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history of the saint louis zoo

A Zoo is Born

There's more to the Zoo's beginning than the 1904 World's Fair Flight Cage. The Zoo's beginning was made official with the formation of the Zoological Society of St. Louis in 1910.

Putting on a Show

George Vierheller, the Zoo's first director, set out to attract international attention to the Saint Louis Zoo through the animal shows, newsreels and more. That tradition has continued throughout the Zoo's history, with animal stars and Zoo staff alike garnering worldwide acclaim.

Going Wild

The 1970s to the present represents a great time of change for the Zoo, maybe the greatest in our history. This era gave us a campaign to gain tax support from the city and county residents, award-winning exhibit renovations and unprecedented growth in the Zoo's education and conservation efforts.

Historical Photographs

Step back in time with these historical photographs.

Past Leadership

George P. Vierheller
Richard D. Schultz
R. Marlin Perkins
Charles H. Hoessle
Zoo Director – 1982-2002
Director Emeritus – 2002-present
William J. Hoff
Dr. William J. Boever
Director & COO
Robert T. Briggs
Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D.
Dana Brown President & CEO – 2002-2021
President Emeritus – 2021-present

Take a Look Back

Read about our top accomplishments and highlights from 2021.

Learn more