Cultivating connections between people and nature that inspire action for our planet.
To be the regional leader in conservation and sustainability with a global impact.
Our Mission and Strategic Plan
Nestled in Evansville’s northwest side, Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden has been a cornerstone of our city for nearly 100 years. Founded in 1928, Mesker Park Zoo was the first zoo in Indiana. That trailblazing spirit continues today as we formally pursue strategic planning for the first time.
A team of dedicated staff members began this strategic planning effort, in partnership with Canopy Strategic Partners, in 2022 and concluded in 2023. Undergoing strategic planning at this moment in time was no easy lift, and the accomplishment of this work is a testament to the Zoo team’s tenacity and will. It demonstrates the determination necessary to continue to trail blaze as we have from our very beginning.
This plan reaffirms our mission, vision, and core values, centering us as a team and giving our community a clearer picture of who we are as an organization. It plots a course for us over the next five years, continuing to pursue more “firsts” as we approach our 100th birthday in 2028. It’s an ambitious plan, pulling us forward into new territory while nurturing our team, animals, plants, and resources along the way. Together we can continue to innovate, be the first, be bold — this is just the first step.
A team of 47 full time
and 60 part time staff.
Home to 140 species.
Stewarding 45 acres.
guests in 2022.
Founded in 1928.
Beloved by 185 volunteers.
VALUE OUR TEAM
Foster a culture of teamwork, appreciation, safety, and recognition; develop the next generation of zoo professionals; value and leverage diverse experience and perspective.
LEAD IN CONSERVATION
Actively engage in conservation regionally and globally; develop a trusted reputation for wildlife, sustainability, and conservation expertise; convene others in pursuit of conservation goals.
EXPAND OUR REACH
Attract new audiences, develop new partnerships, and invest in experiences that inspire return visitation.
MASTER BEST PRACTICES
Provide best-in-class animalcare, education, and guest experience; attain AZA accreditation.
Cultivate a sense of ownership of MPZ; contribute to pride of place and quality of life for Evansville and the region; be a place where guests from all backgrounds feel welcome.