Best Day Ever
Rosemond Gifford Zoo
Zoo Advisors is proud to have led a comprehensive planning process for the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York. Working with a team composed of equal parts County, Zoo, and Friends of the Zoo leadership in a highly inclusive process, we developed an integrated strategic, master, and business plan. This plan creates a roadmap of site enhancements designed to implement their new strategic vision, and drafts a business plan that will inform fundraising needs as well as revenue and expense implications of their new direction for years to come.
Zoo Advisors’ first process phase is “Discovery,” when we answer the question, “where are we now?” This process, during which we listen and learn from staff, volunteers, board, funders, and community and government leaders, sets the tone and creates a foundation for the project.
In the next phase, “Dreaming” (“where can we go?”), we work with stakeholders to define a vision of what the organization will look like in the future. In this case, the team agreed that the project would be guided by a singular adherence to their new and somewhat unorthodox vision statement:
Best Day Ever.
The organization’s goal would be to make every guest visit memorable, exciting, and FUN. This principal informed every step of the project, and shaped a new master plan that is focused on maximizing the guest experience.
To create this master plan, Zoo Advisors teamed with the zoo architectural planning firm of GLMV based in Wichita, KS. Industry veteran Craig Rhodes provided the design expertise to help develop the plan and identify opportunities for enhanced exhibits, visitor circulation, site maximization, and new facilities.
For our “Blue Sky” phase, we assembled a panel of thought leaders in attractions, marketing and branding, exhibit design, sustainability, and education. By combing a team of nationally-recognized experts with authorities from key local institutions, we challenged the team’s thinking and exposed them to new ideas that helped to refine the Zoo’s emerging issues.
The “Reality” phase answers the question “what can we do?” and further develops strategic goals, design concepts, and sets priorities. In the final, “Action,” phase (“how do we get there?”), we confirm strategic, facility, and business plans, providing the Zoo with a clear path to a compelling future and an understanding of the means to achieve it.