12 Stingrays at the Phoenix Zoo are Named After Country Music Stars and Dolly Parton is Luke Bryan’s Mom


The Phoenix Zoo is on my level. I prefer to name my animals after presidents and/or other political figures. The zoo prefers to name its stingrays after country music stars. And it all started with local hero, Dierks Bentley.

Twelve of the 30 or so stingrays at the zoo are named after country stars because one of the keeps loves country music. Mary Belko told AZCentral.com, “We like to have fun. It also really helps people connect and identify with the stingrays. They have fun with it, too.”

Since Bentley was born in Phoenix, it made sense that the first country music stingray was named after him, “Dierks was the first, because he’s our local boy. The stingray we named after him is a little bit feisty. He has a big personality.”

Recently, one of the stingrays got a little bit of attention because his namesake was in town.

That’s how we learned that the largest stingray at the zoo is named after Dolly Parton and also happens to be stingray Luke Bryan‘s mother.

Other stingrays are named after Dierks Bentley, Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney, Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. And yes, the stingray that originates from Australia is named after Keith Urban.