Zoo Knoxville celebrates 75th with contest

Susan EspirituOur Town Neighbors

A trip to our Zoo Knoxville is always a favorite memory for most of us with our children or grandchildren and I even remember my own mother braving a ride on an elephant some 40 years ago in her mid-sixties.

Zoo Knoxville is celebrating 75 years, having been founded in 1948 in the “Birthday Park Zoo” in Chilhowee Park when an American alligator named “Al” came to live there. The addition of a barn to house Old Diamond, an African elephant left behind by the circus in 1963 continued the beginnings with 1970 seeing Guy Smith becoming the acting director of the zoo.

The zoo’s evolution accelerated under the leadership of directors Ted Beaty, Patrick Roddy and Jim Vlna over the following decades.

Under the leadership of CEO and president Lisa New, the zoo has executed a visionary master plan that has transformed the campus and continues to be a leader in conservation both locally and globally.

To celebrate the 75th anniversary, the zoo personnel invite the community to celebrate by sharing memories from their visits over the years and Zoo Knoxville will feature favorite stories on its website including social media accounts with one participant chosen at random to go on a VIP behind-the-scenes experience with the Zoo’s iconic red pandas.

“Our success is because of the support we receive in Knoxville and East Tennessee,” said Lisa New. “That is why it is so important to mark the 75th anniversary of our founding by including the moments and memories of our guests over the years. There is a lot of pride and ownership in Zoo Knoxville, and rightfully so. The community has supported the vision to make our zoo a world-class facility.”

For more from Lisa New, hear her interview: Lisa New Interview on 75th Anniversary

To participate in sharing Zoo stories, photos and memories, patrons can submit those via the form on the website submission form, or on social media using the hashtags #ZooKnox and #Zoo75. Follow the Zoo on Instagram TikTok and Facebook @zooknoxville.

Submissions can be shared through September 1, 2023.

A winner for the behind-the-scenes experience will be chosen at random and announced on September 4, 2023.

For more information visit Zoo Knoxville.

All of us have a story and I want to tell yours! Send them to susan@knoxtntoday.com


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