Memphis Zoo seeking donations, will temporarily close

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s lunchtime at the Memphis Zoo, typically a time being watched by an audience of all ages. Wednesday, it’s empty.

“It really wasn’t our decision to make it was the health department told us we needed to close down with the new stay at home directive they really wanted to encourage people to stay at home,” said Nick Harmeier, Chief Marketing Officer for Memphis Zoo.

This is the second time the zoo has been bitten by the coronavirus.

Back in March, they were forced to shut down for several months.

While they said they’ve done everything in their power to keep workers and visitors safe this was beyond their control, still a top priority: the animals.

“We still have the animals to take care of first and foremost, employees full-time and part time will still get paid up until the next payroll period which is January 16th and then we’ll reevaluate it at that time,” Harmeier said.

It costs $16,000 a day for the Memphis Zoo to operate, with 80 acres and 4,500 species of animals who must be taken care of despite the traffic coming through the zoo. That’s where the emergency animal fund comes in and YOU.

“We will continue to push memberships we have an emergency animal fund a donation link that we’ll continue to push too we were successful with those initiatives early in the year so we’re going to roll that our and try and get people to still support us even though we are closed,” Harmeier said.

If you have tickets to the SunTrust Zoo Lights, your money will be refunded. You can donate to the Emergency Animal Fund at

For questions about Zoo Lights refunds and memberships, contact memberships@memphiszoo.org.

Click here to donate to the Memphis Zoo.