Hattiesburg Zoo recognized with State Tourism Award | Business
The following is a press release from the Hattiesburg Zoo:
One of Hattiesburg’s most cherished landmarks, the Hattiesburg Zoo, has grown to be one of Mississippi’s most treasured tourism destinations. Hosting more than 100,000 visitors annually, the Hattiesburg Zoo continues to reach new milestones and enhance each guest experience with hands-on attractions, educational interactions and new construction projects.
The thrill of adventure and its advancement as a tourism destination earned the Hattiesburg Zoo, in conjunction with the Hattiesburg Convention and Tourism Commissions, the coveted Tourism Achievement Award presented by the Mississippi Tourism Association. Rick Taylor, Executive Director of the Hattiesburg Convention and Tourism Commissions, accepted the award at the 2012 Governor’s Conference on Tourism held earlier this week in Tunica. Given annually, this award recognizes a tourism entity that does an outstanding job at growing an attraction to continually increase visitation.
“The Hattiesburg Zoo and Hattiesburg Convention and Tourism Commissions are incredibly deserving of this prestigious award because of their commitment and dedication to providing the management and marketing that highlights such a top-notch attraction in Mississippi,” said Kappi Allen, President of the Mississippi Tourism Association. “The addition of events and expanded exhibits at the Hattiesburg Zoo are examples of these organizations taking the extra step to provide a quality attraction to both the residents and visitors of Mississippi.”
The Mississippi Tourism Association is a 23-year old organization that is dedicated to the promotion and service to Mississippi’s travel industry. The membership of more than 400 is committed to representing the voice of tourism and promoting the state’s hospitality.
The Hattiesburg Zoo’s story began in the early 1900s, when locals began bringing animals to Kamper Park for visitors to enjoy. The animals soon became a favorite feature of the park, and in January 1950, the Hattiesburg Optimist Club began a program to raise funds to build a Zoo. To the delight of the citizens of Hattiesburg, the Zoo officially opened with several small exhibits on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1950. Today, sixty-two years after opening, the Zoo is home to nearly 80 species of animals.
“One of only two zoos in the state of Mississippi, the Hattiesburg Zoo has become a cherished visiting spot for locals and tourists alike,” said Rick Taylor, Executive Director of the Hattiesburg Convention and Tourism Commissions. “The community’s support of the Zoo is astounding, and includes donations from local Girls Scouts, schools and other organizations, which have helped the zoo reach new and exciting milestones and provide unforgettable experiences for our guests again and again.”
The Hattiesburg Zoo continues to develop and grow under the management of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, a relationship that began in 2009. Earlier this year during the annual Birthday Bash, the Zoo unveiled two new attractions – the Parris Jewelers Mining Sluice and the “Touch Africa” Petting Zoo – and opened an entire section of the Zoo that had been closed to visitors for more than ten years. The acquisition of new animals and the addition of new exhibits is also an integral part of the Zoo’s overall development plans. Recently, the Hattiesburg Zoo received a llama and her baby. The female baby, which is now three months old, and her mother, join a male llama and are now all on display in the Zoo’s South America exhibit.
The Hattiesburg Zoo is a Hattiesburg Convention Commission Facility, in partnership with the City of Hattiesburg and VISITHATTIESBURG™. Since 1991, the Hattiesburg Convention Commission has been developing and operating tourism-related facilities for the Hattiesburg area. For more information, visit www.ZooHattiesburg.com or contact us at 601.268.3220.