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Tennessee Zoo Trip

Discussion in 'United States' started by blospz, 31 Mar 2018.

  1. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    My husband and I are planning to drive down to Tennessee on our zoo trip this year. Here is our itinerary:

    • Sunday, May 13: Travel from Maryland to Knoxville, TN.
    • Monday, May 14: Visit Knoxville Zoo. Travel to Nashville, TN.
    • Tuesday, May 15: Visit Nashville Zoo. Travel to Chattanooga, TN.
    • Wednesday, May 16: Visit Chattanooga Zoo & Tennessee Aquarium.
    • Thursday, May 17: Travel back to Maryland.
    For those who have visited these zoos, I would love your input on how long it takes to visit them. I take it that Knoxville Zoo will be a half day zoo and that will give us time to travel to Nashville later in the day. I plan to spend most of the zoo hours (9 AM to 6 PM) at the Nashville Zoo and may even do one of their 90 minutes behind the scenes tour. Is Chattanooga Zoo and TN Aquarium doable in the same day? I can usually go through an aquarium quicker than I would a zoo. We would have loved to done Memphis too, but it was a bit too far to drive with the time we could get off.
     
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  2. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I did Tennessee Aquarium and Chattanooga Zoo in the same day in 2010. The aquarium is one of the 5 best in the nation and interestingly enough there are two large buildings that are not connected. You could spend a couple of hours at Tennessee Aquarium, have lunch and then drive 10 minutes down the road to Chattanooga Zoo. The zoo is only 13 acres in size and would only take you 2 hours or less.

    Neither Knoxville or Nashville are very big zoos and they could each be toured in a half-day with ease. It will depend on how long you stay at each exhibit and there is a Reptile House at each facility as well...which can slow some folks down. I'm excited to read your trip report when you arrive back home in mid-May.
     
  3. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    I knew I could rely on you for some answers! What makes the TN aquarium one of the best in the nation? Shedd has popular marine mammals and Georgia has rarities like whale sharks. Looking at this aquarium's website, it doesn't look like they have a starring creature. Is it the exhibit design or aquarium's layout that makes it so special?

    Reptiles won't slow me down so that will help out. I plan to spend a little extra time watching the Andean bears, baby Baird's tapir, and animal shows at the Nashville Zoo.
     
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  4. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Of the 85 or so aquariums that I have visited in my lifetime (mainly all in the USA) there are three that are far ahead of the rest and almost all equal in my estimation. Shedd at #1, Monterey Bay at #2 and Georgia at #3 are all amazing, although with its whale sharks and one-million gallon shark tank opening in a couple of years then Georgia could well become the world's largest aquarium yet again.

    After that 'must-see' trio the next couple of aquariums on my list would be Baltimore and Tennessee. That latter facility has top-notch quality in both buildings and might still be the largest freshwater aquarium on the planet. Tennessee has the River Journey building that opened in 1992 and it is double the size of the Ocean Journey building that opened in 2005 but both structures are excellent.

    River Journey has a cool Seahorse gallery, an Appalachian Cove Forest with otters and many terrariums, an outstanding Mississippi Delta exhibit with gators and plenty of turtles, and an extensive Rivers of the World gallery that includes a Tennessee River section. Ocean Journey has a Tropical Cove area with a large stingray touch tank, Lemur Forest and Penguins' Rock. Secret Reef and Undersea Cavern is basically a 500,000-gallon shark tank that is possibly the most popular exhibit in the whole aquarium and there is a cool cave viewing area. There are no whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, pinnipeds, etc., at the Tennessee Aquarium but the overall quality is very high and each tank is well-designed. There are even wide pathways and the facility is visitor friendly in terms of amenities.
     
  5. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I have visited two zoos in the state: Nashville Zoo (two different occasions) and Memphis Zoo. Due to my photographic interests I spent a couple days at each. Both are among my favorite zoos and the cities themselves are also quite enjoyable, with a fun and walkable downtown.

    My love for Nashville stems from the best (and most photo friendly) clouded leopard exhibit I have seen plus an overall excellent exhibit quality. One time I also did a guided tour (no need to reserve ahead) of the original plantation house with the old slave cabins next to it - a fascinating piece of American history. However if you are not obsessed with watching your favorite animal for hours to get the best photo, then you could see the zoo in half a day.

    My love for Memphis (which you are not going to) stems from a self contained cat loop with approximately ten feline species in natural exhibits. Any place with ten different kinds of cats all grouped in close proximity is a winner in my book. The other exhibits ranged from good to mediocre, however the new bear exhibit and lodge that opened after my visit seems to be top notch.
     
  6. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    I am glad you commented as well as we both have a love for photography, which can affect the pace of going through a zoo. Although I probably would spend a good amount of time at certain exhibits, my husband will be guiding me through a normal pace, lol. I love the clouded leopard at the Smithsonian National Zoo, but I must admit, it will be nice to photograph these beautiful cats without the mesh getting in the way. The behind the scenes tour I am thinking about doing actually features a meet and greet with a couple of the clouded leopards. Also a draw from that tour is being able to visit their large collection of giant anteaters! I am sad to miss the reopening of the tiger exhibit at Nashville, but at least I can see the new tiger exhibit at the Knoxville Zoo. Memphis Zoo definitely has animals in its collection I would love to see, but with the drive, we don't have the time nor do I have the stamina to be in a car that long. We will get there one day.

    @snowleopard, thank you for your description of the aquarium!
     
  7. tschandler71

    tschandler71 Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest skipping Chattanooga and going to Bright's Zoo in Limestone TN. If you like Hoofstock he has breeding herd of Greater Kudu, Nyala, Bongo, Sable Antelope, Giant Anteater, Dama Gazelle, Grants/Grevy Zebra, Giraffe, Gemsbok, Arabian Oryx, Addax, Warthog, Blackbuck, Red River Hog, Wildebeest, Waterbuck, Scimitar Oryx. Among others.
     
    Last edited: 1 Apr 2018
  8. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    ZOO KNOXVILLE

    Zoo Knoxville is a small to medium size zoo located North east of the city's downtown area. The zoo was filled with field trips on the day I visited and I was relieved I came at opening and had quietness for the first 45 minutes. Although the zoo has some outdated exhibits, the new ones are promising and it's hopefully a preview of the zoo's future.

    The first exhibit you encounter when you walk into the zoo is Black Bear Falls. The actual size of the exhibit is misleading. I believe when facing the exhibit, there is more space for the bears on the far left, but you can only view the area through holes in the long tunnel inside the exhibit. Although the exhibit seemed a bit small, they have plenty of vertical space with many artificial trees for the bears to climb. I heard they are most active during opening when they have snacks. Sure enough when I returned later in the morning, they were sleeping the day away.

    The next exhibit I encountered was Red Panda Village. The first exhibit for the animals was neat for visitors as it was like a walk through aviary area with only a mid length barrier blocking you from the exhibit. I love open air exhibits for photography so it was very nice to spend time in this one. Although I wish there was a bit more vertical space for the reds, it was a pretty good exhibit. The village also includes a window to view one of their indoor exhibits and a meshed enclosed exhibit that had great foliage.

    Langur Landing and Gibbon Trails were up next. They are the zoo's newest exhibits and fit right into their Asian Trek area. Although you are not going to get a naturalistic look with this exhibit, the different meshed enclosed trails, similar to Philadelphia Zoo's 360 trails, gives plenty of enriching moments for the lesser ape. There are a three levels to view the exhibit. The langurs have a small hillside exhibit and a nice indoor exhibit with a lot of vertical space. On the highest level next to the gibbon exhibit, you can look down into the biggest Malayan tiger exhibit. The male Malayan tiger was looking for snacks and also jumped on a rock right below us at one point. The Malayan tigers have another exhibit, this one temple ruins themed, that housed the female tiger. There's a building in between the exhibits with a great graphic wall, and views into the exhibit, one including under water viewing. It looked like there was also a training wall that keepers could use for tiger talks.

    I bypassed the children's area, but it looked decent, and went up to the hill for the reptile building and river otters outside exhibit. The reptile building was a bit odd as you didn't go into it. Its exhibits were terrariums popping out of the walls and the building was more of walk areas for the zookeepers. The area also had corn cob cages for birds of prey. The river otter exhibit seemed a bit dated and small for my taste. I am glad to just read on here that both areas are to be renovated within the next couple of years.

    I went back to the zoo entrance and went to the West side of the zoo. This area has mostly African animals, starting off with the elephant exhibit. The zoo has two females and a male elephant and they were housed in separate exhibits. The outside exhibits seemed a bit crammed and when I saw the exhibits behind them for the zebra and giraffe, I almost wish they all connected and were used for just the elephants. Or all three species if they were able to get along. The giraffe exhibit did not have giraffes visible as the new mountain zebra were getting their time out on view. Across from this area was a nice indoor exhibit for bat earred foxes and an outdoor exhibit for two female white rhinos. I was excited to see these two females as they were the mothers of the two males I know from my former home zoo, Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, NY. The exhibit was sort of similar to the one at Seneca Park Zoo, but a bit longer and had a shading structure. Up above the rhino exhibit was a trail to one non African animal; the red wolf. They had a meshed enclosed exhibit of a wooded area. I have seen better exhibits for the animal, but it was still a decent exhibit for them. Back tracking to the exhibits past the giraffe exhibit was exhibits for African lion and baboon. Both seemed to be Egyptian themed with graphics around the exhibit. Both seemed quite basic for each of its inhabitants.

    To finish the African area was a trail to show exhibits for chimpanzee, gorilla, yellow backed duiker, and African painted dog (work was being done in it when I walked by). Out of the two ape exhibits, the chimpanzee had the better exhibit. Both desperately lacked vertical space for the apes. The yellow backed duiker exhibit seemed nice and I really wish I was able to see the African wild dog exhibit and their new pups in their exhibit. I finish up the African section with a nice, quaint aviary with African birds.

    The zoo was enjoyable and only took a couple of hours to explore. If you are passing through Knoxville, you should definitely check it out. The city also has a really nice downtown area.
     
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  9. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    NASHVILLE ZOO (PART 1)

    The Nashville Zoo was the highlight of this zoo trip. I have always wanted to see this zoo, but I was waiting for the Andean bear exhibit to open. Although the zoo is not in geographical order and some say it’s on the small side, it’s definitely a zoo to keep your eye on in the next decade for its expansion. I was fortunate enough to get a couple behind the scenes tours and was able to see some of the land the zoo has yet to develop. The biggest advantage that this zoo has is it’s only about 21 years old and is such a lush area with shaded trails. One of the zookeepers I met described it as a menagerie garden with animal exhibits throughout it.

    When I first walked in the zoo, it took me back to visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The first exhibits were a nice area for hyacinth macaw and another for Stanley’s crane. Around the corner are two lushed islands for gibbon and siamang with many natural trees to use. In the early afternoon, we were able to hear them call out to each other and it went on for several minutes. Up next was a nice sized, lush exhibit for meerkat with a pop up bubble for visitors. Over the bridge was an exhibit for saddle billed stork. Unseen World, the building for reptiles and amphibians, with the aviary attached, was closed for due to a broken air conditioner. However, it did open later in the day, but I was only able to do a quick walk through of it. From what I saw, it was very nice and the aviary had two levels.

    We skipped the critter encounter area, which looked like a farm area, and walked through flamingo lagoon. The bridge/trail weaves in and out of the lagoon making visitors feel like they are inside the exhibit. All of these areas were passed by quickly because I was on a mission to catch the baby Baird’s tapir on exhibit. I wanted to see it first thing before the throngs of children got to the area. Mom, Juju, and baby, Kuzco, were hiding in the shaded area. The exhibit is lush, with many trees for shade and a nice pool up front. They also share the exhibit with a sibling pair of crested screamers with the Game of Throne names of Ceresi and Jamie. How did they get their names? The two do not remember they are related and often mate together. Past this area is a decent sized exhibit for crested porcupine (I believe African crested). Up next is one of the newer exhibits for the zoo, one for Mexican spider monkeys. We entered a building with large windows looking down into their lush exhibit with many trees for its inhabitants. You can view them on the side of the exhibit too if you walk across the tight rope bridge. The cougar exhibit is unfortunately only viewed through mesh, but it’s a hillside exhibit with plenty of space.

    Continuing on in this area takes you to Bamboo Trails. Each exhibit in this area is a bit intimate, but still provides nice vertical space for its inhabitants. This area has exhibits for red ruffed lemur, ring tailed lemur, clouded leopard and red pandas across from each other, and for rhinoceros hornbill. Although I prefer the look of Smithsonian National Zoo’s clouded leopard exhibit better, this glass windows for this exhibit was excellent for photography. I had a beautiful female ready to pose up on a tree limb. The two red panda juveniles born last year are still at the zoo and it was nice to see the family of four all snoozing up high.

    Expedition Peru is a fantastic new addition to the zoo. The Andean bear exhibit seems to be one of the larger and best in the country. It reminds me a bit of the one at the National Zoo, but visitors are able to see the bears closer as you enter the lodge to large windows in front of the pool. You can also view the exhibit off to its side. The lodge also has an exhibit with reptiles and fish; I could probably find my photo of each inhabitant if anyone was interested. It was very nice to see Muniri and Holt on exhibit; two Andean bears I watched grow up at the National Zoo. The area also includes a yard for many different types of guinea pigs and one for a female pudu named Carol. I was unable to go into the female bathroom to see the cotton top tamarin exhibit.

    Back tracking, we walked by Alligator cove and then went up to the kangaroo and cassowary exhibits. The kangaroo yard is nice as this one allows visitors to gently touch the kangaroos. At the end of this trail was a basic, yet spacious yard for zebra, ostrich, bontebok and other African antelopes.

    We then went to the other side of the zoo which had a decent, shaded yard for Maasai giraffe and a huge exhibit for the four female white rhinos. Also up this way is the Grassmere Historic House and farm. It’s a nice step back into time and many graphics describing the land and how it was used.

    UP NEXT: Viewing the zoo from behind the scenes.
     
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  10. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Thanks very much for your great reviews! Skip Children's Zoos at your peril (haha) as at Zoo Knoxville the kiddie section is actually quite impressive. Even if you don't have little ones, the Children's Zoo has a small Nocturnal House with skunks, raccoons (and are there still bats there?) plus cool animals like Guinea hogs and beavers outside.
     
  11. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    Rats! Or should I say beavers! I thought the zoo had them, but I didn't find them. I did go into the entrance part near the goats, but as soon as the school groups busted in, we go out of there ASAP. Well, now I know for the future.
     
  12. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    NASHVILLE ZOO: BEHIND THE SCENES (PART 2)

    We selected to do the Saving Species tour which made stops to the commissary, giant anteaters, clouded leopards, and the rhino barn. We only had another couple on our tour and the tour guide was very friendly and informative.

    The commissary had a fridge prepped with food and a whole side completed for the following day. Their food is restaurant quality and comes from local businesses.

    The next stop was the main reason I wanted to take this tour; the giant anteater barn. The zoo has the largest collection of giant anteaters in the country. We asked why none were on display for visitors and our tour guide said because they are so lethargic on exhibit, they didn’t want guests to complain they don’t seem them visible. She did mention that perhaps in the future they will be in a mix exhibits so if visitors don’t see them, they are still able to see other animals in the space. I also heard from one other keeper that it was once mentioned putting them on exhibit with the Baird’s tapir. Oboom, one of the male giant anteaters, has one of the front exhibits and I heard he is a good greeter as he comes out to see the guests then comes inside when visitors enter the barn. Caesar, the eldest male, was across the hall from him and right by Oboom was Dolce, the female who was selected for the feeding that day. Babies Isabella and Noelle were sleeping under their mothers’ tails when we first walked by the bedrooms. However once the yogurt was out for feeding, all the anteaters were alert. The babies were walking about with the noses sticking out in between bars. A fun fact is human sweat has the same chemical found in insects so if you’re sweaty, anteaters think you like smell insects. One of the giant anteaters was known for licking feet if you had sandals on. It nearly scared a mother half to death on a previous tour. Dolce was a delight to feed and she stood up on her hind legs. I had the most turns to feed her and it was a really fun experience. Each giant anteater also have their own separate yards for more area to roam.

    After that stop, we went down tamandua lane. What is tamandua lane? It’s an area with a bunch of small meshed exhibits connected to buildings which once house tamanduas in each of its exhibits. Now they are only occupy two of the exhibits and the others are used for clouded leopards and binturongs. We were going to walk by one of the tamandua exhibits, but the tour guide said the tamanduas hardly ever come out, unless it’s someone’s birthday. They have a six sense about it, haha. However, since I am an avid lover of tamanduas, they must have known it was a special occasion and Ke$ha was out and about waiting for a treat. The tour guide got her some yogurt and we were able to see her for a bit. Her mother, Pisca, was inside and content being there.

    Next door was the exhibit for two juvenile female clouded leopards. I believe we saw Hope, as the other one, Faith was unwilling to come out. The zoo has had tremendous success with breeding clouded leopard and also had a cub in the past couple of years done through A.I. They try to hand raise the cubs to be more docile and then pair them up at a young age so when they are reintroduced at sexually maturity, the male, being on the smaller size, won’t attack the female out of intimidation. Hope and Faith were "oops" cubs. The SSP asked the zoo to breed their parents again, then came back asking them to separate them as the genetics were actually well represented. Well, mom was already pregnant so surprise!! Hope and Faith are not recommended to breed and will hopefully be ambassador animals. The zoo would like to use them for their shows; however there is a law in Tennessee that large cats must have a barrier between them and visitors.

    On the way to the rhino barn, we were able to see the back of the new animal hospital which will open to the public within the next year. The rhino barn is connected to the giraffe barn. The barn was modified when the African elephants were moved out and the zoo decided to get rhinos instead. The bars were lowered and the watering bowls were move to inside the exhibit (no trunks to reach outside bars). Another area has sand floors, which will be used to house a male rhino that they hope to get in the future. We were able to walk through a pathway eventually to be used for the rhinos to enter into their exhibit. At the end of this walk way is an area in the barn that they can use to secure in a rhino when they need to check them up close. The female rhinos came from Africa and had extra time for crate training. Pilots detest flying a plane with a rhino in it because any movement from a rhino could swift the weight of the plane. The females were pros though and all were able to fly on the same plane. Through their 72 hours journey, they were docile and very easy to transport. The biggest challenge they actually had was introducing them to their outside yard as they seemed to be startled by grass. I assume they were only on concrete or dirt in Africa and this was their first exposure to this natural substrate. We asked a couple of zoo employees what was the real reason they got rid of their elephants. The main reason was of the policy to resort to closed contact. Also the renovations they would need for the barn were just too costly for the zoo. One was moved to Florida, but died, so that is why they made the decision for a shorter commute for the rest of the herd and they were sent to the TN sanctuary. The zoo may eventually get African elephants back, especially with plans for an Africa expansion, but it will be with other elephants that are closed contact trained. However, I am guessing most likely it won’t happen or be any time soon.

    This behind the scenes tour is only $40 per person and definitely worth it! Since the zoo is small, you can easily do the tour and still have time before and after it to explore the zoo.

    The other tours I got was from a zookeeper who I knew through social media. I told her I wanted to come visit her zoo and I always wanted to see a baby tapir. She told me to contact her and she’d make sure that would happen. After the zoo’s tour I contacted her and met her over at the tapir exhibit, where mom and baby were in, and Tybalt, the former male offspring was about to go on exhibit. I was able to see him being coaxed on exhibit with treats and I was told he was the easiest tapir to shift. We went into the tapir barn and mom and baby were waiting for us. We were able to feed them bananas and other treats. It was a bit of a challenge for me as I wanted them to grab it with their prehensile noses as we were warned not to get too close to their teeth. Tybalt is known to chirp to the other tapirs and his baby brother usually responds. We were told he actually does that because he smells a female nearby and he’s interested, not realizing he’s calling to his mother! Tapirs are so stocky and you really can feel their muscles when you pet them. They hair and body feel similar to a pig. After this, we went over to the yellow backed duiker exhibit to give them some browse for a snack. I mentioned to the zookeeper I was unable to see them the day before at Zoo Knoxville so she made sure to get them visible. The zoo has a mother and daughter pair. Fun fact: Yellow backed duikers squat like a dog when they pee and it looks hilarious!

    Our zookeeper friend had to be present with the okapi for another behind the scenes tour so we said our goodbyes and she told us when to contact her later to view more animals! The other behind the scenes tour the zoo has displays giraffe, okapi, and bongo. We pretty much got that tour with our friend.

    So we met up again and she took us by cart back to tamandua lane for a surprise stop. She used to work with the tamanduas and wanted to say hello. We were able to go into Pisca’s indoor exhibit and she came down to say hello, something unusual for her. Can I be called the tamandua whisperer? Then we went into Ke$ha’s outside exhibit but she was nowhere to be found. Our friend climbed the ladder, checked a bucket and there she was. Ke$ha came down, smelled our shoes, and then crawled under a turtle shaped sandbox cover. After that we drove over to the okapi barn and met their resident male okapi. The zoo hopes to expand their Africa section in the future and the okapi and bongo will probably get exhibits then. There’s also mention that they would like to house gorillas too. The male okapi was friendly and loved to have the inside of his ears scratched. If you’ve seen okapi fur, they feel like what you would expect; velvet. We then toured the giraffe barn, talked about their subspecies, and how they are endangered and people don’t believe it. We then went and fed the giraffes in the upper part of their exhibit so their heads were the same level as us. The male was eating and kind of putting up a front as he’s a tad uneasy with males thinking we’re taking his lady giraffes. That wrapped up our time behind the scenes and it was amazing to see a snippet of all the unused land the zoo can expand on!
     
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  13. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the reviews of the Tennessee zoos. I look forward to your review of the aquarium.

    By all reports Nashville had a great elephant exhibit. It's a shame that they are probably done with the species. It sounds like a nice zoo though. It's good to hear that you had a good tamandua visit.
     
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  14. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    CHATTANOOGA ZOO

    This poor little zoo was visited after visiting Nashville Zoo the previous day. How can you compete with a newer zoo with naturalistic exhibits? Well in my eyes, this zoo did not do too well. I feel the zoo had fun themes and graphics, but the exhibits were just very basic.

    When you first walk in the zoo, there is a big yard on the left that has a small area for camel rides. There was a sign that mentioned that they would like to use this space in the future for a giraffe exhibit. The first exhibit I went to was Gombe Forest, featuring chimpanzees. Their outside yard was being worked on that day so I did not see them chimps out there. However their exhibit was very bare for an ape exhibit with only a few ropes for climbing opportunities. The inside building was nice for a visitors point of view with graphics and themes once again. Their inside exhibit seemed average for apes. You were able to view the indoor exhibit for the African crowned cranes as well as a glimpse in their outside yard. Their outside yard was actually pretty nice with a bunch of foliage. Across from this area was a corn cob cage for a serval. The old cage look in this zoo was depressing to see after being in Nashville the previous day.

    Up next were the Desert and Forest buildings. Both building were in an octagon shape with a center glassed exhibit and terrariums and bigger exhibits along the walls. The center exhibit for Deserts was fennec fox while Forests was two toed sloth. The Desert building also featured sand cat, meerkat, road runner, and a few reptiles and amphibians. The forest building had komodo dragon and mostly reptile/amphibian exhibits. The exhibits were nothing spectacular, but it was fun to be able to photograph on all sides of the sloth exhibit when Olive, their lone female, was active before and meet & greet.

    Walkin' the Track was railroad themed and I liked that touch since the city is known for its history of railroads. The area featured an outdated cage for bobcats, a basic exhibit for cougar (but with a nice viewing area on a train car), some cages for owl and crow, an intimate exhibit for prairie dog, two nice yards for white tail deer and peafowl, and a decent meshed exhibit for coyote.

    Warner Park Ranch was a basic farm area with goats, cattle, etc. Nothing too exciting, although their cattle selection was unique with I believe the highland breed. There is a contact yard with goats.

    Himalayan Passage was probably my favorite area due to graphics/themes again and the animals in the section. The area featured exhibits for red panda, snow leopard, and silver leafed langur. The red pandas have a very nice indoor exhibit that's two stories high and visitors are able to view them from the top section. Their outdoor yard is spacious with some furniture, but lacks trees for climbing. The snow leopard exhibit reminded me of the leopard yard at the Philadelphia Zoo (featuring a waterfall cliff area), but it was more basic looking. The langur exhibit was an improvement compared to the chimp yard. You are able to view all areas from above and ground level.

    The final section is Corcovado Jungle. This area had exhibits for spider monkey, coati, capybara, and jaguar. Once again I do not need to go into detail about the simplicity of the exhibit, although the jaguar yard seemed spacious. In the back of this area is the newest exhibit, La Selva Amazonica. Pretty much small cages for different types of tamarin and a bigger exhibit for a parrot. Not the greatest impression for their newest section.

    The little zoo has charm, but it's definitely not one you must see. If you are in the area and want to do both this and the aquarium, it is definitely doable. If you want to pick between the two, with all my certainty, I highly suggest the aquarium!
     
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  15. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    TENNESSEE AQUARIUM

    I would love to write a detailed review about this wonderful aquarium, but I do not think that will happen. I didn't write down animal species so I cannot provide those details, but I'll be happy to write an overview on the facility.

    The aquarium is divided in two buildings; River Journey and Ocean Journey. I went in the River Journey building first. You are taken to the top floor and you make your way down back to the first floor with exhibits. The first section brings you into a section with a river otter exhibit. For being indoors, it's a good one and it's also leveled so the otters can exercise. There is a nice big pool for them as well. There's no natural substrate in the land area of the exhibit, but they still have the pool and excellent natural lighting. Past this exhibit I believe was a Marsh area with turtles and some birds.

    My husband read that the same architect who designed the Baltimore Aquarium did this one as well. When you get to the area where it's descending zig zag pathways, you can tell the similarities. However, on each floor of this one, you are taken to another area of exhibits. I believe one section was almost made up of turtles exhibits. One area also had a touch tank with I believe was lake sturgeon. There are so many wonderful natural details and the exhibits so well designed.

    Ocean Journey continues the integrity for a great trip to the aquarium. Once again, you are taken to the top level and you work your way down. The top area has exhibits for ring tailed lemurs and red ruffed lemurs. The red ruffed lemurs seem to have more vertical space, where as the ring tailed lemurs has a small concrete tree in their main area and the lemurs have space above the guest entrance too. This area also has a touch tank with rays, horseshoe crabs, and some other small fish. It was a bit sad to see blue tang in there because it reminds me of the scene in Finding Dory when they are all prodded by fingers. The interpreter there though mentioned no has been fast enough to touch any of the smaller fish. Up next was a beauty butterfly garden that's wonderful for photography. There's also a floor that display the penguins, who have a decent, though not big, indoor exhibit. There was also a section I believe for spineless creatures, displaying octopus and moon jellies. The last exhibit area is a cavern where you get views from the sides and above. If you're a Disney fan, you feel like you're in Ariel's cavern, besides the objects that she hoards.

    With similarities to the Baltimore Aquarium I would actually rate this one a tier higher. It is definitely an excellent aquarium in the US and you should definitely check it out if you're ever in the TN area.
     
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  16. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    The Tennessee Aquarium was (still is?) the largest freshwater aquarium in the world when it opened. The ocean building was a later development. Do they still have a large tank in the freshwater building with giant river species from around the world? This sounded like it was going to be their signature exhibit when they opened it.
     
  17. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Interesting... Chattanooga used to hold a bachelor group of Francois' langurs. I wonder what prompted the switch...
     
  18. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    Yes they do. You can view it on different levels with the zig zag pathways in between floors/exhibits.
     
  19. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    When I visited Chattanooga Zoo in 2010 there were Hanuman Langurs in that exhibit. Then the switch was made to Francois' Langurs and now Silvered-Leaf Langurs. An interesting chain of events!
     
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  20. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    You know what? I think they may actually have Francois' Langurs because they were black. I must have mixed up the species since Knoxville Zoo has silvered leaf langurs.