Since opening its doors in 1991, Nashville Zoo has grown from a small, private operation located 30 minutes northwest of Nashville to an AZA-accredited facility that welcomes more than one million visitors each year, while being involved with international conservation and research efforts to save threatened species.
The Zoo moved to its current 188-acre location in 1997 and has developed just under half of its land, which was generously donated to the city by the Croft family under a condition that it had to be used as a ‘nature study area’. City leaders struck a 40-year lease with Nashville Zoo in which the land would be city-owned but operated by the Zoo’s private non-profit organization.
Learn more about our history
Zoo President & CEO, Rick Schwartz
Rick Schwartz has been heavily involved in conservation for almost thirty years and is known internationally for his devotion to saving clouded leopards. Since lending his expertise to a group of Nashvillians building a local zoo in 1989, he has been the director and primary architect of Nashville Zoo - building facilities, designing the exhibits and working extensively with other zoos throughout the country to develop the outstanding collection of species represented at Nashville Zoo.
Rick Schwartz – President and Chief Executive Officer
David Oehler – Vice President
Andy Tillman – Chief Operating Officer
Kim Pridgen – Chief Finance Officer
Suzanne Iler – Chief Development Officer
Jami Geselle – Chief Human Resources Officer
Ed Goodrich – Chairman
Rick Schwartz – Zoo President & CEO
Terry Bruggeman – Secretary
Samantha Boyd – Treasurer
Lee Beaman, Clara Belden, Mike Bracken, Meg Crofton, Adam Dretler, Laurie Eskind, Ryan Flury, Tony Giarratana, Alice Goldberg, Jimmy Granbery, J.R. Greene, Barbara Hagood, Allie Hall, Scott Hamilton, Diane Holloway, Patrick Johnson, Rhonda Scott Kinslow, Karen Moore, Sandra Morgan, Trish Munro, Wilson Patton, Michael Peacock, Tim Schoettle, Laurie Seabury, Alexandra Sollberger, Barbara Turner, John Weisenseel, Larry Wieck
Ex-Officio Board Members: Monique Horton Odom, Butch Spyridon
George Armistead III, Cynthia Arnholt, Renée Chevalier, Neely Coble III, Kelly Crockett, Lauren Curry, Missy Eason, Lily Followill, Jennifer Frist, Karyn Frist, Carl Haley, Chris Holmes, Jim Hunt, Mark Johnson, Kent Kirby, David Manning, Richard McRae, Larry Papel, Robin Patton, Tracey Rogers, Brian Smallwood, Charles Sonnenberg, Richard Speer, Kimberly Williams-Paisley