Zoo bids farewell to longtime Director John Lewis.

Goodbye, John

More than 100 well-wishers came to bid a happy retirement to John Lewis, who left as General Manager of the Zoo in early January after 15 years of City service.

His retirement party was held Nov. 11 at the Zoo.

During his tenure, Lewis successfully oversaw the implementation of $180 million in bond projects — including the addition of the Rainforest of the Americas exhibit and the Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles (LAIR) exhibit.

From left: John Lewis’s family Robert, son; Jill, daughter; John Lewis; Debbie, wife; and Ian, son.

Under Lewis’ leadership, the Zoo launched multiple conservation efforts, including the California Condor Rescue Zone, which helped bring the endangered birds back from the brink of extinction. Lewis also introduced innovative and popular programs — like Zoo Lights, a dazzling holiday display; and Brew at the Zoo, which brings local craft and microbreweries to the Zoo for a night of music, talks by animal keepers, and up-close animal encounters.

The Club worked with John Lewis on many projects, including our December 2014 cover story on LA Zoo Lights. The Zoo asked us to help them celebrate its 50th anniversary, which we did in Alive! in November 2016.

Godspeed to you, John, and congratulations on a great City career.