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20+ Things To Do In Knoxville, TN With Your Family

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Are you looking for things to do in Knoxville, TN with your family? We’ve got your list! Local mom, Jordan, shares her family’s favorite things to do in Knoxville, TN. So whether you’re a local looking for a fun new adventure, or you’re traveling to Knoxville with the kids, this list will give you some fabulous ideas for things to do in Knoxville, TN with kids!

The Sunsphere

Alexa, play Rocky Top! Sorry, we know you will be singing that song all day but we couldn’t help ourselves. 

If you’re traveling to Knoxville, Tennessee, home of the Tennessee Volunteers, the iconic Sunsphere, and a fun place to have fun with your family, we’ve got a list of 20 things for you to do in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Before you go on an adventure, here are a few tips: 

  • The sunshine has returned so make sure to pack sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and lots of water to stay hydrated. 
  • Don’t forget your snacks, strollers, and comfortable walking shoes.
  • Check the social media pages of each attraction to be aware of any unexpected closings. 
  • Have fun!
Tortoises at Zoo Knoxville

Zoo Knoxville

Zoo Knoxville is WILDly fun, as they say, and a perfect spot for family adventures. Our family loves to spend a whole day at the zoo during the Summer months because you can walk around and see the animals and then cool off at the splash pad at the end of your walk around the zoo. You can easily spend an entire day here as The zoo offers:

  • Several acres of animal habitats
  • An indoor and outdoor playground
  • A carousel and train you can ride
  • A splash pad (opens every year on Memorial Day)
  • Food vendors
  • Special events
  • Birthday parties 
  • And so much more
  • Zoo Knoxville is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. 

Address: 3500 Knoxville Zoo Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee 37914


  • Adult tickets:  $26.95 
  • Children ages 3-12: $21.95
  • Seniors ages 65+: $21.95
  • College student ticket ( must present student ID and buy ticket at gate): $21.95
  • Children 2 and under free
  • Active Military and Veterans: free

Follow Zoo Knoxville’s Facebook Page for more details. 

Zoo Knoxville in Knoxville, TN

Check out the Kidding Around Review of Zoo Knoxville! We have a full guide to help you plan your best trip.

Muse Knoxville 

Muse Knoxville is a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) children’s museum. My kids love the art exhibit where they can create any craft they can imagine and it works out for me because I don’t have to worry about cleaning up the mess! They offer: 

  • A Planetarium 
  • 14+ exhibits to explore
  • Outdoor play areas 
  • Gift shop 
  • Special events 
  • Birthday parties 
  • They are open Tuesday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm

Address: 516 N. Beaman St, Knoxville, TN 37914


  • General admission (ages 1-64): $12
  • Reduced cost admission: $6 
  • Senior citizens (65+), Tennessee educators with valid ID, military & guests of military personnel with valid ID, members, and children under age 1: free 

Follow Muse Knoxville’s Facebook page for more details. 

Knoxville Children’s Theatre

The Knoxville Children’s Theatre is a great place to enjoy a show with your family. They perform a new show every month. You can purchase tickets on their website and select your preferred showtime. They sell refreshments at the front desk for their shows.

We had so much fun watching the Three Little Pigs at the Knoxville Children’s Theatre. If you want a seat close to the stage, make sure you get there early so you can grab your snacks, use the bathroom, and then enjoy the show!

Here are the plays showing by month for the remainder of 2024:

  • May 3rd-19th: Little Women
  • June 7th-23rd: Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • July 12th-28th: Cinderella 
  • August 7th-25th: Tom Sawyer
  • September 13th-29th: Magic Treehouse: Dinos Before Dark 
  • October 25th-November 10th: Beowulf: The First Avenger

Address: 109 E. Churchwell Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37917
Cost: Tickets are $12-$15 each and can be purchased online 

Follow Knoxville Children’s Theatre’s Facebook Page for more details.

Visit The Sunsphere 

When visiting Knoxville, you must visit the iconic Sunsphere that is located in World’s Fair Park. The Sunsphere was built back in 1982 for the World’s Fair. When you go inside the Sunsphere you can enjoy an amazing view of Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains. 

  • They are open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm
  • Saturdays 9 am to 5 pm 
  • Sundays 12 pm to 4 pm 
  • Your ticket is for a 30-minute visit 
  • NOTE: The Sunsphere observation deck is closed daily from 1:30 to 2:30 pm excluding Sundays.
  • World’s Fair Park does not have parking on-site. You must park in a parking garage. 
  • They are handicap accessible as the elevators can take you to the observation deck.
  • There is a gift shop.

Address: 810 Clinch Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee 


  • Adults & Children 12+: $5
  • Children 12 and under: $1
  • You can purchase tickets online or at the base of the Sunsphere 

Follow The Sunsphere’s Facebook page for more details. 

Knoxville Museum of Art

Knoxville Museum of Art is located in World’s Fair Park and features contemporary and historical art pieces from the East Tennesee region. They host events often for the community to participate in.

  • They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday 1 pm to 5 pm. Closed Mondays

Address: 1050 World’s Fair Park, Knoxville, Tennessee 37916
Cost: Admission is free 

Follow Knoxville Museum of Art on their Facebook page for more details. 

Explore Market Square 

Market Square is nestled in downtown Knoxville and a perfect spot to enjoy a meal, shop, enjoy dessert, splash in the splash pad, and enjoy the sounds of the city. There are several restaurants on Market Square including, Emilia, Not Watson’s Kitchen & Bar, Soccer Taco, Ruby Sunshine, and Tupelo Honey. There are also shops including Urban Outfitters, Tree of Life Salon & Spa, and Rocket Fizz. 

My favorite restaurant for date night is Emilia but if you want a great spot for your family to enjoy a meal, Myrtle’s Chicken & Beer is great!

After you eat dinner, you have to walk over to Gay Street and enjoy ice cream at Cruze Farm Dairy! They have so many fun ice cream cone options for kids and a really fun seating area.

  • Take a stroll after dinner through Krutch Park which is located in Market Square. 
  • Market Square is open Monday through Sunday 24 hours but shops are open according to their own individual hours. 
  • Local parking garages close to Market Square: Market Square Garage, Langley Garage, & Locust Street Garage. Parking is free on nights and weekends.
  • The Market Square Farmer’s Market is a seasonal open-air market that lines the street every Wednesday morning from 10 am to 1 pm starting on May 1st to November 20th, 2024 and they are open on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 1 pm starting on May 4th to November 23rd.

Address: Market Square, Knoxville, Tennessee 37902
Cost: Free
Visit Downtown Knoxville’s Website for more information. 

Cruze Farm Dairy 

Cruze Farm Dairy has several locations in East Tennessee. The downtown Knoxville location is located on Gay Street near the Tennessee Theatre. Their ice cream experience is unforgettable and its locally made at Cruze Dairy Farm. My kids love enjoying the chocolate ice cream cone dipped in rainbow sprinkles and sitting in the seating area to beat the summer heat.

  • They are open:
    • Monday through Wednesday from 12 pm to 9:30 pm 
    • Thursday through Sunday from 12 pm to 10 pm
  • They have inside dining at the downtown location. 
  • There is a parking garage directly in front of Cruze Farm’s downtown location. 
  • They sell merchandise and fresh milk for you to purchase.

Address: 445 S Gay St #3, Knoxville, TN 37902
Visit Cruze Farm’s Website for more details. 

Tennesse Theatre

After your ice cream break, catch a show in the iconic Tennessee Theatre located on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville. The theatre offers many shows throughout the year. 

  • Box office is open Monday through Friday 10 am to 3 pm and closed on Saturdays and Sundays. 
  • You can tour the theatre by selecting a tour ticket on their website or request a private tour if you have 10+ participants. 
  • Shows and show times vary according to the schedule. 

Address: 604 South Gay Street, Knoxville, TN 37902
Visit The Tennessee Theatre’s website to book your show.

Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

When driving around Downtown Knoxville, you might notice a big basketball on the roof of a large building. That’s the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and it is the largest basketball in the world. You can take a tour of the facility, learn about famous women’s basketball players & coaches, and try your hand at basketball on one of the courts. 

  • They are open every Spring/Summer starting May 1st to August 31st from 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday. 
  • They are open in the Fall/Winter starting September 1st to April 30th from 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday. 

Address: 700 Hall of Fame Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee 37915

  • Adults: $7.95
  • Seniors (62+): $5.95
  • Youth (6-15): $5.95
  • Youth under 5: Free
  • Group discounts available 

Visit The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Website to plan your visit.

Neyland Stadium 

You can tour the iconic Neyland Stadium while visiting Knoxville. Home of the Tennessee Vols, Neyland is the 6th largest college football venue in the United States. They offer 60-minute tours of the facility. 

  • They are open Monday through Thursday ONLY.
  • Tours are only offered at 10 am and you must pre-book online.
  • No walk-ups are allowed as booking is limited. 
  • Tour check-in is at Gate-21 Plaza at Neyland.
  • Parking is available at Volunteer Hall Garage located at 1525 White Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37916 and the cost is $1 per 30 minutes. 

Address: 1235 Phillip Fulmer Way SW, Knoxville, TN, 37996

  • Adults are $20 
  • Children (13 and under) are $10
  • For large groups please call the office at 865-974-1205

Visit Neyland Stadium’s Website to book your experience. 

Knoxville Ice Bears Hockey Team 

If you’re visiting Knoxville in the fall, you can enjoy a Knoxville Ice Bears hockey game. Their season runs from fall to early spring each year. They offer an electric experience that is sure to keep your family entertained. The Ice Bears have a kids zone, concessions, merchandise to buy, and plenty of photo opportunities with their mascot Chilly Bear. 

My kids are particularly sensitive to loud noises but we didn’t have an issue at this hockey game. It is loud when the fun music plays but not overbearing. However, if you have little ones who are sensitive to noise, take headphones with you. Don’t forget to buy popcorn and enjoy the kids’ fun zone before the game ends!

  • They are open seasonally starting in the fall of 2024

Address: Knoxville Civic Coliseum, 500 Howard Baker Jr Drive, Knoxville, TN 37915
Cost: Tickets start at $15+
Visit the Knoxville Ice Bears website to learn more. 

Tennessee Smokies Baseball-MOVING To Knoxville Soon

If you love baseball, the Tennessee Smokies baseball team (a minor league team) is a quick drive outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. The stadium is currently located in Kodak, Tennessee but they are building a brand new stadium in Knoxville that is set to open in 2025. A Smokies game is fun for the family as they have activities for kids, food vendors, fun events, and more.

We love getting to the game right as the gate opens so we can take advantage of the kid’s activities and grab dinner at the Batter’s Box Bar & Grill. The cheeseburger and fries are amazing!

  • A game day schedule is available on their website. 
  • Get to the game early to get a good parking spot. 
  • Some of the stadium is shaded but take a hat and sunscreen just in case.
  • Batter’s Box Bar & Grill is a family favorite! Their burgers & fries are amazing!

Address: 3540 Line Drive, Kodak, TN 37764
Cost: General admission starts at $11 a ticket 
Visit The Tennessee Smokies’ Website to purchase tickets and learn about their promotions


Ijams Nature Center 

Ijams Nature Center is an urban nature park right outside of downtown Knoxville that features over 10 miles of trails perfect for hiking, walking, biking, and bird-watching. They also offer swimming, climbing, natural playgrounds, canoe rentals, and more. My kids especially love the natural playgrounds and looking at the indoor animal exhibit.

  • Grounds are open daily from 8 am to dusk. 
  • The visitor center is open Sunday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm and Saturdays from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • Bathrooms are located in the visitor center. 
  • Admission is free but donations are appreciated. 
  • Parking is $5 per car per day.
  • Ijams is dog-friendly but dogs must be on a leash and you must clean up after them. No dogs are allowed in the visitor center.
  • They have a gift shop, hallway art gallery, and an exhibit hall with some animals on display that you will find in the park.
  • Ijams offers many educational opportunities including field trips, homeschool opportunities, camps, nature preschool, and more.
  • You can rent their facility for birthday parties, weddings, meetings, retreats, and more.
  • Don’t forget bug spray, a towel if you plan to swim, comfortable tennis shoes or sandals as you will walk a lot, and water.

Address: 2915 Island Home Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee 37920
Cost: Admission is free but donations are always welcome. Parking is $5 per car per day.
Follow Ijams Nature Center on their Facebook page for more details.

Sir Goony’s Family Fun Center

Located in Farragut, Tennessee, about 35 minutes from downtown Knoxville, is Sir Goony’s Family Fun Center. They have paintball, a splash zone, a mini-golf course, and golf carts. Sir Goony’s also offers birthday party packages. 

  • They are open year-round (weather permitting):
  •  Monday through Thursday 12 pm to 8 pm
  • Fridays from 12 pm to 9 pm
  • Saturdays 10 am to 9 pm
  • Sundays 12 pm to 8 pm
  • If you reserve the park for a party, they can open at any time for your event. 

Address: 10925 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37934
Cost: Each attraction in the park is priced separately depending on how long you stay.
Follow Sir Goony’s Family Fun Center on their website for pricing details.

Main Event

At Main Event Knoxville, you and your family can enjoy bowling, gravity ropes, laser tag, arcade games, billiards, and good food.

  • They are open: 
    • Mondays 11 am to 1 am
    • Tuesdays through Thursdays 11 am to 12 am
    • Friday 11 am to 2 am
    • Saturdays 9 am to 2 am
    • Sundays 11 am to 12 am 
  • You can book and purchase your activities online. 

Address: 9081 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37923
Cost: You can book your activities on their website.
Follow Main Event Knoxville on their website to book your activities. 

Bijou Theatre & The Bistro at the Bijou

Catch a performance and a meal at the famous Bijou Theatre in Downtown Knoxville. They have a wide variety of music and performance art showings each year.

  • They are a cashless venue
  • No large backpacks, purses, or duffel bags are allowed. Clear bags are not required but all bags are subject to be searched by security upon entry
  • They have a concession stand and on-site bistro 
  • Tickets and showtime are subject to the performance schedule 

Address: 803 South Gay Street, Knoxville, Tennessee 37902
Cost: Tickets start at $25 
Visit The Bijou Theatre’s Website for more details 

Navitat Knoxville 

At Navitat Knoxville you can enjoy one of their 6 adventure trails with your family. They offer zip-lining, swings, nets, climbing, bridges, and more. They are located in Ijams Nature Center near downtown Knoxville. 

  • They are open: 
    • Mondays, Wednesdays Thursdays, and Sundays from 10 am to 7 pm
    • Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 am to 10 pm
  • They have two ticket options (a daytime ticket and a nighttime ticket) that include all of the adventures in the park.
  • You must be 7+ years old and weigh between 30-265 pounds to participate.
  • An adult is required to attend with all children under the age of 17.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and closed-toed shoes.
  • Book in advance to be sure you get the date(s) you are visiting. 

Address: 2915 Island Home Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee 37920

  • Tickets for the Treetop Adventure Park are $52 + tax per person
  • Tickets for the Navitat At Night are $65.95 + tax per person 
  • This admission price is the same for adults and children

Visit Navitat Knoxville’s Website to book your excursion.

The Star of Knoxville Tennessee Riverboat 

Take a ride along the Tennessee River in Downtown Knoxville on The Star of Knoxville Riverboat. You can enjoy a lunch, dinner, or sightseeing cruise depending on what you’re looking for. They have several cruise options that include a meal and some options that do not include a meal depending on the date you select. 

  • They are open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm
  • Make a reservation in advance. 
  • No dress code is required.
  • Parking is at Calhoun’s on The River on Neyland Drive.
  • Cruises are non-refundable. 

Address: 300 Neyland Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee 37902
Cost: Tickets start at $25 for adults and $15 for children. Pricing depends on the date and type of cruise you select. 
Visit The Tennessee Riverboat’s Website to learn more and book your cruise. 

Maple Hall 

Maple Hall is a boutique bowling alley that offers 11 lanes of bowling, a cocktail lounge, life-sized board games, a full food and drink menu, and more. They are located in Downtown Knoxville. 

  • They are open: 
    • Monday through Thursday from 4 pm to 11 pm
    • Friday from 4 pm to 1:30 am
    • Saturday from 11 am to 1:30 pm
    • Sunday from 11 am to 11 pm
  • You must be 21+ after 9 pm on Friday and Saturday nights to attend.
  • They do not take reservations. 

Address: 414 South Gay Street, Knoxville, TN 37902
Cost: Bowling rates are per lane per hour:

  • Monday through Thursday: $25 per lane per hour 
  • Fridays: $39 per lane per hour
  • Saturdays: 11 am to 4 pm: $25 per lane  per hour, 4 pm to 1:30 am: $39 per lane per hour 
  • Sundays: $25 per lane per hour

Visit Maple Hall’s Website to learn more.

Craft Axe Throwing Downtown Knoxville

Try your hand at axe throwing in Downtown Knoxville at Craft Axe Throwing. You can book your experience (or walk-ups welcome if availability allows), learn a few safety tips from the team, and then have fun throwing axes with friends. There are two locations in Knoxville. 

  • Downtown Knoxville Location Hours: 
    • Mondays through Thursdays from 5 pm to 10 pm 
    • Fridays from 2 pm to 11 pm
    • Saturdays from 1 pm to 11 pm 
    • Sundays from 2 pm to 7 pm 
  • West Knoxville Location Hours: 
    • Closed on Mondays
    • Tuesdays through Thursdays from 5 pm to 9 pm
    • Fridays through Saturdays from 12 pm to 11 pm
    • Sundays from 2 pm to 8 pm
  • Both locations only allow those who are 16+ after 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays


  • Downtown Location: 119 W. 5th Avenue – Suite 150, Knoxville, TN 37917
  • West Knoxville Location: 320 N. Peters Road, Knoxville, TN 37922

Cost: Tickets start at $20 per person
Visit the Craft Axe Throwing website to book your experience

Stay in Knoxville, TN

Where can you stay near Downtown Knoxville? Use the map below to find great hotels, boutique hotels, and vacation rentals near attractions you want to visit.

Through an affiliate relationship with Stay22, Kidding Around earns when you book through this map.

What is your family’s favorite thing to do in Knoxville?

Travel Guide to Tennessee, with information for family friendly vacations.

Discover more adventures in the state of Tennessee!

Kidding Around Travel Guide to Tennessee

Plan Your Best Day at Zoo Knoxville: Things to Know

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If you’re looking for a day of fun in Knoxville, Tennessee, Zoo Knoxville is WILDly fun! You can spend a whole day here and not run out of things to do. In this guide to Knoxville, TN’s zoo, one local mom shares her favorite exhibits, plus tips and things to remember so you’ll have the best visit with your family. Use our guide to plan your trip to the zoo!

About Zoo Knoxville

The 53-acre zoo is in East Knoxville, about 13 minutes from Downtown Knoxville. There are around 1,200 animals to see and learn about throughout the zoo. When we moved to Knoxville, I took my kids to the zoo and was immediately sold on a membership simply because of how much there was to do. We visit several times a month and never tire of spending time here. 

Zoo Knoxville, TN

Stay Near Zoo Knoxville

Coming from out of town? Book a vacation rental or hotel near Zoo Knoxville. Use the map below with options nearby to find the perfect place to stay.

Through an affiliate relationship with Stay22 Kidding Around earns when you book through this map.

Zoo Knoxville Tips & Things to Know

Before you visit, here are a few tips from a frequent Zoo Knoxville visitor: 

Hours, Rules & Ticket Information: 

  • Zoo Knoxville Hours: Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. 
  • Parking is $5 and free for members. Memberships pay off!
  • You can bring your own food & drinks to the zoo but glass containers and straws are not allowed. Or you can enjoy one of their 5 eateries if you don’t want to pack a lunch.
  • Ticket Pricing:
    • Members: Free
    • Adults: $26.95
    • Children (3-12): $21.95
    • Seniors ages 65+: $21.95
    • College Student with ID: $21.95
    • Children 2 and under: Free
    • Active Military & Veterans: Free
  • Firearms are not permitted on Zoo Knoxville grounds.
  • Zoo Knoxville is a vape and smoke-free campus.

Accesibility Feautures in the zoo:

  • Wheelchair, strollers, and scooter rentals start at $12+
  • Sensory bags are located at the front desk
  • Quiet Zones (Located at the Barn Loft & Painted Dog areas)
  • Headphone Zones (Located at the Kid’s Cove, Wee Play Adventure & Safari Splash)
  • There are bathrooms throughout the park with changing stations.

Things to See at the Knoxville Zoo

Now that we’ve covered hours, rules, accessibility, and parking, let’s jump into all the exhibits & fun things to do at Zoo Knoxville. 

What Animals are at Zoo Knoxville? 

Zoo Knoxville has 12 habitats you can enjoy across the zoo. Grab a map of the zoo when you purchase tickets and plan a route that works for you. 

Habitats include: 

The ARC (Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Campus): This newer building is so neat to explore as it features Joe the sloth, lots of turtles, gigantic snakes (even a Reticulated Python), crocodiles, and more! This exhibit is mostly indoors but you can view the turtles outside as well. 

Black Bear Falls: At Black Bear Falls, you can watch the North American Black Bears sleep, play, and interact. There is a large tunnel (resembling a bear cave) that will take you right up to their enclosure so you can get the best view of what they’re up to. This is an indoor/outdoor exhibit.

Boyd Family Asian Trek: Here you can laugh as beloved Georgie the Gibbons monkey swings in his enclosure, watch the Malayan Tigers take their afternoon nap, and admire the many Langurs swinging across their enclosure. 

Chimp Ridge: This habitat is solely for the beautiful & majestic Chimpanzees. This enclosure is large and contains several viewing areas depending on where the chimps are hanging out for the day. 

Clayton Family Kid’s Cove: This habitat contains many farm animals that you would find on a farm. The Kids Cove contains turkeys, raccoons, goats, beavers, guinea hogs, and more. This habitat also includes a small wading stream (best for toddlers), the Clayton Cabin playground, a large sandbox, and animal interactions. 

Clayton Otter Creek: This habitat might be my favorite. You can watch the North American River Otters splash and play in their large water habitat. They are very active and are a popular exhibit at Zoo Knoxville. 

Gorilla Valley: Gorilla Valley is another large habitat that houses beautiful Western Lowland Gorillas. They like to hang out in their indoor enclosure but often run through their large open-air enclosure.

Grasslands Africa: A safari in Knoxville? Yes! You can see elephants, giraffes, white rhinos, and zebras! This area is all open-air and the animals are usually easily visible. 

Pilot Flying J Wee Play Adventure: Here your preschool & elementary-aged kiddos can play on the indoor playground surrounded by a Komodo dragon, lizards, snakes, and more. This area features a sandbox, slide, and baby playspace. 

The Boyd Family Red Panda Village: This habitat features fuzzy and sleepy red pandas. They like to sleep high up in their nets in the trees so be sure to look up when you visit. 

Tiger Forest: This habitat is solely for the Malayan Tigers. Zoo Knoxville has a breeding facility for the endangered Malayan tigers.

Valley of The Kings: Here you can see the African Lions and Baboons. They are in two separate enclosures located near the Clayton Safari Splash Pad. 

Clayton Safari Splash Pad

During the spring & summer months, you can cool off after a long walk around the zoo at Clayton Safari Splash Pad. This is included in your admission ticket so no need to pay extra! They are opening on May 17th, 2024 this year and typically stay open until Labor Day each year. This area offers a gift shop, changing areas, and picnic tables to sit and watch your kids splash. 

More Things to Do At Zoo Knoxville

Additional Fun Activities: 

  • Take a ride on the carousel located near the Clayton Family Kid’s Cove. Rides are $4 for visitors and $2 for annual pass holders.
  • Zip through the trees on the Soaring Eagle Zipline. This is a tandem zip ride. Single rides start at $13 per rider.
  • Take a spin on the Zoo Choo Train. Rides are $4 per ride.
  • They offer animal encounters (find the schedule on the Zoo Knoxville website).
  • Adult & child zoo camps available 
Tortoises at Zoo Knoxville

New & Notable in 2024

Planet Predator: This new exhibit will be available starting on May 1st, 2024, and will run until October 31st, 2024. You can see several prehistoric predators including an animatronic snake, dinosaur, and more. This is included with your admission. 

You can find a calendar of events, ticket information, and more on Zoo Knoxville’s website

We hope you have fun at Zoo Knoxville and would love to know what you loved most about the zoo!

Zoo Knoxville
3500 Knoxville Zoo Drive, Knoxville, TN 37914

Building Tomorrow’s Families: The Thornwell Mission & How You Can Help

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Have you heard about the family program offered by Thornwell? Maybe you’re not even sure what Thornwell is? Fear not, we have all the details. In short, Thornwell offers a variety of support for families in Greenville, SC, through academic programs, therapy services, and foster care programs. Read on. We’ll tell you all about what they offer families, plus how you can get involved and help them with their mission. Thank you to Thornwell for sponsoring this article!

About Thornwell

Over 150 years ago,  Dr. William Plumer Jacobs, a young Presbyterian Minister in Clinton, South Carolina, brought in ten children who became orphans after the Civil War and started Thornwell, a Christian ministry dedicated to serving children and families in need. Dr. Jacobs and his wife Mary began Thornwell in the fall of 1875 with this simple mission statement: Building Tomorrow’s Families. Although our systems and society have changed, Thornwell still proudly serves children and families in the Upstate today while holding fast to their values. 

“We provide a continuum of care, as we call it, at Thornwell which is where we meet families where they are at, with what they need, at the time they come to us,” shared Kaley Lindquist, the Program Marketing and Recruitment Specialist at Thornwell. 

How Thornwell Helps

Thornwell utilizes three core programs to serve families in need in the Greenville community. Through its academic services, therapeutic services, and foster care program Thornwell is building strong families in the Upstate. 


Thornwell strongly believes in equipping children and families. One of the ways they achieve this is through their Read Right Program. This tutoring program and reading curriculum helps students who are struggling to read, gain confidence in their skills and reading comprehension. Meeting weekly with Read Right Tutors has helped many students read at or above their targeted grade level. 


In addition to academic services, Thornwell also provides accessible and affordable therapeutic services for families through its Building Families Program. This Program offers in-house and telehealth therapy for individuals and families. Therapy can be inaccessible and expensive for many families so Thornwell offers free therapy to any foster or adoptive family. They also accept insurance and offer a sliding payment scale for families who do not have insurance but still need therapy services.  

Foster Care

The third core program Thornwell offers is its Foster Care Program which focuses on finding homes for children in need of foster homes in Greenville. “In South Carolina, we currently need around 1800 more foster families to say “yes” to foster care. When a child is taken into foster care they are often taken hours from their school, community, loved ones, and all they have known. This is a huge loss for the child and we want to make the community aware of this crisis happening in our very own backyard,” Lindquist shared. Through Thornwell’s Foster Care Program, they license, equip, and support foster care families. 

How Can You Help?

Even if you are unable to be a foster family, we do believe that everyone can do something to help meet the needs of these families. You can volunteer with us, donate money monthly or with a one-time gift, and attend our special events,” Lindquist said. 

Use the Thornwell links below to get involved and learn more about how you can help. 

Thornwell’s Lush Acres

With these programs successfully serving families, Thornwell also utilizes LushAcres Farms, another part of their ministry. Once a working farm, LushAcres now exists to offer fun for foster families and the community through special events. LushAcres includes a barnyard full of animals, a jump pad, gem mining, a farmers market with local goods, and more. All proceeds made at LushAcre’s Farm directly benefit Thornwell. 

For more information, contact Thornwell at 864.938.2100 | Clinton, SC | info@thornwell.org.