Zoo Knoxville at 70ish


Zoo Knoxville through its promotions is considering this its 70th anniversary. That’s a little debatable, even by its own website. The News Sentinel, a local paper did, in 1948 launch an effort to start a zoo, which included various animals starting with an alligator, although the zoo’s own website dates the “modern zoo” to 1971.

That modern zoo, however was not the same as the present one. I know because I have been coming at different times throughout my life. The zoo has recently added playgrounds to make itself more exciting to children and sometimes even they’re related to exhibits, like monkey bars near gibbons.

The zoo is more or less divided by continent now as far as its major areas. Asia Trek is the zoo’s new showcase exhibit, showing off tigers …

gibbons …

langurs …

And red pandas who did not feel like posing for me, even though those racoon-like critters are a distinctive feature of the zoo. Don’t expect them to be bear sized.

Elsewhere the zoo boasts exotic beasts like giraffes and rhinos along with local favorites like otters.

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Clinton TN: Little Ponderosa Zoo


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Jack, a kangaroo at the Little Ponderosa Zoo and Rescue.  Photo by Yvonne Rogers

I wish I had some better reason to tell you about Little Ponderosa Zoo and Rescue. But no, I was there, petting animals, taking pictures, looking at zebus and zonkeys and getting spit on by a camel because of a memorial service for animals lost in a fire. I was there at my day job reporting for The Oak Ridger. The zoo’s founder, James Cox told me and other reporters the zoo would not open until spring. But if you want a small zoo with animals you can pet and feed, the place is superb and one of Clinton, Tennessee’s more unusual attractions. Don’t expect it to be big like the Knoxville Zoo, but it is fun.

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