The family of Randy and Jenny Boyd have made a $5 million pledge to Zoo Knoxville, the largest private gift in the zoo’s history. To honor their generosity, the zoo has named the new 4 acre group of habitats for tigers, birds and primates the Boyd Family Asian Trek.
“Jenny and our family have always loved the zoo, so it’s personal,” said Randy Boyd. “The economic impact on the region is more than $34 million annually, but what children learn when visiting the zoo about care and love for animals is priceless.”
The pledge makes it possible for the zoo to fulfill plans to construct new habitats and experiences for both animals and guests. In April, Zoo Knoxville will unveil Tiger Forest, the first completed project of a 10-year master plan to transform the zoo. The new Malayan tiger habitat and breeding facility is part of the Boyd Family Asian Trek, which will expand to include new primate habitats for langurs and gibbons and a new café in 2018. The master plan also includes construction of a new reptile facility and otter habitat scheduled to open in 2020.
“The legacy of the Boyd family’s commitment to our zoo started many years ago. It was Randy’s vision while serving as the chair of our facilities committee that challenged us to think beyond anything we had ever done,” said Lisa New, President and CEO of Zoo Knoxville. “Their gift will transform the experience we give our guests, the care we provide our animals and the impact we will have in saving animals from extinction.”
“This takes our zoo to the next level,” said Eddie Mannis, Chair of the Zoo Knoxville Board of Directors. “It is our goal to be the ‘must see attraction’ in Knoxville and the ‘most talked about’ destination in the region. The Boyds’ generosity is the catalyst for these aspirations. We intend to welcome 800,000 visitors annually by 2025, and a majority of those will be tourists contributing to our local economy. The Boyd commitment benefits not just Zoo Knoxville but our entire community.”
Zoo Knoxville is a nonprofit entity situated on 53 wooded acres just east of downtown Knoxville. For more information visit zooknoxville.org.