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Denny Sanford donating $25M to Zoo, Butterfly House and Aquarium

Denny Sanford at the Great Plains Zoo
Jackson Dircks
Denny Sanford at the Great Plains Zoo

Sioux Falls philanthropist Denny Sanford is donating $25 million to the Great Plains Zoo and the Butterfly House & Aquarium.

This comes after the two decided to merge. The plan is to add an aquarium, education center and butterfly rainforest to the Sioux Falls zoo campus.

A new splash pad is already open to the public thanks to the donation.

If the two are able to receive enough donations to match the $25 million gift, Sanford is pledging an additional $10 million, according to a press release from the organization.

Jackson Dircks is a Freeburg, Illinois, native. He is pursuing a degree in English, Journalism and Secondary Education at Augustana University and planning to graduate in May 2025. He plans to pursue a career in sports journalism.