New habitats for Malayan tigers and white-naped cranes immerse visitors in a trek through Asia.  


Knoxville, Tenn. - Zoo Knoxville will officially open Tiger Forest, a $10 million multi-acre habitat for Malayan tigers and white-naped cranes with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Friday, April 7, 2017.

Part of the Boyd Family Asian Trek, Tiger Forest immerses zoo guests on a journey into a ruined temple in the forests of Asia.  The habitats are designed with multiple viewing areas that give visitors the opportunity to see tigers swimming under water, climbing ruins and waterfalls, and demonstrating natural behaviors. 

Zoo President and CEO Lisa New, Chair of the zoo’s Board of Directors Eddie Mannis, Mayor Tim Burchett and Mayor Madeline Rogero will officially open Tiger Forest during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.  “This is the most ambitious project we have every undertaken in our history.  Tiger Forest takes our guests’ experience and our zoo to the next level and advances our goal to be a regional destination,” said Eddie Mannis.   

Tiger Forest will be home to three critically endangered Malayan tigers, Arya, Bashir and Tanvir.  With fewer than 400 tigers left on the planet, the new habitat will also serve as a breeding facility to help save them from extinction as part of Zoo Knoxville’s collaborative work with the Malayan Tiger Species Survival Plan.

“Tiger Forest completely changes the way our guests interact and connect with tigers,” said Lisa New.  “It also allows us to be a part of something bigger with the important conservation work we are doing to save tigers.”

Zoo Knoxville has special activities and performers scheduled for opening weekend, including appearances by the East Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble and Dragonfly Aerial performers on Saturday,  Vietnamese lion dancers on Sunday and the new Arya tiger and flying crane performing puppets each day.


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.  Beginning March 11, 2017, the zoo is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.  Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before the zoo closes. For more information visit