Overview & Mission
By partnering with the community, Lehigh Valley Zoo will be a leader in conservation education and action.
Lehigh Valley Zoo connects its community with nature to empower people to protect wildlife.
We are one Zoo, one team. We value every person’s contribution and are united by our shared purpose and goals.
We recognize that everyone is of equal value and show empathy and care for each other, our guests, and nature
We strive to inspire as the most knowledgeable and trusted resource for our community on animals and nature conservation.
We love what we do and are driven to continually motivate each other and others to take positive action for wildlife.
We do our best work driven by a deep sense of purpose and consistently uphold high standards of professionalism.
We go above and beyond to create positive experiences and profound connections to our mission.
Founded in 1906 by General Harry C. Trexler, a local industrialist, the Trexler Nature Preserve has played a significant role in saving the North American bison from extinction by providing a place where both bison and elk could roam freely undisturbed. In 1935, the County of Lehigh took ownership of the Preserve and, in 1974, construction began on the Preserve’s 29-acre Zoo. In 2004, Lehigh Valley Zoological Society assumed management of the Zoo, as well as the daily management of the bison and elk herds in the 1,100-acre Trexler Nature Preserve.
As a non-profit organization, Lehigh Valley Zoo is a relatively young organization, but as a treasured community landmark, our history spans over a century. Lehigh Valley Zoo, located in the heart of the Trexler Nature Preserve, is home to more than 325 animal ambassadors representing over 125 species.
The Zoo’s animal collection includes over 22 species collectively managed through the Species Survival Plan Program™(SSP), administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). As a means to share important conservation messaging with Zoo guests and contribute to field conservation, the Zoo contributes to, participates in, and initiates wildlife conservation programs at home and in the field.
The Zoo’s full-circle conservation projects spotlight: Spotted Turtle (local), Mexican Gray Wolf (national) and African Penguin (international). You can learn about the Zoo’s conservation efforts by visiting the Zoo’s Reptile & Amphibian Discover Center, watching a daily African Penguin feeding, and observing a Real Life wolf feed throughout the year. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), and an institutional member of American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK), the Zoo hosts year-round family-friendly events and activities, educational programs, and camps.
Lehigh Valley Zoo is proud to be listed as an educational improvement organization under the PA Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC). Over 35,000 students participated in our formal education programs. General attendance at Lehigh Valley Zoo grew from 63,000 visitors (2005) to over 215,000 visitors (2022).
Open year-round, the Zoo was voted Best Family-Friendly Outing in Lehigh Valley Style’s Best of the Lehigh Valley since 2009.
Additionally Winter Light Spectacular, an annual fundraising event that debuted in 2014, brings an average of 50,000 guests into the Zoo during the holiday season. The event has been featured nationally by USA Today in “Holiday light displays worth traveling for across America” in 2019 and by Los Angeles Times in “‘Christmas City’ is a real place. And yes, it’s kind of like living in a Hallmark movie” in 2020.