Zoo Knoxville is one of the premiere zoological experiences in the southeast committed to sharing 'wildly fun' experiences that educate and inspire. By visiting Zoo Knoxville, you are supporting the Zoo’s mission to save wildlife and wild places. The Zoo features acres of creative habitats for animal lovers of all ages to explore. Check out a few of the highlights you don’t want to miss when you visit Zoo Knoxville!
Clayton Otter Creek
Clayton Otter Creek opened in Spring 2022 and is home to three energetic otters: Clayton, Pascal, and Reed. Guests can get up close with these adorable animals by visiting their underwater exhibit located front and center in the entry plaza. These otters play an important role as advocates for their species, emphasizing how critical clean water is for otter habitats. They are encouraging Zoo visitors to help prevent micro-plastics from polluting our local waterways by bringing reusable water bottles that can be refilled in bottle stations throughout the Zoo or purchasing water in aluminum bottles.
Boyd Family Asian Trek
Located just off the entrance plaza to the east is the award winning Asian Trek. This 5 acre exhibit, complete with indoor tiger viewing as well as canopy views, was voted one of USA Today’s top 10 best exhibits in the country. Malayan tigers can be seen lounging among temple ruins or taking a dip in a deep pool. Asian Trek also includes a tree house that allows guests to see Georgie, the white-handed gibbon, swinging amongst the tree tops.
In 2021, Zoo Knoxville opened the Clayton Family Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Campus (ARC), one of the top animal conservation facilities in the U.S. and the largest project in Zoo Knoxville’s history to date. The ARC gives visitors the opportunity to view some of the most endangered species of animals in the world.
Winner of Keep Knoxville Beautiful’s Orchid Award for New Architecture, the design of the building is made to give the impression of reptiles themselves with features such as a blue exterior wall that shimmers and changes colors like the scales of a reptile. The ARC has welcomed exciting new species such as Cuban crocodiles, a king cobra, and a free ranging sloth! The ARC also includes a greenhouse that allows guests to enter and watch herpetologists at work, educational elements focusing on core STEM concepts, and outdoor wetlands that serve as an ecological study habitat where children can collect specimens and take them back to an Adventure Lab to study.
Soaring Eagle Zipline
Soaring Eagle is an exhilarating flight experience and an exciting way to see the zoo from an eagles-eye view. This tandem zip ride pulls guests backwards to the top of the ravine. After taking in the view at 65 feet above the treetops, they are released to glide back to the landing pad at over 100 feet.
Clayton Safari Splash
Clayton Safari Splash is a 5,000 square-foot safari-themed water play area that is included with general Zoo admission. Located next to Grasslands Africa!, the splash pad includes play areas designed for all ages. With life-sized giraffes that spout water, water hoops and loops, team sprays that use cooperative play to send water several stories in the air and colorful giant flowers, it’s the ideal spot to cool off.
Now through September 22nd, After Hours from 5 PM – 8 PM each Thursday are perfect family friendly “sundowner evenings” at the Zoo. Each week features a food truck and craft beers,
wine, and specialty drinks. These evenings are free for members or with a general admission ticket (food and beverages an additional purchase).
Boo! At the Zoo
Knoxville’s favorite Halloween tradition! It’s a not-too-scary celebration featuring trick-or treating through the Zoo, dramatic lighting, giant inflatables and the Monster Mash dance party. Additional activities include the Scary-Go-Round and the BOO! Choo Train. Visit booknoxville.com for updates on dates, times and special character experiences.
Experience a magical night at the Zoo with glowing silk lanterns of exotic animals. Journey through an enchanted forest of trees wrapped in lights and twinkling stars to experience an unforgettable holiday tradition. Festive food and drinks are part of the fun, too!
Zoo Knoxville is committed to helping guests of all ages and abilities enjoy the ‘wildly fun’ experience of interacting with and viewing animals from around the world. We are a KultureCity Certified Sensory Inclusive Venue. Sensory Bags are available at the front ticket booth. Quiet Zones are located at the Barn Loft and African painted dog viewing area, and Headphone Zones are located at Kid’s Cove, Wee Play Adventure, and Safari Splash.
Frequently Asked Questions
What time does the Zoo open and close?
Open 9am - 5pm daily. Closing time will change to 4pm on September 6th.
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Last admissions one hour before the Zoo closes each day.
What is the price of admission?
Zoo Knoxville Members FREE
Children ages 3-12 $19.95
Seniors ages 65+ $19.95
College Student Ticket $19.95 (with current student ID and front gate purchase)
Children 2 and under FREE
Where do I park?
Parking is available in the Zoo’s upper and lower lots. Parking is $5.00. Zoo Knoxville members park for free.
Are there dining options at Zoo Knoxville?
Yes! On-site restaurants include: The Beastro, Safari Smokehouse, Al’s Cantina, Tennessee Dogs, and The Graze food truck.
How does my visit impact conservation?
When you purchase a ticket to visit Zoo Knoxville you support conservation both locally and globally. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Zoo Knoxville is part of the largest conservation movement on the planet. Zoo Knoxville and other AZA partners maintain a healthy, genetically diverse population in zoos to ensure animals are not lost to extinction when wild populations are in peril. Also, proceeds from every ticket and membership sold goes to hardworking conservation organizations in the field. To learn more about conservation at Zoo Knoxville visit https://zooknoxville.org/about/conservation/.