Dr. Lee Simmons is whose vision and leadership has developed a world-class zoo over his 40 years in Omaha, elevated conservation awareness and launched new research programs.
A native of Tucson, AZ, 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 where he quickly ascended to Director in 1970.
Under his tutelage, the Zoo has achieved unprecedented growth. Within the last 20 years alone, Omaha's Zoo has added major state-of-the-art exhibits such as the Lied Jungle, the Walter and Suzanne Scott Kingdoms of the Seas Aquarium, Bill and Berniece Grewcock Center for Conservation and Research, Desert Dome and nocturnal exhibit, Hubbard Gorilla Valley and others. More than $150 million in development has benefited the community through attracting more than 1.3 million visitors annually with an economic impact of over $100 million per year.