct today.

First PREMIER celebrates the contribution of our zoos by supporting the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls and the Bramble Park Zoo in Watertown. Most recently, the bank funded extensive improvements to a lemur exhibit in Watertown and a brown bear exhibit in Sioux Falls.

Renovations to the Bramble Park lemur exhibit, located in the PREMIER Way area of the zoo, provided new stimulation for one of the world’s most endangered animals. First PREMIER’s $10,000 donation allowed the zoo to renovate an outdoor enclosure that features plenty of new toys, branches to climb and nooks to explore.\

“We redid the whole exhibit and made it bigger for them,” said Bramble Park Zookeeper Michelle Miller. “We put in a pool and some grass, along with other items.”

The Great Plains brown bear exhibit, which opened in 2018, provides enhanced viewing and educational opportunities for visitors. New features include an underwater viewing area, a bear habitat, improved water filtration and more “bedrooms” for the bears.

“This is a truly transformative exhibit renovation that enhances the experience of visitors,” said Great Plains Zoo President and CEO Elizabeth A. Whealy. “Not only is the new exhibit a must-see addition to our zoo, it allows us to educate our visitors about these magnificent animals in a fun and interactive way.”

In addition to funding major exhibits at each zoo, First PREMIER provides financial support to a variety of fun and educational programs. And in true PREMIER fashion, countless employees donate their time and talents to local zoos by serving on boards and committees, as well as rolling up their sleeves and assisting with programs and volunteer opportunities on the grounds.