Pride In Our People: Judy


Our digital series, Pride In Our People, features the incredible staff at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium through written first-person narratives and/or podcast interviews.
Today, we are featuring Judy, a Keeper in Kids Kingdom
This is her story…

Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to work with animals, but at the time I thought I’d have to be a veterinarian to do so. I first became interested in becoming a Zookeeper when I entered a writing contest that was sponsored by the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Public Schools. As a result of participating in this contest, I was hired as a part-time seasonal Zoo Aide in 1986, and I have been here ever since!

I was fortunate to be able to work at the Zoo while I attended the University of Pittsburgh. As a Zoo Aide, I worked in the ticket booths and the parking lot, on the carrousel, in the administration office, and ultimately in the Children’s Zoo. Around the time I graduated from Pitt with my Bachelor’s degree in Biology, the Zoo was hiring a few Keepers. I applied to take the City’s Civil Service test, passed, and was offered a job in the Children’s Zoo (which later became the Children’s Farm and, finally, Kids Kingdom).

Over the years, I have worked in several different areas of the Zoo (including the AquaZoo, the old reptile building, the old bear exhibits, and with the primates in the Tropical Forest Complex). I also helped to cover the quarantine area and worked with some of the animals that had just arrived at the Zoo, but I always loved working in the Children’s area. 

In Kids Kingdom, I get to work with a diverse group of animals: from guinea pigs, rabbits, and hedgehogs to beavers, otters, kangaroos, and sea lions.  In this area, we have direct contact with almost all of the animals on a daily basis, and through the years, I have had the privilege to work with—and form relationships with and cherished memories of—some amazing animals (and people). 


Thank you for all you do, Judy!

Pride In Our People

 Our new series, Pride In Our People, features the incredible staff here at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium.