Are you open for tours?
Per the current state rules, we are still closed to the public. Our Directors are available via email, phone, virtual programs, and social media. Click the HERE for contact information.
Where is the new location?
To be honest, we do not know. We are actively working with a commercial agent to assist us in finding a building. As soon as we know, we will post here and on all our regular social media sites.
How can people help?
The two greatest needs for the next six months are:
1.) Donations to continue to be able to meet the needs of the animals.
2.) A new building for EcoVivarium.
Or contact us by calling (760)975-9690
An open letter from the Executive Director
Thank you for your interest in EcoVivarium. As you may know, we are a 501(c)3 Living Museum, Rescue and Rehabilitation facility, and Educational and Community Outreach Center whose mission is to: provide unique interactive learning experiences for people of all ages and abilities to develop awareness, understanding, and respect for the cultural, historical, and ecological significance of the remarkable creatures with which we share our world in order to inspire a future of cooperation, compassion, and mutually beneficial cohabitation of our planet.
We have served the communities of Escondido and the Greater San Diego Area for the past ten years. In that time, our facility has grown to be the permanent home to over 250 reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods, many of which are rare or endangered species. These animals have served as Education Ambassadors in our many STEM and STEAM certified educational outreach programs and to the thousands of guests that visit them every year.
Our growth has been so significant that we have completely outgrown our current location. We are in desperate need of a new home, and, earlier this year, we began planning a move. As of January 2020, we believed we had found that home in a nearly 10,000 sq ft space. A space that would serve us well as we moved toward our eventual 10-year capital plan to build our permanent 25,000 sq ft home. In January, news organizations throughout the region began doing stories on our growth and intended move. We gave our notice in our current location and began arrangements to move to the new space by May.
Unfortunately, shortly after we gave our notice, COVID 19 struck the US. Once the shutdowns took place, we lost all our sources of income. The schools closed, which meant we lost all educational bookings. Large group gatherings were banned, which shut down all our community outreach programs. Non-‐essential businesses, such as museums and zoos, were closed to the public, which immediately ended our daily ticket sales from patrons to our living museum.
A complete shutdown of all programming forced us to use the funds we had allocated for the move to feed our animals and keep lights and heat on. Now, not only do we not have a place to move to, our lease in our current building terminates at the end of May. At that time, we will have no place to house our 250+ rescue animals and no way to keep them safe, cared for, and fed.
Though we are unable to pay our staff, they have continued to care for the animals that they love so dearly. They have even taken money out of their own pockets to help with food costs. We have applied for loans, grants, and financial assistance programs, but we have received very little help. Our past individual donations and grants have also dried up in the
current economic crisis. The same economic crisis that has left us without needed income has also caused a dramatic increase in animals being abandoned or surrendered by their owners.
The cold hard truth is that we are in a desperate situation. We have to move at the end of the month, and we have no place to go and lack the funds to do so.
We are asking the community for assistance with our current situation on two fronts:
We need to find a 7,000 to 10,000 sq ft facility that we can move to immediately. We will need at least six months in the facility to be rent-free. We will need a seven-to-ten-year negotiated lease with graduated monthly payments to allow us to get back on our feet as we, along with the nation, recover from this pandemic and the resulting financial crisis.
We need financial assistance, specific items, services, and in-kind donations from donors and sponsors to help us keep the essential needs met for the care and feeding of the animals while unable to generate our ordinary revenue. Our critical financial needs for basic survival (excluding staffing, lease, and business operations) for the next six months are approximately $35,000, broken down as follows:
Animal Feed and Maintenance: $6,000
Utilities and Environment: $14,000
Veterinary Care: $2,500
Equipment, Habitat Materials, and Supplies: $12,500