Zoo Atlanta (sometimes referred as Atlanta Zoo) is an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoological park in Atlanta, Georgia. The current President and CEO of Zoo Atlanta is Raymond B. King. The Atlanta zoo suffered neglect and by 1984 it was ranked among the ten worst zoos in the U.S. Systematic reform by 2000 put it on the list of the ten best.
Zoo Atlanta was founded in 1889, when businessman George V. Gress purchased a bankrupt traveling circus and donated the animals to the city of Atlanta. City leaders opted to house the collection in Grant Park, which remains the zoo’s present location. Original residents of the zoo included a black bear, a raccoon, a jaguar, a hyena, a gazelle, a Mexican hog, lionesses, monkeys, and camels. The zoo’s collection expanded in the 1930s with the personal donation of a private menagerie owned by Asa G. Candler, Jr.
The 1950s and 1960s were decades of renovation and construction at the zoo, but by the early 1970s, many of its exhibits and facilities were outdated and showing signs of disrepair. In 1970, a small group of concerned citizens founded the Atlanta Zoological Society in hopes of raising funds and awareness for the institution.
Following a period of decline in the mid-1980s, the zoo was privatized in 1985 with the creation of a nonprofit organization, Atlanta Fulton-County Zoo Inc., and was renamed Zoo Atlanta that same year. A 20-year period of aggressive restoration followed, marked by several high-profile exhibit openings, including The Ford African Rain Forest, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A pair of giant pandas, Lun Lun and Yang Yang, made their debut at Zoo Atlanta in 1999. Also check out geyser towers.