by Jim Smilie
Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall kicked off the Alexandria Zoo’s 100th birthday celebration and unveiled the zoo’s new logo at his January State of the Community meeting.
The logo updates the iconic jaguar image and will be rolled out in 2022 as the zoo celebrates its history with events each month. “Alexandria is a destination city, and the Alexandria Zoo is certainly the crown jewel of Alexandria’s destination attractions,” Hall said.
Hall noted that when it was founded in 1922 the zoo was merely a small collection of animals displayed in cages. Today, the Alexandria Zoo is recognized as one of the premiere zoos in the United States. The Alexandria Zoo received AZA accreditation in 1986 and has maintained that standing ever since. “AZA accreditation is not easy to get and it is very hard to maintain. There are only 238 AZA accredited zoos in the world, and only three in Louisiana. Our zoo, the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans and the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, also in New Orleans,” Hall said.
Looking ahead, Hall said he is excited about new projects underway at the zoo and the leadership of Zoo Director Dr. Max Lakes. A new aviary is expected to open later this spring. This new exhibit will allow visitors to interact with and feed cockatiels, a small, very people-friendly bird. In addition, plans are being developed to create a new tiger habitat and to redesign the current Palm Café to create more of a restaurant-style facility.
“All of these efforts are consistent with the zoo’s long term master plan to build on the foundation we have in place,” Hall said. “We know our space and resources are limited. But, as we proved with the creation of the Louisiana Habitat in 1998, and more recently, the Land of the Jaguar in 2013, with careful planning and use of improved technology we can work to upgrade and modernize our existing facility to create a better experience for the animals that live here and our guests.”