Salisbury Zoo Director Announces Retirement

SALISBURY, Md.- After more than a decade of work, the director of the Salisbury Zoo has announced her plans to retire by the end of June.

Director Leonora joined the zoo in 2008 as the education curator after working at the EdVenture Children’s Museum in Columbia, South Carolina. She became the director of the Salisbury Zoo in 2020.

“When Leonora took the zoo director position, she was tasked with reorganizing a department that needed to be updated and revitalized. And she did a fantastic job combining her skills in management, curation and education,” said Mayor Jack Heath. “She excelled at the task, bringing our event and educational offerings at the zoo to another level, and we will miss her dearly.”

During her time as education curator, she created the Not-so-Scary Halloween Happening event, which has become one of the Zoo’s signature events. She also partnered with the Salisbury University psychology department to ensure appropriate accommodations were included so inclusive programming was offered at the Salisbury Zoo.

“It’s been a great 15 years at the Salisbury Zoo,” Dillon said. “I’ll miss working with everyone here and being able to walk out and see so many people that I’ve gotten to know over the years. Of course, I’ll also miss the animals I’ve connected with.”

As director, she brought on a full-time veterinary team, which includes Dr. Tameeka Williams and Veterinary Technician Ally Wright. Dillon made animal welfare a focus during her time as director, and having a veterinary team allows for preventative care for the animals.

“Leonora has been such a dedicated member of our team, and the Salisbury Zoo has made great strides under her leadership,” said Allen Swiger, director of the City’s Arts, Business and Culture Department. “We will certainly miss her, but we wish her the best.”

Dillon is retiring effective June 30 and will head back to South Carolina to be closer to her family. A national search will be conducted for the next director of the Salisbury Zoo; the job description is posted at