|Date opened||April 1906|
|Location||Memphis, Tennessee, United States|
|Coordinates||35°09′00″N 89°59′39″W / 35.1500°N 89.9943°WCoordinates: 35°09′00″N 89°59′39″W / 35.1500°N 89.9943°W|
|Land area||76 acres (31 ha)|
|No. of animals||3,500|
|No. of species||500|
|Annual visitors||1.2 million|
|Major exhibits||19 spread across 3 zones|
The Memphis Zoo, located in
In 2008, the Memphis Zoo was ranked "#1 Zoo in the U.S." by
Since the early 1990s, the Memphis Zoo has invested over $77 million for renovation and expansion. The zoo's animal inhabitants reside in three zones with 19 exhibits, such as Teton Trek, Northwest Passage and China, home to giant pandas Ya Ya and Le Le
The Memphis Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
- Early 1900s
The zoo was established on April 4, 1906, with $1,200 from the Memphis Park Commission. In August 1906, 23 cages and concrete bear enclosures were built with another $3,628 thanks to the head of the Commission, Col. Robert Galloway.
Galloway Hall, the Memphis Zoo's first building, was finished in 1907. It was named in honor of Col. Galloway, but was later demolished to make room for newer exhibits.
The Carnivora Building was constructed in 1909 to house the first cats at the zoo. It was later replaced by Cat Country, and converted into an inner-zoo restaurant.
The Elephant House opened in 1910. The building is still used as the main building of the zoo's educational department, but the elephants were moved to the African Veldt exhibit.
In 1916, the Botanical Display Building opened. It was later converted into the Tropical Bird House.
The Memphis Zoo acquired a round barn from the Memphis Police Department in 1923, who used the building as their stable for the mounted horse patrol in the early 1900s. The zoo's round barn exhibit is a collection of exotic hoofstock and birds.
In 1936, the zoo's first primate exhibit, Monkey Island, was built. It was replaced in 1995 by Primate Canyon.
The Aquarium was completed in 1959. It is one of the oldest exhibits at the Memphis Zoo. The building houses aquatic life from both fresh and salt water environments. In 1979, it had major renovations.
The Herpetarium was constructed in 1960, located across from the Tropical Bird House. The Herpetarium is home to the zoo's snakes, alligators, lizards and frogs. Later in the year, the Pachyderm/Elephant exhibit was finished, and the elephants moved in from the old elephant house.
- Late 1900s to present
The zoo renovated its entrance in 1990. The main entrance way was designed by architect, Jeffery Borchardt. It was dubbed as the "Avenue of the Animals" which displays a grand Egyptian motif modeled after the Avenue of Sphinxes in Egypt. The zoo portal facade features a 40' by 163' wall with hieroglyphics of all the animals in the zoo. In the top panels, the Memphis Zoo Mission Statement is written in hieroglyphics.
Cat Country, a 3-acre (1.2 ha), open-air exhibit focused on both predators and prey of the cat world, opened in 1993. Tigers and lions share common space with fennec foxes and meerkats. An Education Complex, Discovery Center, and the Elephant's Trunk Zoo Shop also opened at this time. The Carnivora Building that formerly housed the zoo's large cats was remodeled into The Cat House Cafe, which opened in 1994.
Three new exhibits opened in 1995. Animals of the Night is devoted to nocturnal animals, and reverses their hours from normal so visitors can see them at their most active. Once Upon A Farm was built to resemble an early 1900s farm. Primate Canyon features naturalistic, outdoor exhibit areas for a variety of monkeys and apes.
Dragon's Lair was opened in 1998 for the zoo's three Komodo dragons, and includes outdoor and indoor areas, allowing them to stay warm during the cool winter months. A new animal hospital was also finished in 1998, with separate holding and quarantine wings built on opposite ends of the building. The sick wing separates sick or injured animals from others and allows for proper recovery time. The quarantine wing is used for newly acquired animals, which are quarantined for at least 30 days upon arrival at the zoo before being introduced to their new homes. On September 18, 1998, two plaques were dedicated in memory of musician Jeff Buckley in the Memphis Zoo's Sumatran tiger exhibit. His mother chose that location because of his great love of the Memphis Zoo and the tigers in particular. Jeff frequently visited the zoo, had plans to become a volunteer in 1997 and, according to his mother, never left the zoo without visiting the Butterflies: In Living Color exhibit, which also opened early in 1998. The exhibit was replaced by "Birds and Bees" in late May 2009.
In April 2003, the Memphis Zoo became one of only four U.S. zoos to exhibit the giant panda. One male and one female giant panda ("Ya Ya" and "Le Le") share their 3-acre (1.2 ha) home with several other species native to China, in the first Memphis Zoo exhibit to be built as zoogeographical exhibit. The buildings, plant life and even the sounds of China are represented in this $16 million exhibit.
The Northwest Passage exhibit opened on March 1, 2006, with underwater viewing for polar bears and sea lions. The animals frequently interact with visitors, and the sea lions are fond of following and mimicking small children.
Butterflies: In Living Color! was renovated in 2007.
Construction of the Teton Trek exhibit started in February 2008.
The zoo had its largest single day attendance ever on March 17, 2009, with more than 20,450 visitors. In late May 2009, the Birds and Bees exhibit opened in the former butterfly exhibit. The butterfly garden moved outside the aviary, and is still close to the original exhibit. Longtime zoo favorite "Ann" the reticulated python died on July 28, 2009. She was 18 years old. Teton Trek was opened on October 10, 2009, and winning artists of the Teton Trek Art Contest were recognized.
The zoo's second African exhibit, Zambezi River Hippo Camp, opened to the public on April 29, 2016.
- The future
The Memphis Zoo has a few projects in their future plans with funding efforts currently underway.
- A new major attraction, expected to be complete by the spring of 2022, is underway with plans to renovate the Hippo Barn Enclosure as well as other unannounced parts of the zoo. Many new jobs will be created from this project.
- An indoor coffee shop is expected to be built by summer 2021. Located near the front entrance of the zoo, it will sell coffee and pastries.
2 Northwest Passage
3 Elephants, rhino
4 Bongos, gazelles, ostriches
5 Zebras, oryx
8 Chickasaw Bluff Trail (planned)
9 Birds and Bees (seasonal)
11 Primate Canyon
12 China Exhibit
15 Animals of the Night
16 Cat Country
17 Tropical Bird House
18 Penguin Rock, pelicans
20 Dragon's Lair
21 Round Barn
23 Once Upon A Farm
E Entrance Plaza
Ed Education Center
G Gate to parking
S Ice skating (seasonal)
T Picnic tables
The zoo hosts modern exhibits that mimic the animals' natural
The zoo is divided into three zones that showcase a total of 19 different exhibits.
- Teton Trek
The 4-acre (1.6 ha) exhibit,
- Northwest Passage
Home to the zoo's
- African Veldt
African elephants, white rhinos, and giraffe are joined by zebras, Grant's gazelle, and ostriches in this area. African cranes, bontebok, lechwe, bongo and scimitar oryx also live here. The zoo finished enlarging the elephant exhibit in 2006; it now features a pool that allows elephants to submerse and bathe.
- World of Waterfowl
In this exhibit, two wooden bridges take visitors through a wetland. It is home to around 30
- Birds and Bees
This exhibit opened in May 2009. It features an up-close look at two honey bee hives. Displays inside the exhibit explain what makes bees special and the role they play in agriculture. The indoor bee exhibit leads to an outdoor aviary that features approximately 500 budgies, commonly known as parakeets. In addition to viewing these colorful birds, visitors can feed them using millet seed-heads attached to sticks that are available for a small fee.
Opened in April 2003,
- Primate Canyon
This exhibit was opened in 1995
- Commercial Appeal Cat Country
This 3-acre (1.2 ha),
- Zambezi River Hippo Camp
This African exhibit opened in 2016. Its location is adjacent to the Primate Pavilion and south entrance to the African Veldt. It is home to
- Animals of the Night
This exhibit reverses the daily cycle of nocturnal animals, giving visitors the chance to see night-dwellers at their most active. The exhibit is developed around a central bat flyway which enables visitors to get a close-up view of the bats in flight or feeding. Also exhibited are a wide range of other species—from aardvark to wombat.The exhibit also features the Bear cuscus which is featured in only 4 other zoos around the world. 
- Dragon's Lair
This exhibit was specifically built for the
- Tropical Bird House
A variety of colorful birds in outdoor enclosures can be seen by visitors at the entrance to the zoo's Tropical Bird House. The building is home to exotic bird species from around the world such as the pygmy falcon, Burrowing owl, azure-winged magpie, Bali myna, crested coua, golden white-eye, Jambu fruit dove, Mariana fruit dove, plush-crested jay, purple-throated fruitcrow, red-billed hornbill, Tinian monarch, Toco toucan, and the white-tailed trogon. The exhibit features a walk-through aviary which allows visitors close contact to a number of birds, especially during feeding time.
The Aquarium is one of the oldest exhibits at the Memphis Zoo and houses
- Penguin Rock
Over 30 African penguins live across from the zoo's rides area at Penguin Rock. American white pelicans are located nearby.
- Once Upon A Farm
This exhibit was built to resemble an early 1900s farm.
Located across from the Tropical Bird House, the
- Round Barn
The Round Barn is home to
- On January 8, 2008, a stray dog entered the Memphis Zoo through a service door and leapt into the tiger exhibit before officials could apprehend it. Zoo staff distracted the tigers, allowing the dog to walk out of the exhibit and survive with several injuries.
- In May 2009, a zoo keeper was bitten by a Bengal tiger after failing to close two internal safety doors, allowing a tiger to enter an unsecured hallway. The tiger, named Kumari, was sedated and safely placed back in her exhibit.
- In 2019, a man entering the Memphis Zoo shot himself in the upper thigh with a handgun hidden in his pocket. This incident brought attention to the zoo's firearm policies and zoo officials stated that they would look into it.
Landscaping plays a key role in each of the zoo's three zones, both within exhibits and along the interconnecting trails. Water features, such as ponds, waterfalls, fountains, and streams, are dominant elements of the overall design, in addition to artificial rock formations which blend into the containment walls of the animals' enclosures. Other key elements of the landscaping are a diverse mix of trees, shrubs, and seasonal herbaceous plants.
Most of the larger trees are native species, which include
The Memphis Zoo sponsors a wide variety of special events with the overall theme—Always Something To Do. These include: Horticultural Tours (periodic), Plant Sale (April), Zoo Boo with its Haunted Forest (October), Zoo Lights with over 1 million holiday lights, Santa, live reindeer, and magic show (November/December), Zoo Rendezvous (September), Zoo Snooze (periodic), and many more. There are also a wide assortment of educational activities throughout the year for school-aged children.
Exzoobrance is a bimonthly magazine published by the Memphis Zoological Society to keep patrons informed about zoo-related activities and information. Each edition includes a calendar of events, a description of special events, news about educational and conservation programs, information about the animals and their exhibits, and a kid's activity page. Copies are archived online beginning in 2009.
- ^ "Year in review" (PDF). www.memphiszoo.org. 2017. Retrieved 2021-05-04.
- ^ "Currently Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". aza.org. AZA. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- ^ "TripAdvisor's Call of the Wild: Top 10 U.S. Aquariums and Zoos". TripAdvisor.com. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
- ^ . Wolff, Cindy (2008-04-20). "Memphis Zoo striving to create more humane, educational atmosphere with 20-year plan". Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
- ISBN 9780738516943– via Google Books.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "History". memphiszoo.org. Memphis Zoo. Archived from the original on 12 November 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
- ^ "Avenue of the Animals". Memphis Art. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
- ^ Wolff, Cindy (2008-05-03). "Group upset zoo took out 139 trees to build Teton Trek". Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
- ^ Meek, Andy. "Group Opposes Clear-Cutting For Zoo Exhibit". The Daily News. Memphis, Tennessee. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
- ^ The groups subsequently pursued a successful, 16-month campaign to have the Arboretum designated as a State Natural Area by the Tennessee General Assembly. "Forest group upset at Memphis Zoo for removing trees". WMC-TV Memphis. 2008-03-05. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
- ^ "Legislature Protects Overton Park Forest", 'The Commercial Appeal', May 21, 2011; accessed August 9, 2011.
- ^ "Record-breaking 20,450 visitors at the Memphis Zoo in Overton Park". Jim Weber/Commercial Appeal. 2009-03-17. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
- ^ "Memphis Zoo: Art Contest Winners". Archived from the original on October 18, 2009.
- ^ Staff, Jerica Phillips, WMCActionNews5 com. "Sneak Peek: Zambezi River Hippo Camp to open at Memphis Zoo". www.wmcactionnews5.com.
- ^ "Memphis Zoo: Facilities and amenities". Archived from the original on January 27, 2010.
- ^ a b c d e "Teton Trek". memphiszoo.org. Memphis Zoo. 3 June 2009. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009.
- ^ "Memphis Zoo: Teton Trek". Archived from the original on June 3, 2009.
- ^ "Memphis Zoo: Teton Trek Press Kit" (PDF).
- ^ a b c d e f g h "East Zone Exhibits". Archived from the original on 20 July 2006.
- ^ a b c "Memphis Zoo". Memphis Zoological Association (Used with permission). Retrieved 2008-09-16.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Central Zone Exhibits". Archived from the original on 21 July 2006.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i "West Zone Exhibits". Archived from the original on 17 July 2006.
- ^ "Tiger attacks stray dog at Memphis zoo". thestar.com. 2008-01-09. Retrieved 2021-02-22.
- ^ "Human error blamed in tiger bite incident at Memphis Zoo". Big Cat Rescue. 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2021-02-22.
- ^ Sells, Toby. "What We Can't Know: Memphis Zoo Shooting Video". Memphis Flyer. Retrieved 2021-02-22.
- ^ "Memphis Zoo: Plants". Archived from the original on January 19, 2010.
- ^ "Memphis Zoo: Plant blogs". Archived from the original on November 23, 2009.
- ^ "Memphis Zoo: Butterfly garden". Archived from the original on March 23, 2010.
- ^ "Memphis Zoo Lights kicks off November 20th with annual Tree Lighting Ceremony". localmemphis.com. 12 November 2020. Retrieved 2021-02-11.
- ^ "Memphis Zoo: Always something to do".
- ^ "ExZooberance". www.memphiszoo.org.
- Media related to Memphis Zooat Wikimedia Commons
- MemphisZoo.org – Official Website