Louisville Zoo Looks at 2016 Highlights

CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd
Direct: 502-238-5331  |  Media Only: 502-744-5639

The Louisville Zoo welcomed over 850,000 guests this calendar year. That was just one of many highlights of 2016. The Zoo also opened new exhibits, welcomed new animals from other facilities, experienced births and saw the passing of few dearly beloved animal ambassadors. The Zoo served tens of thousands of students, engaged in many successful veterinary procedures, participated in conservation programs and conducted scientific animal behavior and cognitive skills research. Here are just a few Zoo moments from the past 12 months:

  • collectively raised over $3 million in support of capital projects, education programs, special projects, conservation initiatives and annual operating needs
  • celebrated a three-year grant award from PNC to assist with the construction of an early learning play space and two new programs geared toward addressing Kindergarten readiness
  • opened a new Little Penguin Conservation Center and an expanded Elephant Encounter habitat, a combined $4.5 million investment in the Zoo
  • greeted a record 92,817 guests at the World’s Largest Halloween Party presented by Meijer
  • unveiled a new master plan approved by Metro Council including $180 million in enhancements through 2028 for engaging new exhibits such as a new shark conservation exhibit and expansive African savanna area
  • welcomed several babies including two critically endangered male addax calves, a red-crowned crane, twenty-six black-footed ferrets and a female western lowland gorilla named Kindi
  • said farewell to some of our beloved animal ambassadors including western lowland gorilla “Mia” (Kindi’s mother) and male addax “Hodge”, as well as two close Zoo friends — Rich Eilers, DVM, who was one of our first keepers, ultimately serving as one of our first “on-call” vets; and the Zoo’s second director, Bob Bean
  • received the “Sustainability Champion” award at the 2016 Metro Louisville Sustainability Summit
  • participated in 151 education outreaches including the Dirt Bowl, West Louisville Appreciation Day and the Kentucky State Fair
  • celebrated the 80th birthday of the Zoo’s oldest resident, Aldabra tortoise “Dot”


The Louisville Zoo, a non-profit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).