Memphis Zoo

Spend a day at the Memphis Zoo

One of the most challenging aspects of choosing a place to live is balancing big-city activity and opportunity with small-town affordability and peace. Memphis represents the best of both worlds: a city that hums with activity, but can slow down long enough for you to enjoy it. One of the best places to visit in Memphis is the first-class Memphis Zoo.
Nestled in Overton Park, the zoo originated with the effort to protect a single black bear named Natch. The search for suitable accommodations for Natch unearthed several more exotic animals that also needed housing, and the idea to construct a zoological garden for them and others was born in 1904. The zoo finally opened in 1906 to a delighted public, and additional exotic cats and elephants were acquired shortly thereafter.
Over the last century, the zoo has expanded to 19 exhibits, including seasonal exhibits that showcase animals sensitive to the changing Memphis climate. In addition to lions and tigers and bears (oh my!), you can monkey around in Primate Canyon, get hip to the hippos at Zambezi River Hippo Camp and fish for compliments at the Aquarium.

polar bear at Memphis zoo

Photo Credit: Memphis Zoo Facebook

In acknowledgment of the fact that zoos began as a way to educate the public about animals they might not see regularly, the Memphis Zoo takes its commitment to public education seriously, and each main exhibit features daily chats with keepers. During these chats, staff answer questions about the animals’ natural habitat, their care at the zoo, how the zoo acquired its current population and more. If you or a companion have a special interest in a particular species, don’t miss this chance to talk with the experts. For a bit of the old razzle dazzle, the zoo also offers sea lion shows during which the animals perform tricks that will delight the young and young at heart.
Speaking of children, have you heard about Zoo Snoozes? These programs are the best excuse for zoo enthusiasts to stay up past bedtime, offering moonlight safaris and the chance to get a closer view of the nocturnal animals. The Memphis Zoo also hosts several summer camp experiences for children aged 3 to 13, with specialized programming for every young animal-lover in your family.

Cheetah at Memphis zoo

Photo Credit: Memphis Zoo Facebook

In terms of transit and accessibility, the Memphis Zoo is right in Midtown, with buses stopping by regularly. Street parking is also available, granting easy access to one of the nation’s oldest and finest zoos.

Your exploration of the cultural treasures of Memphis is just beginning. After you visit the zoo, why not check out the other things Memphis has to offer?

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