Here is Allen in his own words:
“I was born in California but grew up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. I developed my love for travel and for zoos during my family’s frequent zoo visits and many cross-country vacations. After high school, I joined the U.S. Army and spent the better part of three years in Hawaii, training in field artillery. Living there stoked my interest in seeing more exotic locations and the fauna that inhabit them. Following my discharge, I earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at the University of Wisconsin and then went to work for the U.S. Census Bureau for a year in the Washington area (my Master’s is in Statistics). I moved to Indianapolis in 1984 when I began my career as a statistician in the field of medical research.
“My interest in zoos stayed with me as I grew up, married, and had children. In 1988, just about the time my children were getting old enough to enjoy zoos, the brand new Indianapolis Zoo opened, whetting my appetite still further. I started visiting zoos in other cities while on business trips and discovered how fascinating and different every zoo is. I was so interested in them that I wrote long, detailed descriptions of the zoos I visited to my brother and fellow zoo-lover, David. He finally told me I “ought to” write a book about zoos. So in 1994, I wrote The Zoo Book: A Guide to America’s Best. I’ve been a member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums for over 15 years.
“In addition to working full-time for Eli Lilly and visiting every zoo I possibly can — over 200 worldwide so far, I teach statistics part-time as an Adjunct Professor for Indiana University’s School of Public Health. My wife Kathy is kind enough to indulge me in my zoo habit. We are the proud parents of four children.”