Duluth Brothers Donate Allowance to Bear Country Exhibit

Winter Brothers Choose to Donate Their "Giving" Allowance to Future Bear Country Exhibit at Lake Superior Zoo

DULUTH, Minn. – If you ask any child what they’d like to spend an allowance on, chances are it’ll most likely be toys, but one family in the Northland has come up with a solution which is also spreading future financial knowledge.

“I’m going to be really excited probably,” said Elijah Winter.

A trip to the zoo can be wild on the wallet with spending in the gift shop, snacks throughout and tickets to get in.

“We’re like, well we’re going to the zoo, what do you guys think about bringing some of your money? They said, yeah, we’re so excited to see some bears again,” said Jessica Winter.

For this mother, teaching her children the value of a dollar happens with a series of options.

“They have a saving, spending and giving jar, which they can put their allowance into after finishing household chores,” said Winter.

It’s been a few years since bears vacated and pigeons replaced them in the bear exhibit at the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth. Now, three of the Winter brothers want to help bring Bear Country back into their community.

“We donated money so that we could have a new bear exhibit,” said Elijah.

The reality started with a recent zoo visit in April.

“One of our gift shop staff told us a story about three little boys who came in and had saved up all this money and were kind of discussing it between themselves and decided to donate it,” said Haley Hedstrom, Director of Marketing and Membership at the Lake Superior Zoo.

The group of brothers, Elijah, Ezra and Asher, decided to make the most of their zoo experience after learning Bear Country couldn’t happen without money and compassion.

“I will tell you there was not a dry eye in that staff meeting,” said Hedstrom.

“We donated about $100 dollars,” said Elijah.

Hedstrom says the total cost of Bear Country will likely be around 4.5 million dollars. Already, the Zoo has set up a capital campaign and are hoping to secure bonding dollars from the State of Minnesota to kickstart the project.

“It’s this kind of stuff that makes us feel confident that we can reach our goal, that there are people who care so much to bring bears back to the Zoo,” said Hedstrom.

She says every dollar does and will make a difference when it comes to keeping inspiration alive, and visitors coming back to experience their wild side.

“It could be five dollars, it could be a dollar, anything that’s meaningful to you is what’s meaningful to us,” said Hedstrom.

“Especially my four year old, every time I put some money in his giving jar he says that’s for the bears,” said Winter.

Staff at the Lake Superior Zoo plan to bring the brothers out to the Zoo and give them a VIP experience during the construction of Bear Country, and after for the unveiling.

Click here if you’d like to donate to Bear Country and learn more about the Zoo.

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