Dennis Pate took over the reins of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in March of 2009.
Pate was the guest at last month’s Press Club Noon Forum.
He said the best part of the job so far has been following his predecessor, Lee Simmons.
Pate credits Simmons for putting the zoo on the map with the addition of the Desert Dome and Aquarium during his tenure.
Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium set a new attendance record last year with 1.7 million visitors. Pate said that beat the previous record set in 1995 when the then-brand new aquarium opened.
"So it’s sort of a testament to the popularity of that aquarium. Here you can see 12 species of sharks and rays and Pompano and Triggerfish and some other things in the middle of America’s heartland. And people here get a better view and a better idea about what’s in the ocean than many other places in the country and it’s right here in Nebraska.”
Pate said there are over 1,400 species and 80,000 specimens at the zoo. Pate’s complete presentation will air on Monday, March 18th at Noon on KIOS.