Heywood Fralin Invests in the Future of Mill Mountain Zoo


Philanthropist and community leader Heywood Fralin has once again demonstrated his dedication to the Roanoke Valley. This time, Fralin has extended his generosity to Mill Mountain Zoo with the establishment of an endowment fund to insure future wildlife preservation and educational efforts at the Zoo.

Fralin said, “The future of educational and cultural nonprofit organizations depends on investment funds that generate interest to help offset operational expenses. Mill Mountain Zoo is an asset to the community and to the region and offers families a pleasant destination where they can learn about how human interference threatens vulnerable animals in the region and throughout the world. Mill Mountain Zoo is doing important, high-quality work in science education and wildlife conservation, and I am delighted to be a part of it.”

Approaching its seventieth anniversary (on July 4, 2022), Mill Mountain Zoo is a conscious steward of its animal collection dedicated to the preservation of wildlife. Mr. Fralin’s investment in the future of the Zoo supports its ongoing efforts to educate locals and visitors alike about the animals that shape the region’s natural habitat. The work of Mill Mountain Zoo is integral to Roanoke, combining the beauty of its vibrant outdoor recreational scene with its bioscience educational programs which are accessible and enjoyable to all groups.

“This financial commitment demonstrates how vital our treasured zoo is to tourism and economic development in the community and throughout the region, said Mill Mountain Zoo’s Executive Director, Niki Voudren. “Mr. Fralin understands that Mill Mountain Zoo is a significant part of Roanoke’s history and that we’re doing important work in wildlife conservation, education while contributing to wildlife research. As Mill Mountain Zoo approaches its 70-year anniversary, we more determined than ever before to deliver our mission while offering a safe, enjoyable, educational destination for people of all ages. This generous investment in the Zoo’s Endowment Fund is not only an endorsement of this unique historic gem and our mission – it is a testament to his fierce commitment to the success of the region.”

Located at the top of Mill Mountain, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mill Mountain Zoo overlooks the City of Roanoke. The Zoo was founded in 1952 and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit operated by the Blue Ridge Zoological Society, Inc.