Zoo Knoxville Reopens May 18, 2020 with COVID-19 Phase 1 Protocols for Safety

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Zoo Knoxville Reopens May 18, 2020 with COVID-19 Phase 1 Protocols for Safety

Posted: 05/15/2020
Zoo Knoxville is reopening to the public on Monday, May 18, 2020, with carefully planned protocols to ensure the safety of their guests, staff and animals.  The zoo closed to visitors on March 16, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In accordance with the City of Knoxville and Knox County COVID-19 Reopening Phase 1 plan, Zoo Knoxville is open for passive outdoor use only, which means no indoor areas or interactive experiences like rides and animal encounters can be offered at this time.  Playground areas, including the splash pad, will also remain closed in this phase.

To control the number of guests in the zoo daily, advance purchase timed entry tickets are required.  Circle of Friends members and annual passholders will continue to receive free admission but will be required to make a reservation online for a timed entry on a specific date.  

Welcome back! Zoo Knoxville re-opening May 18th.

The zoo has added more than 30 additional hand sanitizing stations throughout zoo grounds and restaurants have modified their ordering and delivery systems to minimize contact.
Zoo Knoxville asks all guests to take the safety of other visitors, zoo staff and the animals seriously by following CDC recommendations:

Wearing a mask or face covering 
Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer stations throughout the zoo frequently 
Maintaining 6 feet of physical distance between groups
Using ground markings and directional signs to maintain safe distancing in areas where people may gather
Staying home if you are sick or in a high risk group

“We have been very, very deliberate in our planning,” said President and CEO Lisa New.  “We are reopening responsibly so our guests have a safe, secure environment to return to and they can feel confident their safety is our top priority.  We also need to keep our staff healthy so the care of our animals is not impacted.  We are grateful for the support of our community and we hope we can give our guests the opportunity to experience some feeling of normalcy during this time.”

To show appreciation for the outpouring of care and support during the closure, Zoo Knoxville will be offering tickets at a reduced price of $14.95 for adults and $11.95 for children ages 4-12 and seniors over 65.  Ages 3 and under are free.  Tickets and entry times can be purchased and reserved at zooknoxville.org.