Thinking about visiting the Chattanooga Zoo on your family vacation to Chattanooga, TN? If you are looking for a travel destination away from the tourist-heavy beach and a place with tons to do as see you should check out Chattanooga, TN. Kidding Around’s Melanie recently visited Chattanooga, Tennessee, for family fun. During her trip, she enjoyed a visit to the Chattanooga Zoo and is sharing the things you’ll need to know about a trip there with your family.
Looking for more travel ideas in Chattanooga? Here’s our Guide to Vacationing With Kids in Chattanooga, TN, with everything you need to plan a great family vacation in Chattanooga, TN.
I’ve wanted to visit Chattanooga for a while, so we packed up the car and made the four-hour drive to this riverside town in Tennessee. We found more to enjoy than we could fit in the three-day trip. The hotel we stayed at could’ve provided a spirited adventure for the entire time. Not to mention the trails, and beautiful swimming holes to enjoy!
On our last day in Chattanooga, we headed towards the Zoo located in Warner Park. In addition to the zoo, the city park also includes a playground, splash pad area, pool, and sports areas. The City of Chattanooga takes a lot of pride in its public green spaces, and this park is no exception. If you have the time during your stay, check out the splash pad! It looks like a lot of fun!
Find a place to stay in Chattanooga, TN. This article contains Stay22 affiliate links.
Things to Know When Visiting the Chattanooga Zoo
The Zoo parking is free, which is a bonus in the city where you will pay nearly everywhere you need to park your car. If you have a Greenville Zoo Membership, here’s where the reciprocity program I’m always talking about will come in handy. If you have a Greenville zoo membership, you can purchase the tickets at a 50% discount at the gate (it will also get you a discount at the Tennessee Aquarium). Everyone else will need to pre-purchase tickets online prior to arrival.
The zoo is a little bigger than The Greenville Zoo and will take about two hours to explore. Plan to arrive no later than 2 pm, so you can see everything you’d like to before they close at 5 pm.
The Chattanooga Zoo Sections
Once you’re inside the zoo, the Giraffe enclosure will be straight ahead. The zoo is split up into seven sections.
Makazi Ya Twiga
● Giraffe Feedings $5: A limited number of tickets will be sold Friday – Sunday for feeding encounters. They will only be from 11 am to 12 pm and are sold on a first come first serve basis. If the giraffes aren’t outside, be sure to follow the path around the enclosure to the indoor viewing area in the paddock.
● African birds
● There will be a new expansion soon, including more Giraffe viewing areas, lions, warthogs, and more.
● Snow Leopard – You can watch them from home with the zoo’s webcam.
● Red Panda
● Bali Mynah Bird
Warner Park Ranch
● Petting Zoo – You get to pet goats! That’s worth Zoo admission right there.
● Dromedary Camel Rides $6
Rides are given Wednesday – Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm, weather permitting. Must be 38” tall to ride unaccompanied, the ride is for kids ages 3-12 only.
● Highland Cattle
Walkin’ The Tracks
● Cougar – Board the “Cougar Express” to find shade and watch the Cougar in its enclosure. Be prepared, at the right end of the train car there is a place where, if it’s so inclined, the cat can hop up and get a closer look at the humans.
● Praire Dog
Deserts & Forests
● Fennec Fox
● Komodo Dragon
● Meerkat – these cute creatures made famous by the Lion King movie, have such personality! I could have stayed all day watching them interact with each other. You can watch them from home with the zoo’s webcam.
● Reptiles & Amphibians
● Aviary – This was my children’s favorite part. We discovered that the Macaws will say “Hello” in response to you if you say it. Get your camera ready and surprise your kids!
● Spider Monkeys
● La Selva Amazonica Exhibit (Amazon Rain Forest)
Additional Offerings and Experiences at the Zoo
The Chattanooga Zoo also offers activities that cost in addition to the entrance ticket price.
- Zoo Choo Train $4:
This trackless train gives guests a ride around the park.
- The Zoo Carousel $2
Currently CLOSED for renovation
- Wild Animal Encounters $75+
Online reservations are required for these experiences.
Encounters must be booked 48 hours in advance.
The 30-minute encounters only allow for two people at a time.
The minimum age is 7 and anyone under 13, must be accompanied by a paying adult.
There are 8 different animal encounters to choose from that range in price from $75 to $205.
Check the availability of the animal encounter you are interested in, some are not always available.
*Masks are required for this experince as of July 2021. The most up to date Zoo Covid-19 related info can be found online.
- Wild Burger Restaurant
The on-site restaurant is open daily, weather permitting. There are also snack carts throughout the zoo.
Accomidations For Sensory Sensetive Guests
The Chatanooga zoo has partnered with Kulture City, providers of sensory bags for attractions and venues. They have been designated a “Sensory Inclusive Facility”, and guests of all ages can utilize the following things free of charge during their visit:
- Weighted lap pads
- Sensory bags
(Noise canceling headphones, 3 fidget toys, an ID lanyard)
- A quiet zone
located near the alpacas in the Warner Park Ranch area of the zoo
The Chattanooga Zoo
Starts at $9.95 for children age 3-12
Starts at $12.95 for those 13+
*prices subject to change without notice
*One Adult Admission to the Chattanooga Zoo was provided to facilitate this review. The author purchased children’s tickets and all opinions are her own, and genuine.