Popular Zoo Play Area Revamped and Reopened

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Popular Zoo Play Area Revamped and Reopened

Posted: 03/24/2010
Wee Play Zoo, Knoxville Zoo's unique indoor play area that lets kids run their own zoo, has reopened after a short hiatus to bring in new additions and enhance favorite activities in one of the zoo's most popular exhibits.

Wee Play Zoo lets kids take on different roles throughout the "zoo". New this year are the Kids Stage and Puppet Theatre where aspiring entertainers can put on their very own animal show and the Play Wee Market, a pretend souvenir shop for junior entrepreneurs. A special sensory garden for infants has also made its debut this year; the Infant Crawl is a flexible play area for infants and young toddlers that incorporates a variety of sensory and motor skill experiences for early development.

Other favorite things to do are selling tickets in the ticket booths, working in the Pizzooria concession stand, or preparing special diets for the animals in the commissary. Little animal enthusiasts can be veterinarians or scoop poop, just like a real zoo keeper. (Parents can rest assured that Wee Play Zoo does not use real poop or actual food.)

Designed to target the interests of infant through elementary-aged children, Wee Play Zoo was enthusiastically embraced by young visitors to Knoxville Zoo along with their parents when it opened last year. Although the exhibit was initially slated to be temporary and close at the end of 2009, zoo staff was inundated with requests from visitors to continue Wee Play Zoo. "We listened to our visitors," says Jim Vlna, executive director of Knoxville Zoo. "We knew we had a good concept, but our visitors' enthusiasm for Wee Play Zoo has been nothing short of overwhelming." 
 
Wee Play Zoo is located in the Pilot Special Exhibit Building, and is open daily during regular zoo hours. Special thanks to Smart Toys and Books for their generous support of this exhibit.

Knoxville Zoo is located off exit 392A from Interstate 40 and is open every day except Christmas Day. The zoo is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is committed to the highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics, conservation, and education. Currently, the zoo is open weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and weekends from 9:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before the zoo closes. Next-day admission is free after 3:00 p.m. For more information, please call 865-637-5331 ext. 300 or visit www.knoxville-zoo.org.