Memphis Zoo
2000 Prentiss Pl
Memphis TN 38112
Contact Information
Address 2000 Prentiss Pl
Memphis, TN 38112
Telephone 901 333-6554
Mission Statement

The Memphis Zoo's mission is to connect people with wildlife

Web and Social Media
CEO/Executive Director Dr. Chuck Brady
Board Chair Mrs. Diane Smith
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1951
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $14,613,981.00
Projected Expenses $14,600,000.00

The Memphis Zoo's mission is to connect people with wildlife


About the Memphis Zoo

The Memphis Zoo, located in Memphis, Tennessee, is home to more than 3,500 animals representing more than 500 different species. Recently named as one of the top zoos in the country and world by TripAdvisor® and USA Today’s 10Best, the Memphis Zoo has completed more than $93 million in renovation and expansion since the early 1990s. The Zoo's animal inhabitants reside in one-of-a-kind exhibitry, such as Once Upon A Farm, Commercial Appeal Cat Country, Primate Canyon, Animals of the Night, Northwest Passage, Teton Trek and CHINA - home to giant pandas YaYa and Le Le. Its newest exhibit, the Zambezi River Hippo Camp, is currently under construction and opens in March 2016. The Zoo was founded in 1906 and resides on 70 acres in the middle of Overton Park. The Memphis Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Memphis Zoo, YaYa and Le Le are trademarks of the Memphis Zoo.

Impact Our vision is to preserve wildlife through education, conservation and research. Aware that the zoo of tomorrow begins today, our staff and volunteers are dedicated to providing a naturalistic and enriching sanctuary for our animals, and a clean, friendly, entertaining and educational experience for our guests. Together, we are building one of the world’s great zoos.

Build a New Home for the Hippos

It takes a lot of bricks to build a world class zoo. Your gift will help build the new Zambezi River Hippo Camp.

Feed the Animals

We've got 3,500 hungry mouths to feed. Want to help?

Conserve Wildlife

Help aid conservation and research projects locally and globally.

Invest in our Future

This kind of donation supports our endowment.

CEO/Executive DirectorComments

The Memphis Zoo is completing another exciting year. With just over one million visitors, the Memphis Zoo is the number one tourist attraction in Memphis and the sixth largest tourist attraction in the State of Tennessee. We are honored to once again be ranked as a top the zoo by Trip Advisor. This year’s ranking has us as #8 in the U.S. and #23 worldwide. This is our eighth consecutive year with a top ten rating. An Economic Impact Statement completed this year by the University of Memphis found that the Memphis Zoo contributes 83.8 million dollars in total impact to the Memphis economy.


The Memphis Zoo is an important quality of life asset for the City of Memphis and we strive to be a zoo for all people in our community. Each visit is an experience that enriches, informs, and inspires. This past year, we hosted 80,000 children on school field trips and 161,000 visitors during our Free Tennessee Tuesday Program.


Our conservation work has captured the regional and national spotlight as we make significant strides in several of our flagship conservation programs including Giant Panda, Louisiana Pine Snake, Mariana Fruit Dove and Dusty Gopher Frog. We were recently awarded a prestigious grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to establish the country’s first National Amphibian Genome Bank. This grant is the result of more than two decades of dedicated and diligent work by our staff. 


Our new exhibit “Zambezi River Hippo Camp” is taking shape and we anticipate a March 2016 opening. This exhibit will bring state-of-the-art new homes for our hippos, crocodiles and flamingos. In addition, the exhibit will feature new species including okapi, padis monkeys, nyala, yellow back duikers, and a variety of African birds.   


Next year will be our 110th anniversary as a Zoo. I want to thank our members and community partners for your continued support. It takes the effort of everyone to make this organization prosper, and to continue to be considered such a treasure in our community. We look forward to seeing you at the Zoo soon. 

Areas of Service
Areas Served
Over 300,000 tourists from outside the Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area visit the Memphis Zoo each year.  The Memphis MSA includes Shelby, Fayette and Tipton counties in Tennessee, Crittenden County in Arkansas, and Benton, Desoto, Marshall, Tate and Tunica counties in Mississippi.  The impact of these tourist visits is $62.1 million annually to the Memphis economy.  The report found that two-thirds of the out-of-town visitors came to Memphis primarily to visit the Memphis Zoo.                    
Board Chair
Board Chair Mrs. Diane Smith
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Term July 2015 to July 2017
Board Co-Chair
Board Co-Chair Gene Holcomb
Company Affiliation Holcomb Company
Term July 2015 to July 2017
Board of Directors
Board Members
Samantha Boggs Dean Huey's
W. Lynn Carson SunTrust
Joseph C. DeWane Memphis OB/GYN P.C.
Delisa Eddings Yusen Logistics
Thomas C. Farnsworth Farnsworth Holdings
Brandon Garrott Morrison Community Volunteer
Gene Holcomb Holcomb Company
David Hopkins KPMG
Henry Hutton Chuck Hutton Chevrolet Co.
Dorothy O. Kirsch Community Volunteer
Maria Leggett AutoZone
Scott McCormick Memphis Botanic Garden
Joyce Mollerup Community Volunteer
Carol Prentiss Community Volunteer
Karl Schledwitz Monogram Food Solutions
Jerry Shore Fred's
Diane Smith Community Volunteer
Kelly H. Truitt CB Richard Ellis
Mario Walker Self + Trucker Architects, Inc.
George Whitehead Orgill
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 17
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 13
Female 8
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 0
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Standing Committees
Executive Director
Executive Director Dr. Chuck Brady





Undergraduate: State University of New York at Cortland

Bachelor of Arts, 1973, Biology

Graduate: Ohio University

Master of Science, 1975, Zoology

Ohio University

Doctor of Philosophy, 1982, Zoology


1975-1978 Research Assistant – National Zoological Park

1978-1979 Research Fellow – National Zoological Park

1979-1999 Curator of Mammals – Memphis Zoo

2000 Associate Director of Animal Programs – Memphis Zoo

2000-2002 Vice President & Director of Animal Programs – Memphis Zoo

2003 Senior Vice President and Zoo Director

2003 – Present President/CEO


1989-2003 Zoo Master Plan: Comprehensive ten year program which charted direction for growth and development of the Memphis Zoo.

1993 Cat Country: Fourteen open-air exhibits featuring both predators and prey. Cost $4.9 million.

1994 Primate Canyon: Seven open-air primate and ape exhibits. Cost $6.1 million.

1995 Animals of the Night: A nocturnal building featuring 19 nocturnal exhibits featuring over 400 nocturnal mammals. Cost $1.5 million.

1996 Once Upon A Farm: Eight farm yard exhibits and a large discovery center with the theme of man and agriculture. Cost $3.5 million.

2000 China: Three acre state-of-the-art exhibit designed to immerse the visitor in the architecture, culture, history and wildlife of China. The exhibit has a conservation theater which features an eight minute film on conservation efforts for the Giant Panda and numerous imperial style and Suzhou-style structures. Wildlife exhibits include Giant Pandas, White-Cheeked Gibbons, three species of Chinese Pheasants, Asian Small Clawed-Otters, Chinese ornamental goldfish, Red Pandas, Pere David Deer, Hog Deer, White-Naped Cranes and Chinese waterfowl. Cost $15 million.

2004 Northwest Passage: A series of exhibits for boreal mammals including Polar Bear, Sea Lions, Gray Seal, Black Bear, Bald Eagles and Ravens. Cost $25 million.

2006 Teton Trek: 3 acre exhibit that showcases the animals and history of the Yellowstone Teton Basin. It features Grizzly Bear, Timber wolves, Elk, Trumpeter Swans and Sandhill Cranes. Cost $17 million.

2013-2015 Zambezi River Hippo Camp: 3½ acre exhibit showing the wildlife, culture and traditions of the Zambezi River Valley. It will feature Hippos, Crocodiles, Ciclids, Flamingos, Mandrills and Okapi. Scheduled to open in 2015.


Memberships: American Society of Mammalogists

Animal Behavior Society

American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums

Society for Conservation Biology

International Society for Behavioral Ecology

World Association of Zoos and Aquariums


2001-Present Jaguar Conservation Fund

2003-Present Giant Panda Conservation Foundation

Full Time Staff 153
Part Time Staff 80
Volunteers 200
Contractors 0
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Description The Memphis Zoo offers compelling exhibitry and interpretation of wildlife within a highly interactive environment. The Zoo is open 363 days per year to visitors of all ages.
Long Term Success Two giant pandas, Ya Ya and Le Le, arrived at the Memphis Zoo to begin their ten-year visit, and launch our extensive research and conservation plan to help giant pandas in the wild. The Memphis Zoo is one of only four U.S. Zoo's to exhibit giant pandas.
Description  Have you ever felt the smooth scales of a New World python, listened for the flight of an owl, or examined the bottom of a gecko's foot? At the Memphis Zoo, we connect people with wildlife using experiences such as these in everything that we do. With a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in conjunction with conservation, the education department provides engaging and educational programs for children and adults. There are resources for school and homeschool educators to make learning relevant and exciting for students. Camps, Zoo Snoozes and Professional Development programs round out our exceptional offerings. Experience learning at the Memphis Zoo! 
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Budget $0.00
Long Term Success We see an average of 90,000 school children each year from the surrounding Mid-South region.
Description Our vision for the future is to become an effective and internationally recognized leader in the field of conservation biology.

Regionally, we see our institution staged to become the leader in environmental science education and having a significant impact on local wildlife issues and natural resource conservation. Globally, our goal is to provide conservation training, capacity building and technical assistance to wildlife and eco-regions that we manage in our collection.

Together, our staff will create one of the top U.S. zoological research, conservation and education facilities, while providing a professional and entertaining experience for our visitors.

Population Served Please select...
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2015
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2016
Projected Revenue $14,613,981.00
Projected Expenses $14,600,000.00
Endowment Value $6,349,769.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$6,396,508$1,482,929$1,652,966
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$120,689$67,026$81,032
Membership Dues$2,475,340$2,733,172$2,713,750
Special Events$543,750$575,866$597,750
Revenue In-Kind$66,706$64,577$37,270
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$20,240,889$13,948,700$13,263,751
Administration Expense$2,360,316$2,184,869$2,053,820
Fundraising Expense$171,384$142,983$195,627
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.921.031.21
Program Expense/Total Expenses89%86%85%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue2%4%3%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$24,170,441$25,035,752$23,678,364
Current Assets$15,067,425$15,670,131$14,187,194
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$4,136,616$2,918,814$3,263,086
Total Net Assets$20,033,825$22,116,938$20,415,278
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities3.645.374.35
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Campaign Purpose Soon our historic hippos will move to a new home – the Zambezi River Hippo Camp. Construction is underway! We need your help. To date, we have raised $21.2 million towards the total exhibit cost of $22.4 million. We need your help to fund the remaining $1.2 million and close out the campaign.  
Goal $0.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit
2017 State Solicitation permitView
Address 2000 Prentiss Pl
Memphis, TN 38112
Primary Phone 901 333-6554
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Dr. Chuck Brady
Board Chair Mrs. Diane Smith
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer


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