Varied Yet Specialized Experience, Woman-Owned, World-Renown

Just like you--we're small and mighty, too! 

Founded in 2018 by zoo design expert, Stacey Ludlum, Felis Consulting is a woman-owned, single-proprietor consultancy focused exclusively on long-term strategy and planning for small zoos and aquariums. With a network of talented graphic designers, illustrators, engineers, husbandry, wellness, and veterinary consultants, business planners, estimators, and education and conservation consultants, Felis Consulting accomplishes high quality, creative, and realistic plans grounded in expertise from the largest and most successful institutions customized for the specialized needs of small facilities.

Our philosophy is rooted in the belief that each and every facility has the potential to do great things, and each and every one of you is special in your own one-of-a-kind way. We believe in acknowledging and embracing your uniqueness! Our promise is to address your specific needs, and to identify your institution’s potential.

We capture the magic that makes your facility special—now and into the future.

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Founder & Principal Planner

World-renown as an expert in zoo and aquarium design, Stacey has two decades of experience focusing on facilities of all shapes and sizes. Stacey’s dedication to continuous examination of the industry and visionary explorations of the future of zoological institutions has been recognized around the world with design awards, speaking engagements, and media interviews. Stacey is a regular contributor to Blooloop, and is the author and editor of the successful niche professional blog,

She’s snow camped in the Himalayas in search of snow leopards in winter. She’s watched a pod of killer whales devour a grey whale calf. She’s trekked through cow pastures in Belize in search of motmot—instead finding a tamandua. She’s swum with sea lions in the Galapagos, photographed puffins in Iceland, and cried the first the time she saw lions in Kenya.

Stacey holds a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Michigan State University, and a Master of Landscape Architecture from North Carolina State.

For the past 15 years, Stacey’s work at large design firm, PGAV Destinations, included design and planning for some of the most well-respected zoological institutions in the world: SeaWorld, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, Saint Louis Zoo, Georgia Aquarium, Brookfield Zoo, San Antonio Zoo, among many others.

Stacey moderated a session related to the challenges and successes of small zoos & aquariums at AZA Annual Conference 2018. Stacey and panelists shown here.

Stacey moderated a session related to the challenges and successes of small zoos & aquariums at AZA Annual Conference 2018. Stacey and panelists shown here.

Stacey led the design of the AZA Top Honors in Exhibit Design award winner, Heart of Africa, at the Columbus Zoo, and the innovative relocation of small rescue and rehab zoo, Big Bear Alpine Zoo. Her success as a design leader and visionary elevated her to Director of Zoo & Aquarium Planning and Design at PGAV Destinations.

But, Stacey’s true passion is working with small institutions—something she can only accomplish with her own consulting firm. She believes in the power of small institutions to change the world--one person at a time--and is infinitely inspired by the passion of the staff who run these small and mighty facilities.

Stacey has participated in and led the master planning efforts at over 15 institutions. Her current and past master planning client list includes:

  • Wright Park Zoo

  • San Antonio Zoo

  • The Living Desert Zoo

  • Tulsa Zoo

  • Yunnan Safari Park

  • Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

  • Big Bear Alpine Zoo

  • Dolphin Research Center

  • Brookfield Zoo

  • Milwaukee County Zoo

  • Saint Louis Zoo

  • Kansas City Zoo

  • Georgia Aquarium

  • SeaWorld San Diego

  • Zoo New England

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our values

We are guided by a distinct set of values and principles that allow us to support you and your mission.

This is our promise to you.



Trust isn’t given, it’s earned.

This is a lesson zoos and aquariums are learning in today’s skeptical society, and a lesson we live by.  We want you to understand our process, our fees, our deliverables, and our schedule. We want you to trust us, because while we promise to honestly and objectively provide evaluation and advice, sometimes that stuff is really hard to hear. What’s more, we want you to feel comfortable providing the hard feedback to our work, so we can deliver a feasible and creative master plan which allow you to achieve your organization’s mission and dreams.



You get what you pay for, right? Not always.

As a small firm, we can focus exclusively on you. And, with our years of experience, we bring efficiency and expertise to give you the biggest bang for your buck. Because when you’re small, every dollar matters. Make the most of your time and money by hiring the best master planner in the business.

Because as hard as you work, you deserve the best.



This one’s easy: Creative approaches to all things your future.

We believe in understanding your unique challenges and opportunities, understanding who you are as an institution, and what’s most important, understanding what makes you different and special in the consumer’s mind, today and into the future. Only then can we creatively solve problems and create innovative, new exhibits, shows, programs, marketing campaigns, special events…whatever you need! The sky’s the limit!



We know that your team wears a lot of hats, and has to be able to respond to a new problem quickly and often without a lot of resources. We value that in you, and we aspire to that as a firm. We come into a project with a plan of attack, but we understand that things come up: personnel changes, new property is bought, new AZA care manuals are released! We promise to roll with the punches and provide you a master plan that will provide framework that functions as agilely.

We all know, the best laid plans…


Logical Reasoning

We base our conclusions and suggestions on evidence and reasoning. For the past 20 years, we have collected data from across the industry related to comparable revenues and per caps, attendance patterns and growth, costs, and visitor behavior. We keep our finger on the pulse of trends and changing perspectives, and apply all of this knowledge to achieve feasible and successful recommendations. Decision-making can be highly emotional, but an approach valuing logic anchors your future to a solid foundation.



With years of experience working for a large design firm, we know first-hand how clients and projects can sometimes get less attention when a designer is spread across multiple projects at once.  As a small firm, we value our clients and approach consultancy as a personal relationship. We respect the time you have given us, and show you that by limiting our distractions. By selecting only a few projects per year, and limiting the overlap of these projects, we ensure that our focus is almost exclusively on you. That means you are getting not only our full focus, but also our full creative energy and ability to reason logically.

When you’re with Felis, it’s all about you.


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