In order to provide a lasting tribute to Dr. Lee Simmons, or Doc, as he is affectionately called, the Omaha Zoo Foundation has established the Dr. Lee G. Simmons Legacy Fund. The Legacy Fund honors the commitment and extraordinary effort Dr. Simmons has given to build a world-class zoo, elevate conservation awareness and launch new research programs during his more than 50-year tenure, first as Director of the zoo, and, since 2009, as Chairman of the Omaha Zoo Foundation.

A native of Tucson, Ariz., Dr. Simmons did his pre-veterinary studies at Central State College in Edmond, Oklahoma and received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Oklahoma State University in 1963. Immediately following graduation, he joined the Columbus Municipal Zoo in Ohio as mammals curator, veterinarian and assistant superintendent. In 1966, he took a position with the Henry Doorly Zoo as resident veterinarian and quickly ascended to Director in 1970. 

Under his leadership, the zoo achieved unprecedented growth. Within the last 20 years alone, Omaha's Zoo and Aquarium has added major state-of-the-art exhibits such as the Lied Jungle, the Suzanne and Walter Scott Kingdoms of the Seas Aquarium, the Bill and Berniece Grewcock Center for Conservation and Research, the Desert Dome, Kingdoms of the Night, Expedition Madagascar, Hubbard Gorilla Valley and others. These massive undertakings, which have totaled more than $150 million, have benefited the community by attracting more than 1.3 million visitors annually (2 million in 2016!) and has a local economic impact of $222 million. 

We invite you to express your community pride and your care for the future of Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium through a gift to the Dr. Lee G. Simmons Legacy Fund. For more information, please contact the Foundation Office at 402-738-2073.