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“WOW! What a great zoo!”
Review of Zoo Knoxville

Zoo Knoxville
Ranked #5 of 202 things to do in Knoxville
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Fun on the outside and serious about animals on the inside, Zoo Knoxville is committed to giving our guests an unforgettable experience.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed August 31, 2007

We took the kids to the zoo today (first time I've been since I was 9). It was fabulous! My Girls loved the really large animals, like the camels, giraffes, elephants, gorillas, etc.. I was as interested in the exhibits if not more interested than my children were. It is a huge park, so I would recommend wearing comfortable shoes and clothes. You may want to bring swimsuits for your children because there is a small area where they can play in the water. My girls didn't want to leave today, but we were there a solid 3 hours. Fun for the whole family and you will all learn more than you knew before you came!

3  Thank ashnlilsmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,027 - 1,031 of 1,032 reviews

Reviewed July 13, 2007

I've had my share of ups and downs with the Knoxville Zoo over the years. But, they really have invested a great deal into improvements recently, and they deserve to be praised for recognizing their weaknesses and committing to fixing them.

We first visited in 2003, and the visit was an average zoo visit. Not too fancy, but not lacking much. I think it was during the fair, and we ended up not being charged for parking. At the time, we were members of the Nashville Zoo, and weren't paying for admission either because of the reciprocal relationship the zoos have with each other and the AZA. So, I had assumed parking was included and never thought anymore about it.

The next time we returned, a month or two later, the admissions guy attempted to charge me the $3 for parking. I about had a fit because I had not previously been charged for parking and I thought this guy was just off his rocker. We argued for about five minutes and then with gritted teeth I parted with my $3. We went in and everyone was just as rude and hateful as they could be to my daughter and me. The zookeepers we saw refused to answer any of our questions, the maintenance people yelled at us, the refreshment staff was belligerent, and by the time the lady at the gift shop caught an attitude; I was so disgusted I demanded to see someone in charge to file some complaints.

I spoke to a woman on the phone while in the gift shop who was too busy to see me, but advised me to write down what my complaints were and she instructed the admissions guy to return my $3. I filled out about 3 pieces of paper, took my money and left with no intentions of ever returning again.

About two years later, I started receiving emails from them about new homeschool programming they were developing at the zoo. We decided to give a class a shot and were blown away by how fantastic their new educational director, Chad Fifer, was with the kids. We immediately forgave the zoo for its past faults and became members. These programs have only gotten better over the past two years, and I look forward to them as often as we can attend.

In the mean time, the zoo itself has remodeled many exhibits, opened the Kids Cove, and overall just has experienced what feels like new and improved management and a genuine concern for making things work. I must admit, I am very impressed and will continue to be a member as long as I like what I see. And we will continue to visit an average of every 4 to 6 weeks...

I will warn people that this place tends to be VERY seasonal. The zoo itself may be open almost every day of the year, but many of the facilities on the inside are not. Special camel rides and refreshment stands are available during the peak seasons, but certainly not all the time. So, there may be some days you visit that it does feel lacking in the services available to you.

But, I still think they have made a tremendous amount of progress with this zoo. And if you are willing to give them a shot, they will continue to be able to improve exhibits and add even more to the experience.

As for the experience itself, if you don't mind the kids getting wet, Kids Cove will be a HUGE hit with kids of all ages. There is a playground, a water feature, and several interactive exhibits. They also have a merry go round which, like the camel rides, is an additional charge. And don't forget about 70 acres of animals to see! You have local favorites like bears, otters, and beavers; and then you have a nice range of the exotic animals like lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, chimpanzees, monkeys, red pandas, and much more. There are also plenty of birds and reptiles to round out the collection.

When in Knoxville, this is a definite must-see....

2  Thank TravelinMamax3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2006

Knoxville zoo is a great place to take children. For the area it is one of the best zoos around! They have a new area called KIDS COVE. Also there are goats and sheep you can pet, and there is an interesting beaver exhibit located in the KIDS COVE area! It has a lot of fun activites for children. Some of the activites require additional costs so keep that in mind! The park requires plenty of walking so wear comfortable shoes and clothing. We went during the morning and most of the animals were active at that time! The otters were the favorite of the day because they were really active and we enjoyed them the most. There is a LARGE reptile exhibit at the zoo and it has a BIG variety of snakes and lizzards. Another great place is the Black Bear Falls! It looks really good and the kids are really captivated by the bears! There are elephants, big cats, Gorillas, and SO MUCH more too see. Also the snacks and food in the park are okay, but the prices are high (as you would figure being inside a park) and there are not a lot of healthy choices. I would advise packing a lunch and saving your money for the gift shop which is filled with a lot of neat items!

6  Thank TNpearl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2016
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Thank Claudia P E
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Tina R, Public Relations Manager at Zoo Knoxville, responded to this reviewResponded July 28, 2016
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Reviewed November 6, 2015
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1  Thank Rene E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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