The Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee Lets You Feed Giraffes and Meet Red Pandas

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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 and see, you should check out Chattanooga, TN. We have everything you need to know about the Chattanooga Zoo and everything you need to know before your family trip there.

Things to see while visiting the Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee.

The Ultimate Guide to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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 into 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 Chattanooga Zoo at 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. Pre-purchasing will also save you $2 per ticket.

So, if you have little kids on your family vacation, I am sure you are wondering “How long do people spend at the Chattanooga Zoo?” 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.

Barn animals at Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee.

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. You can find a downloadable zoo map on the Chattanooga Zoo website.

Makazi Ya Twiga

  • Giraffe Feedings $5: A limited number of tickets will be sold Wednesday – Sunday for feeding encounters. They will only be from 11 am to 3 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.

Himalayan Passage

  • Snow Leopard – You can watch them from home with the zoo’s webcam.
  • Red Panda
  • Gibbon
  • Bali Mynah Bird

Warner Park Ranch

  • Petting Zoo – You get to pet goats! That’s worth Zoo admission right there.
  • Highland Cattle
  • Dromedary Camel
  • Miniature Horse
  • Domestic Goat
  • Alpaca

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.
  • Bobcat
  • Coyote
  • Prairie Dog

Deserts & Forests

  • Fennec Fox
  • Komodo Dragon
  • Meerkats – 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

Gombe Forest

  • Chimpanzees
  • 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!

Corcovado Jungle

The research outpost tent at the Chattanooga Zoo.

Additional Offerings and Experiences at the Chattanooga Zoo

The Chattanooga Zoo also offers activities that cost in addition to the entrance ticket price.

  • Zoo Choo Train is $4/$5
    This trackless train gives guests a ride around the park.
  • The Zoo Carousel is $2/$3
  • Wild Animal Encounters $75+
    Online reservations are required for encounter 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. This includes the zoo tours.
    Check the availability of the animal encounter you are interested in, some are not always available.
    *Masks are required for this experience.
  • Wild Burger Restaurant
    The on-site restaurant is open Wednesday – Sunday from 11 am – 3 pm, weather permitting. There are also snack carts throughout the zoo.

Accommodations For Sensory Sensitive Guests

The Chattanooga 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

You can find more information about the Chattanooga Zoo’s amenities and accessibility programs on the zoo’s website.

Visit the Chattanooga Zoo

The Chattanooga Zoo

Starts at $9.95 for children ages 3-12
Starts at $12.95 for those 13+
There is a discount for purchasing online ahead of time
*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.

SouthEast Travel Guide

For even more ideas on fun family trips, check out our detailed travel guide, with reviews, things to do, and cities to explore!

About the Author
Melanie is a native New Yorker, who landed in the Upstate by way of Florida. She is the mom of two awesome kids, and the three of them love going on adventures!

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