Opening 2016

Question: How many people does it take to move a hippo?

Answer: As many as we can find!   

DONATE NOW  or call 901.333.6554.

Soon our historic hippos will move to a new home – the Zambezi River Hippo Camp. Construction is underway! We need your help. To date, we have raised $20.0 million towards the total exhibit cost of $21.2 million. We need your help to fund the remaining $1.2 million and close out the campaign.  

The layout for Zambezi River Hippo Camp. This brand-new exhibit will feature hippos, Nile crocodiles, greater flamingos, Nile soft shell turtles, okapi, Mandrill baboons, various fish and African birds. 

You can help! 

Zambezi River Hippo Camp is the last major exhibit of the Zoo’s current master plan. You can help us complete this exciting exhibit – and have your name become a permanent part of Zambezi River Hippo Camp. 

For donations of $250 and above, your name will be included in a spectacular display on the wall of the exhibit itself. In addition, all donors of $250 and above will receive an invitation to a special preview event. This makes a great gift opportunity for the animal lover and zoo patron in your life. We hope you’ll help. Click here to learn more about additional naming opportunities. 

A rendering of the entrance to Zambezi River Hippo Camp. 

DONATE NOW  or call 901.333.6554.

Watch the Pandemonium Live


On the first Monday of every month, we share a #movinitmonday post with our Facebook fans. You can find all of them here. 

March 2
It's time for our first ‪#‎movinitmonday‬! 

How many people does it take to move a hippo? In our experience, quite a few! In 1914, Henry Loeb joined with Memphis school children to raise $4,000 to bring two hippopotami to the Memphis Zoo. The pair, later named "Venus" and "Adonis" by contest winners, were shipped over from Hamburg, Germany. The pair was prolific and had 16 calves. 

April 6

In June, 1956, a young pair was shipped from Kenya. When they arrived, Zoo staff were surprised to learn that instead of a male and a female (as previously promised), the Memphis Zoo was now a proud owner of two young females. One female named "Josephine" was moved into the Hippo House and became a mate to Adonis (mother to "Julie" and grandmother to current hippo "Splish," while the other hippo was transferred via railcar to Evansville, Indiana. 

May 4

Because the previous shipment included two females, Zoo staff went about acquiring a new, young, male hippo. 

Our new male departed Mombasa, Keyna by ship the summer of 1957.  During the ocean crossing, he got chilly.  He escaped his wooden crate on deck seeking a warmer location, and meandered his way through the ship’s passageways.  Fast-thinking crew members herded him to the ship’s recreation room, where he continued the rest of his journey toasty and warm until they finally docked in Houston. 

June 1

The male, named “Uebi,” later went on to be the mate of our late, beloved Julie, and was the father of Splish and her twin, “Splash,” who were born on Christmas Day 1988. When then-zookeeper (now Assistant Curator) Houston Winbigler was interviewed by The Commercial Appeal on December 28, 1988, he said, “We’d like to keep some of that lineage, so that in the year 2014, we’ll still have descendants of the original pair.”Well, Houston, looks like you were right!

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