Staff and Zoological Society

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Zoo Crew

Applegate Park Zoo has two full time zookeepers who provide daily care and management of the animals.

Donna McDowell

2019 City of Merced Employee of the Year, Donna McDowell, s the Lead Zookeeper. She has been working for Applegate Park Zoo since 1999, and has been responsible for many grounds and facility improvements, as well as new animal enrichment activities.

Josh Moreno

Josh Moreno began as a volunteer and was hired on as Zookeeper in 2015. He coordinates special events and activities for the Zoo, as well as leads the Behind the Scenes Tours.

Zoo Staff 2018 group picture

Zoological Society

The Merced Zoological Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing Applegate Park Zoo as an educational and recreational resource in the community. The mission of the Society is to create awareness and promote interest in the Zoo through community involvement. It is also the main source of contributions to the Zoo and assists in rendering services that are beneficial to the Zoo's continued upgrading.

The Merced Zoological Society meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Wilbur McMurray Room at City Hall located at 678 West 18th Street. Meetings are always open to the public and interested persons are welcome to participate.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Merced Zoological Society, please pick up an application at the Bear Creek Nature Store, 1045 West 25th Street, or at the Parks and Recreation Office at 632 West 18th Street. For more information call (209) 725-3337.

Join the Zoo Society for additional free admission to some zoos in California and other states.

Visit the Zoological Society's website at