Information on:

Springfield - Dickerson Park Zoo

1401 West Norton Road

Mission Statement

Dickerson Park Zoo connects people with animals to create adventures that encourage discovery and inspire conservation action.

Adopted by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, December 2010.

Dickerson Park Zoo History

Established by the Springfield Park Board in 1922, Dickerson Park Zoo was initially developed with the help of WPA labor and funds in the 1930s. From then until the 1970s, very little development or support occurred, and by 1975, the zoo had become a run-down liability to the City of Springfield. The zoo was on the verge of being closed, but a commitment was made by the City and a newly formed support group now known as Friends of the Zoo to save the zoo. The next 10 years marked significant improvements and a repositioning of the zoo as a valuable cultural asset to the community. The Friends organization developed a membership base, launched education programs, and garnered support of donors for new projects and improvements. The City of Springfield committed budget dollars and instituted an admission fee to help offset expenses. The zoo, located on a beautiful tract of land with much potential, had been saved. Now it was time to plan an orderly approach to its future.

The revitalization of Dickerson Park Zoo coincided with philosophical changes being experienced by zoos nationwide, and a mission recognizing the objectives of recreation, education, conservation and research was adopted and used as a guidepost for charting the growth and purpose of the zoo. A master plan, adopted in 1985, visualized a new zoo, utilizing geographic themes and phased development addressing the mission objectives as guiding concepts. The zoo became involved in several Species Survival Plans, most notably Asian elephants, maned wolves and cheetahs, finding success with each endeavor. In-house and outreach education programs became valuable services offered and used by the community, and fun, family-oriented special events drew large numbers and gained additional support for the growing zoo. The growth of tourism in the region also contributed to increases in attendance and offered visitors to the community another attraction when visiting the Ozarks.

The zoo was accredited by theAmerican Zoo and Aquarium Association in 1986, and has been reaccredited in two subsequent reviews, most recently in 1996. With success comes expectations for additional services and exhibits, and the need for increased revenues for operation of the zoo. An update and revision of the master plan was completed in 1996, and efforts are underway to assure that funding, both private and public, is in place to enable the projects in the master plan to be accomplished by 2010. The zoo enjoys a positive place in the cultural fabric of the community, and all indications are that it will continue to be treasured as one of the city’s crown jewels.


Tamitha Lambert

Saturday, April 14, 2018
My nieces and nephew love Dickerson Park Zoo! It's the perfect size for them that they don't get worn out walking around. They love feeding the giraffes and watching Precious the elephant do her "exercise" at 11am when they have the elephant presentation. It's our favorite place to go in the summer and we already can't wait to go back. All of the staff are friendly and if the kids ask anything they took the time to stop and talk to them!

Amy Cristy

Sunday, March 18, 2018
Great little zoo. Lots of great exhibits. My family loves the giraffe exhibit and the giraffe feeding deck. It is a great half day trip. The price is a bit steep for the size of the zoo. We love the classes they offer at an extra cost.

Kayley Dawn

Monday, March 19, 2018
My fiancé and I were in town on vacation. We always go to the local zoos as it’s become tradition for us. We have been to around 10 zoos at this point, and we definitely enjoyed our experience. As adults in our mid 20’s it took us a couple hours to walk through. The zoo definitely has room for updates I will say that with no hesitation, however if you can get past that it’s a great experience. The zoo also seems to really care about their animals. Don’t look at the bad reviews. We agreed people would enjoy it.

Hannah Caudle

Monday, March 26, 2018
We have a membership. And it was well worth it. We have had a membership for about 3 years now. We manage to make our way to to zoo on average about once a month. It is a perfect way to spend the day with the kiddo. Plus she gets to feed a giraffe every chance she can. Or play in the petting zoo. This place is more than perfect for inquiring minds or animal enthusiasts.

D. Leighann Batemon

Friday, March 16, 2018
As far as small zoos go, this is one of the best we've been to! Don't expect the San Diego Zoo, but unlike the SDZ, you can do this whole zoo in one day with little ones along for the ride. The exhibits are well thought out, and the animals seem healthy and happy. There is also giraffe feeding, a little train to ride, and a petting zoo area (all with a few extra dollars). Our daughter loves all the statues around the park, as well.

Dickerson Park Zoo is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media