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Giving thanks for our amazing Zoo team

Hey there, everyone! I’m Shay, one of the gorilla care staff here at Zoo Atlanta back for another Keeper Story.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I wanted to take a quick moment to shine a light on all of the amazing work that happens at the Zoo behind the scenes that many guests may not be aware of, but that we are all incredibly thankful for. There’s a lot that goes on to keep a great zoo like this one at its best, and it couldn’t be done without the tireless work and cooperation of employees across multiple departments.

As a guest, there are a good handful of departments you interact with every time you visit. Admissions, Rides, Sales, Membership, and more are there to greet you, answer any questions you have, help you get where you want to go, and make sure that your visit to Zoo Atlanta is the best it can be. If you visit any of the concessions such as Wild Planet Café or Flamingo Joe’s, you’ll meet the staff who operate all of the concessions around the Zoo (I’m a huge fan of their giant, delicious brownies and Rice Krispies Treats at Wild Planet Café!). As you’re walking along the pathways, you’ll likely see a member of our team who make sure the walkways, plazas and buildings are clean and clear of trash. And speaking of making sure everything looks nice, our Horticulture Department does a great job maintaining all the plants and trees throughout the Zoo! If you’re lucky, you may spot a member of the Education Department leading a class of children on a tour or standing nearby with one of our Ambassador Animals for you to learn about up-close! We also have a great group of Volunteers at the ready to teach you everything you could want to know about the various habitats and animals throughout the Zoo.

The Zoo definitely couldn’t run smoothly without all of those departments working at the forefront of the guest experience, but there is still so much more that goes on behind the scenes! For starters, we have a wonderful Maintenance Team who are always on the go and ready to lend a hand across the Zoo.

And we can’t talk about the Zoo without mentioning everyone in animal care! Everyone from the animal care professionals, vet staff, Animal Nutrition Department, and our research staff work directly or indirectly with the animals each and every day – that includes holidays! Even when the Zoo is closed for holidays or inclement weather, essential staff is at the Zoo making sure all of the animals are cared for, enriched and healthy. Whether it’s cleaning up after the animals, preparing their food, feeding them, training and enriching them, or conducting observational studies, the people who work with these animals are some of the most dedicated, selfless and hard-working people I’ve ever met.

Last but not least behind the scenes, there are our wonderful Human Resources, Public Relations, and Marketing Departments who strive to make sure the employees are taken care of and who work together with all of the departments to ensure that guests know about exciting upcoming events and bring you lots of creative and neat behind-the-scenes content (like these Keeper Stories or the ever-popular #TakeoverTuesdays on Zoo Atlanta social media). And whenever there’s a problem with anything technological (keeping all the computers that staff use around the Zoo secure and up-to-date is no simple feat!), our IT department is there to happily fix it. And we can’t forget our Security Team, who constantly monitor the entire Zoo to make sure guests and animals are safe.

It takes a lot of people with a very wide range of skills to keep a zoo running, more than most people would imagine (and a few more than I even mentioned here)! I know I’m thankful for the hard work that each and every member of the Zoo Atlanta staff puts in every day to make this place as amazing as it is. No position is any less important than the others. It really does take an extraordinary team, and we certainly have one here!

So next time you visit us here at Zoo Atlanta and you happen to pass by an employee, thank them for their hard work! Every member from every department plays an integral role in the success of this Zoo, and you can really make someone’s day by telling them that you notice and appreciate it.

Thanks, everyone!
Shay Workman
Keeper II, Primates

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