VanZant Embraces Zoo at Crossroads

Day three on the job for the new Executive Director at Rolling Hills Zoo included some time on the radio Wednesday.

Ryan VanZant joined in the KSAL Morning News Extra to talk about the new position, his love for animals and his journey to get here.


VanZant says he is still in transition, moving his family from Hutchinson to Salina.

Prior to joining Rolling Hills Zoo, VanZant served as the Director at Hutchinson Zoo where he made significant improvements in the company culture, completed long awaited capital projects, and achieved reaccreditation through the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).

VanZant has also served as the Director of Education at the Sutton the Avian Research Center at the University of Oklahoma, and as a trainer with Natural Encounters, Inc. for Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Flights of Wonder.

With a Master of Arts from the University of Oklahoma in Museum Studies, whose primarily focus was leadership and management of natural history museums, VanZant has a refreshed perspective on the effectiveness and importance of this segment of public trust.

VanZant says he is also looking forward to calling Salina home, which in his eyes is a growing hub, literally at the crossroads of central Kansas, with a strong representation of arts and humanities, entertainment, education and health care.