One of the most celebrated zookeepers in America is making his way to Proctors on Friday.
Jack Hanna, also known as Jungle Jack, has starred in plenty of Emmy-award winning shows, including “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild” and “Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown,” and has been featured on the Late Show with David Letterman along with other shows.
At Proctors, Hanna plans to bring along some of the animals he’s worked with, along with a few of his favorite stories of caring for and learning about animals, from the jungles of Rwanda to the savannas of Australia and across the United States.
Hanna began working with animals at about age 11, when he agreed to work for a veterinarian in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, according to Hanna’s website. While he spent most of his days cleaning cages, just being around the animals solidified his desire to spend his whole life working with them.
Later in life, after he and his wife, Suzi, opened a pet shop, he received an offer to direct a small zoo in Florida. In the early 1980s, just a few years later, he became director of the Columbus Zoo, which was struggling with attendance.
Hanna threw himself into getting people just as interested and excited about animals as he was, which led to his appearances on “Good Morning America,” “Larry King Live,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and many others.
Over the years, his work has led him to start several television shows in which he takes viewers all around the world, sharing what he’s seen and learned of animals in their natural habitats. He’s done everything from brush a hippo's teeth to eat alongside wombats.
Although he no longer works day-to-day at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, he remains the director emeritus.
When he comes to Proctors, Hanna will be doing what he does best -- connecting peopl with animals.
He’s slated to bring 15 animals and a range of his stories, some heartwarming, some harrowing. Although the animals have not yet been confirmed, during other shows on Hanna’s “Into the Wild Live” tour, he’s brought baby cheetahs, kangaroos, baby tigers, two-toed sloths and penguins.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20-$40 and are available at the Proctors box office. For information, visit proctors.org.