Knoxville, Tenn. (August 24, 2023) – Zoo Knoxville is celebrating its 75th anniversary this month by inviting the community to share their cherished moments from Zoo visits over the years. Zoo Knoxville will feature favorite stories on their website and social media accounts and one participant will be chosen at random to go on a VIP behind-the-scenes experience with the Zoo’s iconic red pandas.

Zoo Knoxville was founded in 1948 in the “Birthday Park Zoo” in Chilhowee Park when an American alligator named “Al” came to live there. In 1963, the community rallied to build a barn for Old Diamond, an African elephant left behind by the Ringling Brothers Circus. In 1970, Guy Smith became acting director, saving the Zoo from closing, laying the foundation for the Zoo’s growth. The Zoo’s evolution accelerated under the leadership of directors Ted Beaty, Patrick Roddy and Jim Vlna over the following decades. Under the leadership of CEO and President Lisa New, the Zoo has executed a visionary master plan that has transformed the campus and continues to be a leader in conservation both locally and globally.

“Our success is because of the support we receive in Knoxville and East Tennessee,” said Lisa New, President and CEO. “That is why it is so important to mark the 75th anniversary of our founding by including the moments and memories of our guests over the years. There is a lot of pride and ownership in Zoo Knoxville, and rightfully so. The community has supported the vision to make our Zoo a world-class facility.”

To participate in sharing Zoo stories, photos and memories, patrons can submit those via the form on the website, or on social media using the hashtags #ZooKnox and #Zoo75. Follow the Zoo on Instagram TikTok and Facebook @zooknoxville.

Submissions can be shared beginning August 28 through September 1, 2023. A winner for the behind-the-scenes experience will be chosen at random announced on September 4, 2023.

Zoo Knoxville is a nonprofit entity situated on 53 wooded acres just east of downtown Knoxville. Zoo Knoxville features exhibits of wild animals in natural habitats and is world renowned for its efforts in conservation and species survival. Zoo Knoxville is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is committed to the highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics, conservation, and education. Knoxville’s largest attraction, the Zoo is open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Currently, the Zoo is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before the Zoo closes. For more information visit