Knoxville Zoo – A Magical Day for Everyone!
By: Hannah Vaughan
Imagine a warm, spring Saturday… The chores are all done, the kids’ homework is complete, and the last winter storm has left you feeling drained and discouraged… Everyone in the family wants to do something different, and there is no way you can please them all—or is there?
How would you like to spend the day riding rides like a carousel or train? What about a new and exciting play area for the younger kids? Perhaps some of you might enjoy a swift cooling-off under a refreshing spray of water shooting up from the ground. And the more adventurous might receive a few thrills from zipline adventures or even a camel ride!
What about having the option to try several new eating places and watching some entertaining shows? And don’t forget the ability to see sights you rarely get to experience. But wait… that would be impossible to do all in one day, wouldn’t it? Believe it or not, you can experience all of this and more at one magical place in Knoxville, Tennessee—Zoo Knoxville!
Zoo Knoxville, formerly the Knoxville Zoo, is just big enough at 53 acres to make it spacious for the animals, yet not too big to make it uncomfortable for visitors to get around. Located just east of Knoxville, Tennessee, near exit 392 and off Interstate 40, Zoo Knoxville is at 3500 Knoxville Zoo Drive. With discounts for seniors and children ages 4-12 (children under 4 are free), regular tickets cost only around $20 for adults, making this an affordable family activity filled with a variety of options to please everyone.
Zoo Knoxville is also dedicated to conservation efforts, receiving award-winning recognition for its efforts in saving the endangered bog turtle of East Tennessee. Staff members are sent all over the world to places like Madagascar to study animals in their native habitats, and 25 cents of every zoo ticket sold is donated to conservation programs with its “Quarters for Conservation” program.
From seeing the zoo’s oldest residents at 120 and 80 years of age, the Aldabra Giant Tortoises, to feeding the Giraffes at the Williams Family Giraffe Encounter deck, you can enjoy a taste of every country’s finest wildlife all in one place. Zoo Knoxville contains over 30 different species of animals and 13 different habitats, including a Kid’s Cove with hands-on petting fun and a large and refreshing waterfalls at Black Bear Falls, ensuring a busy day just enjoying all the different animals and amazing sights.
Zoo Knoxville offers fun and exciting opportunities for animal enthusiasts of all ages, including frequent Animal Encounters at the zoo, special Monarch Tagging trips to Seven Islands State Birding Park, Safari Nights and Bedtime with the Beasts for spooky thrills and realistic experiences, and even private, one-of-a-kind Behind-the-Scenes Tours for members of the Circle of Friends, which can gain you a close interaction with animals like the elephants and red pandas!
The Zoo also offers educational outreach programs if you are looking for a fun, summer activity for your kids that will provide them with the perfect “What I Did This Summer” school essay. From summer day camp programs to youth programs and student internships for the more serious animal enthusiasts in the family, children of all ages can enjoy getting closer to their favorite animals and learning all about their specialized care. School and teacher programs and homeschool programs are also offered as a supplement to your daily school routines.
If you are interested in supporting the zoo and all the cute and wonderful animals that live there, you can get more involved by volunteering, donating, joining the Circle of Friends, purchasing an Annual Pass, or checking out the Adopt an Animal program.
Adopt an Animal offers a variety of options, from a smaller purchase that includes a one-year subscription to Zoo Knoxville’s Wild Wonders magazine, to a larger purchase that comes with a special “critter crate” containing a plush of your adopted species. You can adopt specific animals and get a photo of your “adoptee,” making this a perfect gift for your budding wildlife expert or zoologist.
Whether you choose to get more involved or just want to enjoy a magical day at the zoo with your family and take advantage of Kroger Discount Days, be sure to visit Zoo Knoxville and see how much wildly entertaining fun your entire family can have! And don’t forget to check out the amazing zebras and see who can hear their special little laughs first.