Yesterday, September 11, at the annual Association of Zoos and Aquariums, AZA, Conference in Kansas City, Mo., the Birmingham Zoo was honored with the National Marketing Excellence Award in front of more than 2,000 peers and colleagues. The Zoo was recognized for its outstanding marketing, advertising and public relations campaign in promotion of the Kiwanis Giraffe Encounter. “The Birmingham Zoo, the only accredited Zoo in Alabama, and one of the state’s largest tourist attractions, has become much more than a place to see wild life. Our staff educators partnered with the Birmingham School System and Kiwanis Club of Birmingham to create an outdoor classroom experience. The students are taught math and science, while learning about the need to preserve our wild kingdom. Drayton Nabers, Kiwanis Club President, and Craig Witherspoon, Birmingham Schools Superintendent, really helped make this program a reality. Katrina Cade, the Zoo’s Vice President of Marketing and Media, did a wonderful job letting the world know about the program and new Giraffe Encounter exhibit.” says Birmingham Zoo Executive Committee Board Chairman, Jesse Vogtle. This is the first time the Birmingham Zoo has received a national award from AZA. “It is such an honor,” says Katrina. “It is because of the board members, donors, staff, members, volunteers and community at large that we are able to love what we do and inspire a passion for the natural world through scientific study, education, recreation, and conservation.”
Katrina received a local award from the Birmingham Advertising Federation earlier this year in praise of her public relations work at the Zoo. By implementing strategic marketing campaigns like this, the Zoo reached a record attendance in 2012 and continues to reach new heights. President and CEO of the Birmingham Zoo, Dr. William R. Foster, remarks, “The Zoo is honored to be recognized with this national award. It is extremely significant, as it was awarded by our peers and colleagues who recognize the importance of AZA institutions and conservation efforts in the world today.”
The Kiwanis Giraffe Encounter opened on April 25, 2012, and is recognized as one of the largest giraffe habitats in the Southeastern United States. The exhibit’s 4,000 square-foot deck and multiple access points allow guests of all ages to enjoy an up-close and personal interaction with the Zoo’s five giraffes. Overall, the Kiwanis Giraffe Encounter has set a new benchmark in areas throughout the Zoo to improve the satisfaction of visitors and the community at large. This year-round exhibit continues to capture the hearts of every Zoo guest by creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience.