Jackson Zoo Temporarily Closes to the Public for Final Management Transition Stage

JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI – Due to the final stages of a management transition, the Jackson Zoological Park will temporarily close to the public as of Tuesday, October 1.

As the City of Jackson and management group zoOceanarium finalize the five-year operational contract of the park, licensing and certification must be approved by the USDA, as well as other regulatory agencies. Maintenance and inspections could take 60 days or more to complete.

During the hiatus from the public, both zoo and city staff will be working inside the fence lines on problem areas, animal exhibit details, and major repairs needed for the re-licensing and re-certification. Animal care will continue without any interruption, and with minimal change in protocol.

Popular events like Boo At The Zoo and Jackson Zoo Santa Station had to be cancelled, and school field trips were rescheduled due to the unforeseen shuttering. Future events, such as Zoo Day in March, Zoo Brew in April, and the Blue Bell Ice Cream Safari in July, remain on the events planning board for the 2020 centennial year celebrations.

Limited educational off-site outreach is available through the Zoo Mobile program (reptiles and birds only), and small volunteer opportunities like landscaping are still needed during the closure. People ages 13 years up and older needing community  hours can sign up through the Jackson Zoo’s GiveGab.com page.

Jackson Zoo active membership holders will continue to be able to use their member cards at local partner restaurants for the 15% discount (Mangia Bene restaurants Sal & Mookies, Bravo!, and Broad Street; Iron Horse Grill; Brent’s Drug’s; Barrelhouse; Fenian’s Pub; Twisted Pretzel; Brick Street Pops; and Dippin Dots). Once the park has re-opened, all active membership expiration dates will be extended to reflect the length of time of the closure, as will any outstanding comp passes or Groupon vouchers. 

Fans and community partners are encouraged to follow the progress of the Zoo Staff on their social media sites (Facebook and Instagram: @JacksonZoo), and through regular e-blasts (sign up on the website home page). Repairs and renovations will be documented, and media will be invited in periodically to report on the activities.

Any questions or comments about the management contract may be directed to Dr. Robert Blaine, Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Jackson, at 601-960-2313. All daily operation questions can be answered by Interim Director David L Wetzel at 601-352-2580 ext 237.

Elisabeth J Rivers (EJ) Media/Events/Development 601-352-2580 ext 227 ejrivers@jacksonzoo.org

Jackson Zoo Welcomes Thrivent Financial Living Generously Service Day on May 11th

Thrivent Financial Services in the Jackson Metro will be showing support for the Jackson Zoo on Saturday, May 11th, with a Living Generously day of service. Along with volunteering, the not-for-profit financial membership organization is donating thousands of dollars in materials to the nearly 100-year-old park to help with annual “curb appeal” projects.

Financial Consultant Josh Jones, FIC, RICP®, BFA™ of Thrivent Financial, reached out to the Jackson Zoo staff in April, expressing the desire of Thrivent Financial’s members to not only volunteer, but also donate goods to complete some much needed park tasks:  refreshing the turf of the two playground areas inside the zoo, and replacing the colorful flags at the Capitol Street entrance.  Thrivent Financial has purchased 400 bags of natural mulch from Lowe’s Home Improvement stores in Jackson and Ridgeland, and ten 4’X6’ outdoor flags from A Complete Flag Source in Jackson to replace the original flags hung in 2013. A Complete Flag Source will be donating the flag hanging service on Friday, May 10th, so that the fresh colors will greet the Thrivent volunteers. In addition, approximately thirty employees and members of Thrivent Financial will be gathering at Jackson Zoo Admissions at 9 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, May 11th, to help distribute the mulch, with the assistance of the regular Zoo Crew Landscaping volunteers.

“The Jackson Zoo staff is so grateful for this kind of multi-level donation,” said David L. Wetzel, Interim Zoo Director. “There are many projects where we have wonderful people ready to get in there and help with their time, but not enough resources. Thrivent’s gift of services AND goods lifts some of the weight off the small staff on two fronts, which makes a huge difference to what we can accomplish in a day.”

Started over one hundred years ago in Appleton, Wisconsin, Thrivent Financial is a financial services organization that helps Christians be wise with money and live generously, offering its more than two million member-owners a broad range of products, services, and guidance from financial representatives nationwide. It has helped members make wise money choices that reflect their values, while providing them opportunities to demonstrate their generosity where they live, work, and worship. Thrivent Financial is listed at #318 on the Fortune 500, named as one of the world’s most ethical companies by Ethisphere Magazine, and has donated more than 15.4M volunteer hours and $280M in financial relief to non-profits and  disaster relief all over the world.

The Jackson Zoo is the oldest zoological park in the state of Mississippi, started in 2019, and its daily operation relies on funds from daily admissions and membership, as well as the local, county, and state levels of government. The zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Christmas Day, and his home to over 360 animals representing species all over the world. All media is invited out to talk to representatives from both the Jackson Zoo and Thrivent Financial, who will be on hand to make statements during the volunteer hours.

BankPlus presents Safari Sunset at Jackson Zoo May 25

March 27th, 2019

Jackson MS – The staff of the Jackson Zoo is pleased to announce the addition of Safari Sunsets to their summer event calendar in 2019. Each of these family-friendly evenings will highlight several of the zoo’s popular animals and activities for all ages, as well as several craft beers for the guests over 21 years of age. Currently scheduled are the last Saturday evenings of May, June, July, and August between 4 and 7 p.m., at 2918 West Capitol Street in Jackson.

The first Safari Sunset is scheduled for Saturday, May 25th, and is presented by BankPlus. Jackson Zoo Keepers will be doing special enrichment activities with Buster and Emma, the White Handed Gibbons; Artemis, Story, Fawn, and Montana, the American Cougar sisters; and other popular animals like Nicolai, the Amur Leopard, and KD Knox, the Reticulated Giraffe. Admission is set at $13 for ages 12 years and up; $10 for ages 2 to 12 years, Zoo Members $3, and included in each ticket will be animal encounters with the Jackson Zoo Discovery Animals, inflatables, games, and activities for the children, use of the Splash Pad, a ride on the Livingston Train (weather permitting), and a ride on the Endangered Species Carousel. Pepsi products will be available while supplies last, courtesy of Brown Bottling.

Popular craft beer retailer LD’s Beer Run will be selecting a few craft and domestic brews for adults to sample during the evening, and a beer bracelet will be available for $7 to guests ages 21 years and up. Visitors who wish to dine in can purchase meals from Back Yard Burgers at the Elephant House Café, and other fun treats from Twisted Pretzel, Dippin Dots, and Brick Street Pops at the Cool Cats Concession stand. A portion of the proceeds from those sales will stay at the zoo.

The addition of the safaris was partly due to the postponement of Jackson Zoo Brew, Mississippi’s longest running craft beer festival, originally scheduled for April 5th. “The postponement was unfortunate but unavoidable,” said EJ Rivers, Jackson Zoo Media and Events. “Jackson Zoo Brew now has a reputation as a really unique craft brew experience. Due to many circumstances beyond our control, and knowing the craft brew community as we do, we felt we could not meet previous expectations in such a short planning window. The Jackson Zoo and the Jackson community deserve better.”

The silver lining is the opportunity to bring a new event into the line-up. “The Safari Sunset is a type of event that we’ve wanted to do for some time,” said Jackson Zoo’s Interim Director, David L. Wetzel. “Many people have requested later zoo hours for families, and others have shown interest in attending more than one craft beer festival. These Safaris allow us to do both, and will be a great addition to the summer activities in the coming years.”

Wetzel says he understands the disappointment of many Zoo Brew fans. “We tried very hard to find a way to overcome the obstacles, but in the end, the integrity of the event will be best served as part of our centennial celebration. We are really looking forward to working with the community to make Jackson Zoo Brew 2020 the best one ever.”

Comcast Cares Day Volunteers Come to Jackson Zoo on April 21st

JACKSON MS – April 13, 2018   The Jackson Zoological Society is honored to be one of several non-profits in the Metro area chosen for Comcast Cares Day 2018 on Saturday, April 21st. This the 17th year for America’s largest single-day corporate service event, with volunteers comprised of local Comcast NBCUniversal employees, families, and friends helping community organizations around the world. At 8 a.m. on the 21st, Jackson’s Comcast Cares volunteers will embark on the Comcast Cares 2018 Jackson Zoo Beautification project.   Comcast volunteers of all ages will be assisting with spring cleaning tasks, like washing public spaces and fixtures. A few will be specifically focused in the area of the on-site veterinary hospital, and another anticipated project will be the building of picnic benches for public use in shaded areas throughout the zoo.    In addition, the Comcast Foundation is making a monetary donation on behalf of each volunteer that signs up. This provides much needed financial assistance as well as time, skills, and service to many of these family-oriented and educational non-profits.   “We are so pleased by Comcast’s joining our Zoo Crew and Zoo Teens for the day,” said Jackson Zoological Society Executive Director Beth Poff. “Volunteers are a necessity to an organization like the Jackson Zoo, and this particular day of service will allow our staff to move forward in other project areas sooner than anticipated. The Comcast family is enabling the Jackson Zoo family to further our mission of quality animal care, education, and conservation.”   Volunteer opportunities for April 21st, and the preceding week, are still available by registering online, emailing Volunteer Coordinator Stacy Crain, or calling at 601.352.2580 ext 240.    Read more about Comcast Cares and the Comcast Foundation in the official Comcast NBCUniversal press release..

Jackson Zoological Society Approves Recommendation for Next Step towards New Zoo

March 27, 2018

Jackson, Miss. – 

Today, the Board of Directors for the Jackson Zoological Society accepted and approved a task force recommendation to find a more optimal location for the animals and their visitors within the city of Jackson. The task force, comprised of zoo board members, local business leaders, city representatives, and city residents, spent months assessing the results of several feasibility studies compiled over the past decade. The final recommendation was to investigate the adaptation of 25 acres at the LeFleur’s Bluff State Park into a new zoological and family attraction….


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