LINCOLN–(KFOR Jan. 5)–Of the 58-year existence of the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, about 38 of those years were under the direction of John Chapo.

The Zoo’s president and CEO emeritus officially retired at the end of 2023. Chapo made a final visit as a representative of the Children’s Zoo to Lincoln’s Morning News on KFOR Friday morning, talking about what the Zoo has become for Lincoln families.

“It’s great family memories.  I don’t care if it’s Zoo Lights, powered by LES, Boo At the Zoo, feeding a giraffe or going back riding the train,” Chapo reflected.

Chapo was innovative in starting several programs, including the science focus program with Lincoln Public Schools, plus overseeing the expansion of the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in various capacities.  Originally from South Bend, Indiana, Chapo thought he would only be in Lincoln a few years but it turned out to be a place he loved to call home, where he and his wife of 35 years, Tracy, raised three boys.

“I wanna say thanks to Lincoln for a great community, giving me a great ride and having a great time here,” Chapo said.