We are animal care professionals dedicated to excellence in the animal field and fostering the preservation of our natural world. 


Email: goaazk@gmail.com

  • Instagram


The Greater Orlando AAZK is a local chapter of the national non-profit organization: American Association of Zoo Keepers. We are made up of animal care professionals in the Greater Orlando area, including: Sea World Orlando, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Discovery Cove, Natural Encounters Inc, and other individuals dedicated to animal care and conservation.



Our Officers

President: Jen Hershey

Jennifer has been an animal keeper for 20 years and is a graduate of the Santa Fe Teaching Zoo Program in Gainesville, FL. She has worked as an intern aquarist at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific and San Diego Zoo's Safari Park working primarily at the Animal Care Center with hoofstock neonates and as a relief keeper for other sections of the park. She was on the opening team at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge and now works at Disney's Animal Kingdom in the veterinary department. Being an AAZK member has given her the opportunity to network with other members of the zoological community and participate in conservation fundraisers.


Vice President: Melaina Kincaid

Treasurer: Penny Jolly

Penny has been a zoo keeper for 30 years and a member of AAZK for almost as long. In 2009 she was honored to become an AAZK Board Member and just finished a term as President. She also contributes to the zoological field as the AZA Abdim’s stork Studbook keeper and Program Leader. She has a BS Degree in Zoology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.  She has worked with a variety of species at the Utica Zoo, the Kansas City Zoo, and Disney's Animal Kingdom. I have cared for a wide variety of species including Vietnamese walking sticks, Burrowing owls, African elephants, chimpanzees, snow leopards, California sea lions and currently roseate spoonbills, Tammar wallabies, babiurusa and Southern giant anteater. She enjoys being an officer with GOAAZK because we all have fun together, form friendships and help support conservation programs like Bowling for Rhinos!

Secretary: Kim Thomson



Keepers leading the way in animal care and conservation.

Our Mission:

To foster a professional attitude in animal keepers and aquarists by encouraging them to become active members of professional teams at today’s zoos and aquariums. AAZK supports the promotion and implementation of zookeeper education and strives to make the general public aware of our concern for all deserving conservation projects and the need for the preservation of our natural resources and the species that depend on those resources.

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now