Setting New Marks
Did you take in the holiday glow of ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One this year? If so, you probably weren’t alone, as we welcomed a record 420,484 guests this year!
That’s 15 percent more than last year’s record-breaking audience. I think the enthusiasm for the event reflects its commitment to quality. Guests were eager to visit with Santa, pose with their favorite light display and celebrate the brilliance of 2 million lights.
Some other fun numbers for this year’s ZooLights:
More than 5,000 members received the VIP treatment—along with cookies, hot chocolate and crafts—in the Members Lounge at Park Place Café.
We had nine marriage proposals during the event. The most popular place to bend the knee was in front of the frozen animals shaped by our expert ice carvers.
Our ZooLights coat drive collected nearly 200 coats for those in need. That’s a real testament to the generosity of those who came to enjoy the zoo’s free holiday event.
In other precedent-setting news, I’m proud to announce that Dr. Lester E. Fisher Director of Veterinary Medicine Kathryn Gamble, D.V.M., has been awarded diplomate status from the European College of Zoological Medicine in the subspecialty of Zoo Health Management. She is the first American—and the first woman—to receive this honor, the latest in a career of achievement.
Beyond reflecting Dr. Kathryn’s expertise, the new honor highlights Lincoln Park Zoo’s status as a leader in training the next generation of zoo veterinarians. Our veterinary residency program already has been accredited by the American College of Zoological Medicine and will now be presented to the European specialty college.
To date, 50 senior veterinary students have honed their skills under Dr. Kathryn’s guidance, including 10 international preceptors. Each of these exchanges strengthens the zoo’s global ties and showcases our leadership.