Nestled along the shores of Lake Decatur, Scovill Zoo is home to more than 400 animals spanning six continents. Originally called Scovill Farm, the zoo was built by the Decatur Park District in 1966 and opened to the public in 1967. The original animal collection has evolved over the years to include cheetahs, camels, meerkats, flamingos, zebras, and more! Penguins will make their debut in 2013. Scovill Zoo earned accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 2001. The zoo has since passed two more accreditation inspections in 2006 and 2011. Accreditation shows that Scovill Zoo meets the highest standards for animal care, exhibit maintenance, education, conservation, and administration. Scovill Zoo is an educational, family-friendly destination for residents across Central Illinois. Nearly 100,000 individuals visit the zoo each year. In addition to viewing and learning about the fascinating zoo animals, guests enjoy the Endangered Species Carousel, Z.O. & O. Express Train, and community-built Project Playground. Educational programs are offered year-round, with summer camps, zoo “safaris,” mobile zoos, and winter classroom programs. This community gem truly offers something for everyone!
Scovill Zoo is proud of its distinction as an AZA-accredited facility. Accreditation was granted on September 13, 2011 following a rigorous inspection of Scovill Zoo’s collection care, keeper training, animal safety, visitor and staff safety, education programs, conservation efforts, veterinary programs, financial stability, and risk management. The zoo team prepared an extensive written report for the Accreditation Commission, and finally a formal hearing was held, following which accreditation was granted for a period of five years.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums currently represents just 224 accredited zoos and aquariums, most of which are located in North America. “We take great pride in having earned re-accreditation by the AZA,” said Zoo Director Dave Webster. “This assures all of our visitors that we are a world-class zoo that holds the highest standards of animal care and husbandry.”
In spring 2007, Scovill Zoo formed a local chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK). The national organization formed in 1967 in San Diego, CA as a resource for zoo keepers to exchange information and continue their education. Scovill Zoo’s AAZK goals include assisting in conservation and animal protection efforts. Educational booths are also planned for Earth Day celebrations, Zippy Zoo Days and other zoo events.
Scovill Zoo AAZK partners with the Macon County Conservation District on projects such as prairie burns, retaining appropriate foliage, ridding areas of invasive plant species, and monitoring blue bird nests. In summer 2007, the group raised funds to adopt an Anatolian shepherd, a breed of working dogs that is an important component of cheetah conservation in Namibia, Africa. For more information about Scovill Zoo’s AAZK chapter and upcoming events, please call the zoo at 421-7435.
Director, Dave Webster
Assistant Director, Ken Frye
Education & Volunteer Coordinator, Misty Tompkins
Office Coordinator, Kathy Winter
Maintenance, Kent Winchester
Decatur Park Board
Chris Riley, President
Jack Kenny, Vice-President
Bob Brilley, II
Decatur Park District Administration
Bill Clevenger, Executive Director