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Miller Park Zoo

Miller Park Zoo

Zoo Director



Responsible for the overall planning, direction, operation, and oversite of the Miller Park Zoo including the procurement, care, and exhibiting of all animals.  Oversees all Zoo staff and volunteers, zoo education programming, grant writing and procurement, an extensive public relations program, and promotes cooperation and support with the Miller Park Zoological Society.  Directs Zoo building and grounds maintenance projects and improvements as well as the specialized care needed for zoo specimens and animal transactions.  Work is performed with considerable independence, subject to review by reports submitted and through the observation of results achieved to the Director of Parks & Recreation (or designee).


Examples of Duties


This list may not include all tasks and/or knowledge which may be expected of the employee, nor does it cover all specific duties which may be required. Other duties may be assigned.

  • Oversees and coordinates the Zoo’s daily operations of administration, admissions, concessions, public education, buildings, animal care and welfare, collection management, and grounds maintenance.
  • In collaboration with the Zoo Curator, monitors and ensures the best possible health and well-being of the animal collection for the enjoyment and education of the public in accordance with AZA standards.
  • Evaluates and inspects the Miller Park Zoo facility regularly and ensures compliance with all Federal and State laws, USDA regulations, rules, and AZA accreditation standards pertaining to zoo management and animal care. Monitors zoo inspections and maintains all required permits necessary for the operation of the Zoo.  
  • Hires, supervises, trains, and monitors the performance of assigned personnel; ensures staff compliance with zoo policies, procedures, and safety practices.  
  • Ensures zoo staff receive all the necessary safety training regarding equipment operations and SOP’s for working with the Zoo animal collection. 
  • Develops and administers the Zoo’s budget. Authorizes expenditures while making recommendations for future equipment, facility needs, and capital improvements.
  • Works with department staff, inter-departmentally within the City, and with outside professionals and contractors for the development and implementation of projects in the Zoo; including construction, buildings, and grounds maintenance.
  • Works with the Miller Park Zoological Society.  Networks with potential donors and assists with developing an overall strategy for fund raising efforts on behalf of the zoo in partnership with the Miller Park Zoological Society
  • Supervises and participates in Zoo conservation and fundraising activities; secures and administers grant funding. 
  • Responds to public inquiries, requests, and complaints regarding zoo related matters.
  • Serves as a spokesperson for the Zoo and delivers presentations to community groups and organizations regarding zoo operations. Assists with and participates in special events and promotional activities for the Zoo.
  • Works with union zookeepers to perform daily duties and with union stewards as needed


Typical Qualifications


General Skills Level:

Knowledge of:

  • Principles of animal welfare, care, and management
  • Principles and practices of zoology and veterinary medicine.
  • Zoo operations and management principles. 
  • Principles of supervision, training, coaching, and working cooperatively in a collectively bargained work environment. 
  • Routing software, computer spreadsheet, word processing, work orders, email and internet related to performance of the essential functions of the job. 
  • Regulations and standards governing zoo management. 
  • AZA guidelines on animal breeding, care, and feeding principles and processes.
  • Safety protocols pertaining to the handling and care of animals
  • Building and grounds maintenance principles, practices, and equipment.
  • Processes for developing and implementing budgets.
  • Supervisory principles, practices, and methods. 
  • AZA recognized zoological records management systems such as ZIMS.

Skills in:

  • Directing and coordinating the zoo operations. 
  • Ensuring the Zoo’s animal collection is properly cared for and facilities are appropriately maintained in accordance with AZA recommendations
  • Maintaining compliance with regulations and standards governing zoo management. 
  • Developing and implementing zoo plans, policies, procedures, and programs. 
  • Overseeing and coordinating the Zoo’s veterinary health function. 
  • Serving as a spokesperson for the Zoo and interacting with the public. Communicating clearly, effectively, and professionally both orally and in writing. 
  • Organizing work, setting priorities, meeting critical deadlines, and following up on assignments with minimum direction. 
  • Supervising, directing, coaching, and training employees. 
  • Using tact, discretion, initiative, and independent judgment within established guidelines 


Ability to:

  • Identify safe and unsafe work processes and environments. Communicate and train employees on work safety as related to this position and enforce safety regulations. 
  • Organize and plan work and work assignments based on changing needs. 
  • Assigning and scheduling employees. Demonstrating fairness concerning workloads and assignments and supervising under a collective bargaining agreement. 
  • Coach, train, and mentor employees to develop a positive and productive work environment. Respectfully discipline employees to correct negative behaviors when needed. 
  • Ensure that work standards are met. Identify and take appropriate corrective action when standards have not been met. 
  • Establish and maintain effective and professional working relationships with direct reports, other department team members, other departments, contractors, and the general public. 
  • Document, track and interpret work performance measurements and make operational adjustments to ensure efficient and effective results. 
  • Make responsible decisions in accordance with established policies and procedures. 
  • Use routing software, computer spreadsheets, word processing, email programs and the telephone related to performance of the essential functions of the job. 
  • Compile and understand reports which use basic mathematics including simple descriptive statistics such as percentages. 
  • Adjust their own work schedule as required to respond to emergencies, including all Accreditation required safety drills, and events such as snowstorms. (or “severe weather events” which would include tornados, snowstorms, etc.)
  • Identify individuals with the technical and interpersonal skills to lead crews and projects. 


  • Bachelor’s Degree in related Zoology or Biology fields with specialized courses in zoo administration and zoology; considerable experience in managing a zoo facility or related field including supervisory experience, graduation from AZA Zoo Management School preferred; or any equivalent combination of training and experience.  The ability to be a Professional Fellow of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association is required for AZA accreditation.


  • Knowledge of current AZA conservation efforts including Species Survival Plans and SAFE programs and the ability to guide participation of the zoo where possible.

Certificates and Licenses:  

  • Illinois Driver’s License

Supervisory Responsibilities: 

  • Manages several full time and seasonal staff.  Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems, in general maintaining a harmonious work environment, subject to the review of the Parks and Recreation Director.  

Physical Requirements/Working Conditions: Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Work is performed in both office and field environments.   Work requires occasionally traveling to other locations for meetings.  The physical demands on this position may include lifting and manipulation of heavy objects, primarily for demonstration and training, but in most cases physical activity is of an oversight nature.  Oversight activities may take place in dusty, moist, or humid conditions and in a range of outdoor temperatures.


Our employees are our greatest asset and reason for our success. As a full-time Classified/non-union employee, you will receive a Total Compensation package including healthcare/wellness benefits, paid time off (PTO), insurance and retirement. Details below: Healthcare/Wellness Medical - choice between a lower deductible PPO, an HSA-compatible PPO, and an HMO All plans administered by BCBS 75% employer subsidy provided, for employee and any covered dependent(s). Working spouse exclusion applies, however, to the Medical Plan Dental - PPO Administered by BCBS 50% employer subsidy provided, for employee and any covered dependent(s) Vision - PPO Administered by VSP 50% employer subsidy provided, for employee and any covered dependent(s) Medical and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) Extensive Wellness program, including an annual Health Club Reimbursement Employee Assistance Program (EAP) – for assistance with work, health & life topics such as overall wellbeing, relationship management, workplace challenges, addiction, child/elder care resources, legal advice, financial guidance, nutrition & physical health Paid Time Off (PTO) 2 weeks' vacation, provided on your start date 3 weeks at 5 years of service 4 weeks at 11 years of service 5 weeks at 20 years of service 11.5 paid holidays each year New Year’s Day Martin Luther King Jr. Day Good Friday Memorial Day 4th of July Labor Day Veterans Day Thanksgiving Day After Thanksgiving Christmas Eve Christmas Day New Year’s Eve (1/2 day) 2 personal days provided each year Opportunity to earn a Wellness Day each year 1 sick day earned each month, up to a maximum bank of 60 days Insurance $50,000 Employer-provided benefit Voluntary Life Insurance buy-up Retirement Automatic enrollment in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) Pension – benefit details can be found here Voluntary retirement options available: 457 Account (similar to a 401k) Roth IRA Additional Voluntary After-Tax Contribution (VAC) plan via IMRF

How to Apply

Miller Park Zoo
1020 South Morris Avenue
Bloomington, IL 61701
Phone: 3094342250
Fax: Miller Park Zoo

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