Wow! That is all I can say, "Wow!" The Knoxville Zoo is so huge, we've been there twice and haven't seen the whole thing. The first time we went, we saw the black bears and then headed to the left.
We saw rhinos, a red panda, and the reptile collection. We ran into a zookeeper feeding the rhinos. She was very informative, telling us about their eating and living habits. For instance, rhinos hate the water but they love the mud. The cover themselves with mud to keep away mosquitoes and UV rays. In the reptile collection we talked with a zookeeper about the Tennessee bog turtles. The breed them in captivity and then release them into the wild after a year of care. He picked up a baby turtle for us to see. It was so tiny, easily fitting in the palm of his hand. And he said they don't get much bigger.
While we saw a lot of animals and learned quite a bit from the zookeepers, we weren't really all that impressed. We knew we hadn't seen everything, but we thought we'd seen at least half of the zoo. Our favorite part, the redeeming moment, you could say, was the Wee Play Zoo. Here the girls found costumes, imaginative play areas, live bunnies and carpet to crawl on (prefect for Elli who was SO sick of the stroller). We left feeling very good about the zoo and quite happy that we had a membership since we didn't see the whole zoo.
I took the girls again this last Friday and this time we headed to the right. We walked and walked. We wandered past the elephants, giraffes, and zebras. I figured we were about done and I was ready to head back to the Wee Play Zoo for the girls to stretch their legs before driving the hour or more back to our house. We walked on to what I thought was the end only to find another huge expanse of zoo. We saw gorillas and chimpanzees, ostriches and tigers, a lion and three lionesses. I was getting tired pushing these girls around and ready for a pit stop. I finally gave up seeing everything and headed back to the play area.
Now I am very happy that we have a membership so I don't feel like we have to see the entire zoo in one trip, because we now know that's not feasible for our family. I'm also happy that we have a membership because after just two visits to the zoo, we've saved money over paying for each visit individually. Every trip from here on out is like a Christmas bonus!