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up-close shot of Grant's zebra outside in habitat
Support Your Zoo

Leave a Legacy

By making a gift in your will to the Houston Zoo, your legacy will provide a place for the next generation to see animals and to save them. If you have made such a gift, we welcome you to join The John and Ingrid Werler Society.

Join Our Legacy of Saving Animals

Wherever you are on your gift-planning journey, the resources below will help guide you toward leaving a lasting legacy that saves wildlife for generations to come. If you have any questions or don’t know where to start, please reach us at or 713-533-6819. All inquiries are treated with complete confidentiality.


Ready to join The Werler Society?

By letting us know you’ve decided to include the Houston Zoo in your will or estate plan, you will automatically become a member of The Werler Society and receive important, behind-the-scenes news and information about how your future support will save animals. We annually host an appreciation event so Werler Society members can see the impact of their legacy gift now. We look forward to welcoming you!

Tell us about your gift

Looking for ways to leave a legacy at the Houston Zoo?

You can make plans today so that your legacy helps the Houston Zoo save wildlife in the future. Including our organization in your will is a powerful statement about your love for animals and will help countless animals through our wildlife-saving programs. Please visit this webpage to learn more about the different ways you can do that.

Learn about ways to leave a legacy gift

Ready to write or redo your will?

Do you want to join The Werler Society but don’t know where to start? If you do not have a will or need to update your current one, you can do both by using this trusted resource from our partners at FreeWill. We partnered with them to provide a free, online estate planning tool so you can easily make a gift to the Zoo in your will and join The Werler Society.

Visit FreeWill to get started

Ready to make the Zoo a beneficiary of your 401(k) or retirement account?

In addition to your will, you can designate the Houston Zoo as a beneficiary of your 401(k), individual retirement account (IRA) or another non-probate asset to invest in our future. A beneficiary designation gift is an easy way to make a gift that will support our mission in the future. Begin your legacy of saving animals with our Houston Zoo in a few minutes online and join The Werler Society.

Add the Zoo as a beneficiary

Need help or have questions?

There’s a lot to think about when considering your legacy. Thank you for considering how the Zoo can be part of that. Please use this form to let us know how we can help by answering questions, providing more information, or simply speaking with you about your interests.

Contact us

What it Means to be Part of the Werler Society

The John and Ingrid Werler Society is a group of steadfast donors who choose to leave a personal legacy and invest in our future by making a gift to the Zoo in their will. If you have included our organization in your estate plans, please let us know by clicking “Ready to Join?” above. We would love to welcome you to The Werler Society and celebrate your commitment to the Houston Zoo.


By simply informing us that you have included a gift in your estate, you will become a member of The Werler Society. All members receive the following benefits:

  • Invitation to an annual appreciation event for our Werler Society members
  • Tickets to TXU Energy presents Zoo Lights Donor Night
  • Periodic communications about the latest Zoo news
  • Receive and be recognized in our annual report
  • Emails from our senior leaders about the impact of your gift

Your Impact

By leaving a legacy gift to the Houston Zoo, you can help…

  • Provide free field trips to 90,000 students annually
  • Keep our gates open to more than 2 million annual guests
  • Support nearly 50 wildlife-saving projects
  • Deliver care and feeding to more than 500 animal species

Read Our Donor Impact Stories

Houston Zoo, Inc. (tax ID 74-1590271) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Photos from past Werler Society events

Who were John and Ingrid Werler?

John Werler, Zoo Director from 1963 to 1992, oversaw several key projects, like the opening of the Brown Education Center in 1988. Under his leadership, animal care and habitat standards improved dramatically, and his wife, Ingrid Werler, played an active role in caring for a wide variety of animals. She and John were beloved throughout our Zoo. The close-knit family they developed now extends to our staff and the two million guests who visit our Zoo each year!

For questions, please contact the Houston Zoo’s Development Office at 713-533-6819 or

All inquiries are treated with complete confidentiality. Please consult your personal financial advisor for information specific to your needs.