Whether you're running into Kevin Davis Knox ("Knox") the giraffe, or taking the kids for a splash in the Splash Pad on a hot summer day, the Jackson Zoo has you covered for everything learning and all-ages fun.
First established in 1919 and moved to Livingston Park in 1921, the zoo has been an enriching experience for Jacksonians and visitors alike for over 100 years. The Jackson Zoo supports eleven endangered species and multiple species survival programs, making it one of the significant conservation efforts in the state.
It is the heart of its people, though - the zookeepers, administrators, and staff - that keep the zoo alive and are always looking to make an even more significant impact on their wildlife and human communities.
"We need to make a more concerted effort to be involved with and learn about our environment," Jackson Zoo Media, Events and Development Coordinator Elisabeth J (EJ) Rivers said. "Zoos today, including us, are trying to be more aware. Many of the animals here are endangered, which means we're trying to save them through the species survival programs we're a part of. We want people to understand what's going on with these animals."
Rivers said we are no longer separated from wildlife anymore. Despite our technological advancements, we're still very much a part of the planet, and we need to start acting like it.
"Having a zoo is a great way to teach that, especially to our younger, upcoming generations."
The Jackson Zoo is unique as one of the city's most interactive family facilities, with more than 90% of its visitors being multigenerational families with children under 12. Keeping all ages in mind, one of the unique ways it engages with zoo-goers is through its almost monthly enrichment experiences.
One question Rivers has a more challenging time answering is who her favorite Jackson Zoo resident is.
"It's kind of like being a parent; you have favorites for different reasons, right?" Rivers laughed. "I love Knox [the giraffe] because he's very sweet and makes me laugh. And then I love our alligators because they're misunderstood. Like many snakes, reptiles, and spiders, people are scared of them, and they have so much to offer. You know, there's no such thing as an evil animal. There's no such thing."
"I love watching Big Mike the rhino. He's 4,000 pounds of very spoiled toddler. But he's a joy to watch. And when he interacts with you, or when he or one of the other animals recognizes you, it's really powerful."
To be involved with the Jackson Zoo and check out their upcoming events, visit their website and social media pages.
Current hours are 10 am - 4 pm Tuesdays and Thursday - Sunday.
- Wheelchair Accessible
- Family Friendly
- Good for Groups
- Age Discounts
Bear Viewing Area
Mississippi Backyard Creatures Building
Mississippi Water Building
The Community Center
The Gertrude C. Ford Education Center
Soulful Family Fun in JXN
Jackson is a city that thrives on offering authentic experiences, so children of all ages are sure to stay active and entertained.
Budget Friendly Jackson
Looking for something to do on a dime? Jackson has options! From exploring to grabbing a bite, we can help you can plan a whole day of fun.