Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

Registered Name
Fort Wayne Zoological Society Inc
Tax ID


The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo is a zoo in Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Since opening in 1965, the 1,000-animal zoo has been located on in Fort Wayne's Franke Park.

Source: Wikipedia


Annual Budget
December 2018
+30% Growth
Program Spending
Fundraising Spending
Management Spending


Educational and Membership Services


To achieve our mission statement the zoo works diligently on location and in the community sharing our message. 2017 was a record year for regular season attendance at 623,319. This marked the first time regular season attendance went over 600k. Wild zoo halloween had its second best year since being rebranded as a merry not scary day event at 29,008. When you combine these two activities we had total attendance of 652,327. These events combined made 2017 our best year by outpacing 2015 attendance of 618,498 by 5%. The zoo comes alive after five, evening hours from memorial day to labor day, grew in popularity with guests. Attendance was up double digits from 2016. This was the second year of this program. Evening hours give the community and members an opportunity to connect with animals when several of our species are more active. At the zoo exhibits, signs, programs and interpreters engage the zoos over half-million (500,000) annual guests. Specific examples of this during a day trip to the zoo include our interactive exhibits at the giraffe platform where guests can feed the animals, the kangaroo walk about where guests mingle with the species with almost no barrier, sting ray bay where guests can touch a fish and the goat yard where guests can feed and brush the herd. The zoo expanded the interpreter program, in 2017, with interaction at two research stations. First, the indonesia rainforest research station where guests learn about bugs, snakes and other animals native to this biome. Secondly, the zebra research station where guests learn about the africa savannah. Zoo interns hosted twelve seasonal events at the zoo, from birthday parties for our donkeys and kangaroos to ever popular ice day a guest favorite. The most popular events were world conservation days for species including vaquita, giraffe, sharks, oceans and orangutans. More than 50,000 guests participated in these events. These events were included as part of daily admission to the zoo. In 2017, over 22,000 people from 443 organizations participated in 805 formal zoo education programs, including camps, wild nights sleepovers, and zoomobile. Camps are available throughout the year for children aged three to twelve. Guests sleep with sharks at our wild nights program. If you cannot make it to the zoo, we will bring the zoo to you through our zoomobile and discovery box programs. Fourteen all new zoomobile programs were introduced for the 2017-2018 school year focusing on inquiry based learning. Our programs reach all of indiana, and portions of ohio and michigan. Whether you come to the zoo for a daily visit or participate in one of our formal programs we strive to teach others about the zoos conservation commitment locally and worldwide and to entice our audience to share our passion. The zoo also reaches out through traditional mailings and electronic media. Our 14,000 member families receive regular mailings and emails about zoo events and issues. The zoo maintains a strong presence in social media. In 2017, facebook likes were up 13.4%, instagram up 17% and twitter 8%.

Animal Exhibits and Improvements


The zoo covers 38 acres of developed facilities, exhibits, and public areas and is the home for over one thousand (1,000) animals. It was another productive year for babies at the zoo. Two giraffe calves, kita and thabisa, were the highlight of the season. The sitatunga herd grew by two female babies, sage and penda. 2017 marked the first time a wrinkled hornbill chick was successfully produced at our zoo. Guests could see the male bayu feed the female ayu and the chick through a small slit in the nestbox. Hornbills naturally seal the female and chicks into the nesting cavity until the chicks are ready to emerge. Other zoo babies included a banded mongoose, three black-breasted leaf turtles, a green imperial pigeon, a debrazzas monkey, four red-tailed green ratsnakes, and a ring-tailed lemur. This year marked the debut of several new animals. Our new male lion bahati got to meet our guests for the first time on opening day. Mischief and milton, the zoos new tasmanian devils brought this species back to our community after a 13 year break. The zoo is one of six u.s. Zoos to receive "ambassador" tasmanian devils from the australian government. The goal is to create greater awareness about devil facial tumor disease, an easily transmissible cancer that has devastated the wild tasmanian devil population in many parts of tasmania and australia. Modifications to the sitatunga exhibit allowed guests to see our male sitatunga for the first time, showcasing a full set of spiraling horns. A brand new radiated tortoise exhibit in the african journey kopjes allowed guests to see this endangered species for the first time at our zoo. Some existing exhibits received new updates as well. The canadian lynx exhibit was greatly expanded with a stream and additional features added to create a larger, more engaging environment. New aviaries were built near the picnic pavilions to create more spacious homes for the birds that used to live next door to the lynx. In the african village, the small aviary was replaced with one over three times its size and vulturine guinea fowl were exhibited for the first time. The zoo is a self-supporting entity. We pride ourselves in a first-class guest experience. To provide this experience our facilities, both exhibits and support services, are given constant attention to create the best possible impression. Behind the scene the zoo provides precise living conditions for everything from lions to sea lions to kangaroos. Constant maintenance and small capital improvements keeps exhibits attractive, systems working, guests pleased, and animals content. In 2017, the zoo started work on the journey to the heart of the zoo campaign. Infrastructure needs were addressed first. A 53-year-old water main was replaced. The central zoo pond was dredged, lined, and landscaped. Guest paths on the west end of the zoo were replaced. On November 1, the next phase began which includes a complete renovation of monkey island and a new north american river otter exhibit with under water viewing. These improvements will not be open until the 2019 season. Other major improvements during the year included renovation of the oasis market, the pony animal experience was rebuilt and branded as the pony trail, four towers on the sky ride were painted, and refurbishing of kopje rock work in africa began.

Zoo Operations


The largest expense for the zoo is payroll. This holds true for all aza accredited facilities where typically half the budget is devoted to wages, salaries, and benefits. In addition to our paid staff, volunteers and interns donated 41,150 hours to the zoo. They provided keeper support, program assistance, and guest service. Following a major restructure of departments in 2016, all job descriptions were reviewed and updated, and a new wage and salary grid was created. Departments that are directly related to animal care have employees on site every day of the year. A large zoo keeper staff provides animal care and enrichment. To directly support the zoo keeper staff, ancillary crews include two veterinarians, two vet techs, a quarantine keeper, a behavior management coordinator, an animal record keeper and a commissary department. The paid interpreter program, added in 2016 to enhance the guest experience, was expanded. A relatively small administrative team keeps the zoo functioning and continually searches for additional resources to address needs and opportunities. This team worked to bring online a new financial reporting package with integrated accounts payable and purchase order system. To ensure our staff is equipped with the necessary tools to support our operation, management placed a renewed commitment to professional development. The zoo increased its monetary commitment to employee development by 71%. Twenty-three managers and supervisors completed an 8-month leadership institute. All year round employees were red cross cpr/first aid certified. During the off season, the staff has multiple opportunities to learn more about our operation through learning lunches, keeper chats, and staff training. Employees attend aza seminars and experts are brought on site to keep these employees up to date on animal care techniques allowing the zoo to provide proper care for the animal collection. The workforce expands from April through October for the zoo season. These employees are welcomed and trained to perform their job duties through area orientations, position-specific trainings, and new employee receptions with the executive director.


Gary Probst Vice President
Mike O'hara Secretary
Margaret Disler Treasurer
James Anderson Executive Director - Zoo
Judith Ann Barker Director of Finance
Randy Brown Director
Ron Turpin Director
Kristin Marcuccilli Director
Chuck Surack Director
Nick Talarico Director
Sarah Earls Director
Dominic Freiburger Director
Jim Houlihan Director
Brian Bauer Director
Chris Gomez Director
Mike Packnett Director
Tom Ackmann Director
Kathleen Anderson Director
Mark Hageman Director
Eric Ottinger Director
Steve Schimmele Director
Doug Wood Director
Jim Kelley Director
Cheryl Schleinkofer President
Source: IRS 990