social icons

Gatlinburg Weather

Find more about Weather in Gatlinburg, TN
Click for weather forecast


Buckhorn Inn Guests Can Get Wild at Zoo Knoxville!

The 53 acres of Zoo Knoxville is about an hour’s drive from Buckhorn Inn.  It is part of the largest species conservation movement on earth.  Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the zoo participates in a collective Species Survival Plan.  The goal of AZA is to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse population in zoos.  Because so many wild populations are in peril, zoos play an important role in ensuring we don’t lose species to extinction.  Part of each Zoo Knoxville ticket sold is donated to conservation organizations to fund programs worldwide.

Zoo Knoxville is home to yellow-backed duikers.

Yellow-backed duikers live in a habitat similar to its native open rainforest.

The initiative to create a zoo in Knoxville began in 1923 with funds collected to create a park for poor children.  The first four-acre plot was purchased in 1935.  In 1951 the city took over the park and renamed it the Municipal Zoo.  The first animal welcomed to the zoo was Al the alligator, donated by a local family.  On Al’s first day, about 4,000 people came to see him.  

Zoo Knoxville Firsts

In 1963 the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus donated a seven-ton Bull elephant called Old Diamond.  The modern Zoo Knoxville was born in 1971.  In 1978, Old Diamond was successfully mated with a younger female, Toto.  Their daughter was called Little Diamond.  Her birth was a huge achievement for the zoo as this was the first African elephant born in the eastern Hemisphere.  

The zoo also was the first in the world to hatch critically endangered northern spider tortoises.  Knoxville also was the first zoo in the world to successfully breed the second generation of captive-born Arabian forest turtles and common spider tortoises.  

It is noteworthy that the zoo is home to more red panda births than any other zoo in the world.

Fun Activities

Families will enjoy animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours, twilight tours and night safaris, and a zip line.  Dining options include:  Beastro’s, Safari Smokehouse, Al’s Rockin’ Cantina, and Tennessee Dogs.  Additional information is available at http://Www.zooknoxville.org