Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens Appoints David Tetzlaff as Vice President of Operations

The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens announces the appointment of David Tetzlaff as Vice President of Operations. Tetzlaff will oversee the operations of the Facilities Maintenance, Animal Collections, and Guest Services departments. Tetzlaff was previously the Executive Director of the Naples Zoo in Naples, Florida.

Tetzlaff comes from a family who has been involved with zoos for many years. He is the son of Larry and Nancy Jane Tetzlaff who were well-known educators and television personalities in the Midwest before they moved to Naples in 1969 to open Jungle Larry’s African Safari. Tetzlaff began his professional career at the age of 18 and with 32 years in the field he has been a keeper, trainer, curator, and director. He considers himself to be a student of the zoological industry and has visited 35 facilities in just the past three years.

During his tenure in Naples, Tetzlaff was instrumental in spearheading the change in operational structure from a privately managed family attraction to a non-profit nationally accredited zoo and in the process doubled the attendance within a decade. “Zoos should allow their visitors to engage with familiar animals but it is also our job to create a sense of discovery and expose them to new species,” he said, adding, “This is one way to keep our guests coming back again and again.” Tetzlaff, who just returned from his fifth trip to Africa, also enjoys travel believing that new experiences with people, animals, and culture add to his creativity.

“I am excited about adding David to the team. We have been experiencing unprecedented growth and his knowledge and experience will be integral to our success. The land acquisition and addition of several new large exhibits in the next few years will change the face of the Zoo forever and we have grown to need this new position. I am confident David is the right person for the job and I am looking forward to working with him.” said Joe Montisano, CEO.

“I am extremely proud to join the Central Florida Zoo family. Much of this facility’s allure is largely due to its passionate staff, the wonderful improvements in recent years, and the future opportunities afforded by the recent 16 acre land acquisition,” said David Tetzlaff. “I am looking forward to working with the Zoo team in our ongoing efforts that will continue to greatly enhance the visitor experience, create new exhibits, and grow the size and diversity of the animal collection.”

About the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens - The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is a 116-acre private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and to engaging and educating our guests by sharing knowledge and celebrating our natural world. For more information regarding the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens visit or call 407.323.4450. The Zoo is located on I-4 Exit 104 in Sanford and is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.