SAN DIEGO — The estate of McDonald's heiress Joan Kroc has bequeathed $10 million to the Zoological Society of San Diego, the largest individual donation received by the charity in its 87-year history, officials announced Friday.
The gift will be used in part to finance the San Diego Zoo's renovation project, which is expected to cost $28 million. The facility, which began with the "Absolutely Apes" exhibit, will be named in honor of Kroc, zoo officials said.
Renovation plans include tropical forest environments for "Gorilla Tropics" and "Tiger River," and five primate exhibits, a clouded leopard habitat and aviaries. The project is expected to be completed next year.
In the past, Kroc had donated money to the "Kroc Family Tiger River" exhibit and the veterinary hospital at the zoo's Wild Animal Park. The Zoological Society of San Diego manages the San Diego Zoo, the Wild Animal Park and the Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species.
Kroc, a longtime San Diego County resident, died in October. Her estate has bequeathed $10 million to the San Diego Opera; $200 million to National Public Radio; $50 million each to peace institutes at the universities of Notre Dame and San Diego that bear her name; $20 million to the San Diego Hospice; and $1.5 billion to the Salvation Army.