A Zoo You Must See!The Memphis Zoo is definitely worth the drive! No matter where we go on vacation, we always take a day to visit that city's zoo.
From Florida to Hawaii we have visited zoos across the U.S. By far, my favorite zoo is in Memphis, TN.
The city of Memphis may be home of the Blues, Beale Street, Elvis, Graceland, Sun Studios and the Mississippi River Bluffs, but I would add the Memphis Zoo to their list of places you must see when you visit. As a matter of fact, if you ask me, it should be at the top of the list!
If you find yourself traveling through Mississippi, Arkansas or Tennessee, I would highly recommend a side trip to Memphis for a day at the zoo.
|Entrance of the Memphis Zoo at Christmas|
Entrance to the Memphis Zoo
Before you even buy your ticket and enter the zoo, you are greeted by Egyptian style architecture which is in and of itself a vision. There are large concrete animals in rows out front where we saw parents taking pictures of their children proudly "riding" the animals.
This is your first indication of the adventure that awaits you inside the gates of the Memphis Zoo.
Tigers in Cat Country at the Memphis Zoo
Cat Country at the Memphis Zoo
|White Bengal Tiger Photo by Sylvestermouse|
You Can Learn More about Bengal Tigers at Amazing Wild Animals
Cat Country is the home of some of the most beautiful specimen of big cats. In addition to tigers, lions, leopards, cheetahs, and jaguar, this is also the area for a red panda, a gorgeous lynx and a family of meerkats, which are my daughter's personal favorite.
If you want to go on an African Safari for a reasonable price, this is the place for you!
|Meerkat Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse|
Click Here for Meerkat Facts & Photos
Animals of the Night at the Memphis Zoo
There are so many wonderful creatures in this house. This exhibit is full of nocturnal animals. I doubt we even saw them all. In addition to the bats, they have an Aardvark, a Mole Rat, a few Porcupine, several different species of Loris, a Sloth, a Wombat, a Cuscus and a lot of other night time beauties. I have never seen a better nocturnal exhibit anywhere.
The Komodo Dragon at the Memphis Zoo
|Komodo Dragon Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse|
This dude is huge! He made me feel like I was on exhibit for him instead of the reverse.
While the Komodo Dragon is not normally dangerous to humans, it was obvious to me that he eats mammals. Ironically, I was not the least bit intimidated by any of the big cats or the bears, but this guy scared the dickens out of me.
But don't worry, he has a gigantic fan club. I'm just not a member.
Tropical Bird House at the Memphis Zoo
This is another house where we could spend hours. So many beautiful birds and so little time.
The colors on these birds are so bright & vivid.
Seeing them up close truly is better than seeing them through binoculars. In spite of the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them up close, I honestly had the desire to set them all free, but logically I know that they are healthy and well cared for by their keepers at the Memphis Zoo.
While there are lots of gorgeous birds behind glass enclosures for one to view up close, the fabulous attraction in this house is the vast open room with trees and water literally filled with birds. The sounds and sights in this area are breathtaking.
This really is a birdwatchers fantasy come true!
Hippos at the Memphis Zoo
Hippos can be viewed daily at the Memphis Zoo. These awesome Hippos recently moved into their new home, "Zambezi River Hippo Camp"
This section of the zoo also features other animals found near the Zambezi River such as the Nile Crocodile and Okapi.
Memphis Zoo guests are able to enjoy seeing hippos both on land and below water.
Did you know that Hippos are considered the deadliest animals in Africa? You can find out why by visiting Amazing Wild Animals!
Aquarium at the Memphis Zoo
This is another building one could explore for hours. The Aquarium is home to 156 species of marine and freshwater organisms from around the world. The Memphis Zoo currently breeds and exhibits two species of cichlid that are extinct in the wild.
If fish, turtles, or aquatic wildlife are your passion, this is the place to be!
Herpetarium at the Memphis Zoo
If I ever lost my son at the zoo, the Herpetarium is where I could find him. This building is literally packed with frogs, spiders, snakes, lizards and small alligators.
While there are plenty of faces crowding around the snakes, I am glad to say that we crowd around the frogs. The colors on frogs are so bright and vivid. It is hard to choose, but I think our favorite would be the Poison Dart Frog.
However, the Memphis Zoo is reknowned for being the first zoo to successfully breed the endangerd Mississippi Gopher Frog. The Memphis Zoo has produced 93 Mississippi gopher tadpoles, a number nearly matching the 100 frogs still living in the wild.
Penguin Rock, Round Barn & Once Upon a Farm
These are a few areas that little children especially enjoy. My daughter would never allow us to visit a zoo without locating the penquin. She adores the little "tuxedo" babies and believe me, there are plenty of penguin on Penguin Rock.
Close by is the Round Barn, an exhibit of smaller exotic hoofstock and birds. It is the home of the gazelles and warthog.
"Once Upon a Farm" is an exhibit where visitors can learn about the basics of farm life. This area is built to resemble a farm in the 1900's. They even have a working well that pumps up fresh water and everyone can enjoy a ride an old-fashioned train around the exhibit.
China Exhibit at the Memphis Zoo
The Memphis Zoo has built a big, beautiful home for the Giant Panda Bears.
As you enter through the gates of the China exhibit, you follow a path that leads to Ya Ya and Le Le, but long before you get to them, there are huge ponds of fish, a variety of birds, ducks and several other species native to China. There is even a little Otter.
No question the Panda's are fantastic, but the other animals in this "house" are fascinating as well.
|Learn All About the Asian Small-Clawed Otter on AmazingWildAnimals.com|
Primate Canyon at the Memphis Zoo
Primate Canyon is another area that features naturalistic, outdoor exhibits. This large open area is home for a variety of monkeys and apes. Monkeys, Orangutans and Gorillas abound in this exhibit.
Primate Canyon is in the center of the zoo. As a result of its location, you call hear the monkeys howling throughout the park. It opened in 1995 and has been a top favorite of Zoo visitors ever since.
Not only did we see hundreds of butterflies, but my son found a Luna Moth. Because a Luna Moth has such a short life, it is rare to sight one. Clearly, seeing the Luna Moth was the highlight of our visit to the Memphis Zoo.
African Veldt at the Memphis Zoo
The African Veldt is an area dedicated to Giraffes, Rhinos, Zebras, & Elephants.
We were there at just the right time to see the whole Giraffe family. Mother, father & baby giraffe all came out to eat while we were standing in front of their enclosure. While the baby may not be little next to one of us, she was absolutely dwarfed by her parents.
The African Veldt is where the ostrich and the antelope play. Okay, I admit it, this is usually the point where I start singing "home, home on the range." Seriously, you know those little antelope look like deer.
Oh, well, at least Memphians are accustomed to various styles of musical talent and my family learned decades ago to either laugh with me or to ignore me.
|Grant's Gazelles & Bongo Antelopes (laying down)|
World of Waterfowl
This area is a more peaceful area than the rest of the zoo. It is aptly named because there are indeed a world of waterfowl!
There are two bridges to walk across and watch beautiful Swans,
Pink Flamingos or a variety of geese and ducks swimming or view a Crane just standing around.
The area around the waterfowl lake is lovely too. It would make a great background spot for photos. I have often imagined a wedding party enjoying this wonderful opportunity for outstanding and original pictures. Or, perhaps, an anniversary party.
Like all of the photos in this article, the picture of the White-Naped Crane is from my own personal photo album. I was thrilled to be able to snap this shot!
Northwest Passage at the Memphis Zoo
|He is Almost Close Enough to Touch!|
The Polar Bears are beautiful. Who would ever imagine such a large bear could be so graceful when it swims? These giant animals seem so playful and cuddly when you have a thick piece of Plexiglas between you and them. What a magnificent way to enjoy the company of bears.
Northwest Passage is also the home for the sea lion observation bubble and a 500-seat amphitheater for daily sea lion shows.
Outside the viewing area, are the Bald Eagles and the Ravens. Both of my children "talked" to the Ravens and they answered. They are beautiful, majestic birds with attitude.
This is also the area of the Black Bear. I loved this beautiful, big pawed, pacing baby! I would swear he was waving to me every time he lifted his big paw to turn around.
I've been back to the Memphis Zoo several times since this photo was taken. I always go by to visit this guy. I think he is probably my favorite animal in the zoo.
Teton Trek at the Memphis Zoo
Home of the real Memphis Grizzly!
In February, 2008, the Memphis Zoo began construction of the zoo's gorgeous Teton Trek exhibit. The four-acre Teton Trek exhibit is now home for animals native to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem such as Grizzly Bears, Elk, Gray Wolves, Trumpeter Swans and Sandhill Crane.
I was among the guests at the Teton Trek in the Memphis Zoo the very first week it opened. Let me tell you, it is the most beautiful zoo exhibit I have ever seen, arguably the most beautiful in the world!
The entrance to the Teton Trek lodge is not only inviting, it is charming with a rustic appeal befitting it's occupants. A lovely 25 foot geyser greets visitors and even allows children, or adults, to cool off in it's spray and surrounding pool.
The Great Lodge, itself, is a two-story, 5000 sq. foot multi-purpose building suited for a gathering or dinner party and features a fabulous large fireplace. A spacious upper mezzanine provides a photo and artifact area that leads to a outside deck for animal viewing at a safe distance.
For the truly adventurous, you are free to walk around the actual grounds via the boardwalk. It is extremely safe, so fear not! Don't miss the opportunity to walk through the entire park.
Read More about the Teton Trek at the Memphis Zoo
- Teton Trek at the Memphis Zoo
I absolutely love zoos! My all time favorite zoo is in Memphis, TN. They have been improving and adding new addtiions to the Memphis Zoo for years. Every time I go, it is like a new adventure. Their most recent addition, called Teton Trek,...
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© 2009 Cynthia Sylvestermouse - This Article was originally published on a website that has closed.
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