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Learn about ways your Zoo works to be a leader in sustainability

Sustainability is a core theme driving the Louisville Zoo‘s mission “to better the bond between people and our planet.” By educating visitors about wildlife conservation through amazing encounters with animal ambassadors and nature, the Louisville Zoo works to demonstrate how our actions at home impact delicate ecosystems across the planet and inspire guests to consider their role in the balance of the health of our planet. See some of our sustainability projects below!

Current Initiatives


Recycling Initiative

The Louisville Zoo is proud to partner with WestRock and Public Works for a innovative recycling program. This program ensures all trash at the Zoo is sorted for recyclables and the process is streamlined and efficient.

hdr_earthday2014Party for the Planet

The Louisville Zoo celebrates Party for the Planet: A Month-Long Celebration of the Earth hosted by the Zoo and powered by Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company every year. Events, activities and displays by eco-partners help guests learn ways they can be more sustainable and do their part to help our planet.



The Louisville Zoo provides educational programs to local schools and community groups and trains teachers of all grades to educate students about arctic regions, climate change issues, and their need to reduce their carbon emissions.



The Zoo works with Eco-Cell to recycle cell phones, smart phones and accessories, iPods, iPads, tablets and mp3 players to help the environment and make money for conservation. Guests can recycle their items in the special containers on the Zoo’s main plaza. Donating unused electronics allows precious materials like coltan to get recycled and prevents mining in critical gorilla habitats.



Louisville Zoo membership office has a collection box for shoes that are donated to WaterStep. Donated shoes help support clean water projects in communities around the world.

Plant for the Planet

Since 2011, the Louisville Zoo has partnered with LG&E/KU Energy to increase the number of trees on our property through the “Plant for the Planet” grant program.  The Zoo also participates in the “Right Tree, Right Place” initiative which provides valuable tips and suggestions on how to plant the right tree in the right place to prevent the tree from growing into overhead powerlines. Click here for more information on LG&E/KU Energy’s commitment to our community and the environment.



Bicycle for Change

The Louisville Zoo educates the public about the benefits of bicycling while raising awareness about climate change and polar bears. Zoo keepers participate in the Biking for Bears initiative and Cycle for Change ride. These initiatives promote climate change awareness, bike lanes in the Louisville Metro Area, commuting resources, and other public transportation availability.

Sustainability Achievements


ZooPoopyDoo Compost

The Louisville Zoo hosted one of the community’s earliest composting projects, creating ZooPoopyDoo, a signature product made from the composted manure of herbivore animals at the Zoo. Zoopoopydoo is on sale seasonally. Click here for more details.



The Louisville Zoo built the first bioclimatic ectotherm exhibit in the country — the HerpAquarium exhibit — which also features a green roof. The exhibit was designed to group species by climate, focusing on habitats rather than countries of origin. The result was a more energy efficient exhibit and a concept many Zoos use today.


Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center

The walls of the Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center are insulated with R30 insulation. This insulation is a higher thickness than what is commonly used and increases thermal resistance to ensure our ferrets stay warm in the winter, cool in the summer and the center functions at peak energy efficiency all year round.

Glacier Run with seals and polar bear

Glacier Run

Award-winning Glacier Run was designed to showcase conservation practices: water reclamation; natural convection cooling lowering utility usage; chillers, HVAC and lighting systems specified to meet the highest level of energy efficient operations available.

hdr_splashparkSplash Park

The Louisville Zoo created the first recirculating splash park water system in the city. Click here to find out more.

Sustainability Champion

The Louisville Zoo was recently recognized as a “Sustainability Champion” at the 2016 Metro Louisville Sustainability Summit for our education efforts and projects. Earlier this year, we installed 30 solar panels on the Zoo’s administration building to help offset energy consumption and reduce our carbon footprint. This project was made possible through a bequest to the Zoo from Sharon Kremer. She was a lifelong educator and passionate about the Zoo and the environment. We also have plans to install solar panels near our MetaZoo Discovery Center and train station.