Kids posing with pumpkins on hay pyramid

Pumpkin Fest invites visitors to welcome the sights and smells of fall while helping to support the development of Cosley Zoo.

Cosley Foundation

Since its inception in 1986, the Cosley Foundation has raised funds for several key projects throughout Cosley Zoo’s history.

Please call 630.665.5534 to make your contribution.


The Wheaton Park District felt that there was a need to organize a Cosley Zoo support group to raise funds for the capital development of Cosley Zoo. In August of 1986, the Cosley Foundation, Inc. (EIN 36-3461739) became officially recognized as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit foundation. The foundation has a volunteer board which oversees the fundraisers and the disposition of monies raised.

Since its inception, the foundation has sponsored the building of the Vern Kiebler Learning Center (barn), a 66,000-gallon duck pond, an amphitheater, a clinic, an exhibit for the bobcat, red fox, coyote, raccoons, rabbits, white-tailed deer, birds of prey, pigs, and chickens.

In the future, the foundation will continue to provide funding for additional animal exhibits, facilities and operations.

For information on supporting any of these projects, please call the Cosley Zoo Marketing Department at 630.510.4961. All contributions are tax deductible.

Over the years, the Cosley Foundation has provided critical support for various fundraising events, including:

Run for the Animals 5K/10K & 1/2-Mile

This prestigious race draws more than 2,500 competitive runners from all over the Chicago area and even out of state. Each year the race is held in conjunction with the Taste of Wheaton festival on the first Saturday of June in downtown Wheaton. Each runner receives a commemorative long sleeved T-shirt, and awards are given in 14 age groups. The run utilizes more than 250 volunteers and has several sponsors.

Mike Williams Cosley Classic

The Mike Williams Cosley Classic Golf Outing is held the first Monday in August and offers a fun-filled day at Arrowhead Golf Course. Golfers are treated to 18 holes of golf with a cart, lunch, dinner, prizes and many valuable gifts. Like the Cosley Foundation’s other fundraisers, the golf outing’s success depends on the generosity of many sponsors and all proceeds benefit capital projects at Cosley Zoo.

Pumpkin Fest

During the month of October, Cosley Zoo offers pumpkins, apple cider, gourds, Indian corn and other seasonal fall items for sale. Zoo visitors can enjoy the animals as well as the sights and smells of fall while helping to support the development of Cosley Zoo.

Festival of Lights & Christmas Tree Sale

The foundation sponsors the sale of over 2,000 Christmas trees as well as fresh wreaths, evergreen roping and many other holiday items. While searching for the perfect tree, shoppers can enjoy festive holiday music and hot chocolate. Countless families have enjoyed their traditional holiday trek to the zoo since 1984. In conjunction with the tree sales, Cosley Zoo presents the Festival of Lights. This extensive seasonal light display draws people from all over the Chicago area and beyond. Anyone visiting Cosley Zoo in December will be entranced by the buildings adorned with lights and the Christmas trees lining the walkway, which are uniquely decorated by area groups. It is hard to miss the 12-foot waving snowman that greets you as you enter the zoo and the large herd of lighted animal figures on display everywhere you turn. December is truly a magical time of year to visit Cosley Zoo. The lights are on for viewing from 3-9P daily during December.


The Cosley Foundation is seeking sponsorship for its various events. Whatever your level of sponsorship interest, Cosley Zoo has a spot for you. All sponsors receive recognition at the event and in the Cosley Tails newsletter. If you are interested in learning more about being a sponsor, please call the Cosley Zoo Marketing Department at 630.510.4961.

Planned Giving

Show your support by remembering Cosley Zoo in your will. Your deferred gift can provide a lasting memory when you help to improve the zoo for future generations. Bequests should be made to The Cosley Foundation, Inc. (EIN 36-3461739). Please let us know so we can thank you!

Cosley Foundation Board Members

Matt Szafranski – President
Shayne Purdue – Vice President
Mike Benard – Secretary
Adam Sharpee – Treasurer
Paul Becker
Jennifer Clark
Phyllis Geyer
Jasmina Hoscheit
Rachel Ittner
Larry Kmiecik
Ashley Rabatic
Susan Varcak

Contact the board at [email protected].

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