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Zoo Knoxville once again breaks attendance records

  zoo knoxville
  Zoo Knoxville. Image by Jeaneane Payne

KNOXVILLE -- Zoo Knoxville had 495,055 visitors enter its gates in 2017. According to zip code data, more than 255,000 of those visitors came from four continents and as far away as New Zealand. In 2016 the zoo set an attendance record of 21,376 more people than the year before.

Travel by foreign tourists impacted the local economy by $28 million.

“With the opening of Tiger Forest at the Boyd Family Asian Trek in 2017, we completely changed the way our guests experienced the zoo with the most immersive habitat for tigers and cranes in the country,” said Zoo Knoxville President and CEO Lisa New. “These beautiful and complex habitats emphasize our commitment to saving these animals from extinction as part of a collaborative effort with accredited zoos nationwide. I believe our record attendance reflects the desire our visitors have to connect with wildlife and their support of the conservation work being done here in Knoxville.”

“As an anchor destination for the Magnolia Avenue Corridor Plan, we are happy about bringing more people to East Knoxville,” said Pete Claussen, Chair of Zoo Knoxville’s Board of Directors. “Zoo Knoxville continues to be Knoxville’s most visited attraction, and it is our strategic goal to continue to bring more tourists to Knox County.”

Zoo Knoxville is open year-round. October was the highest attended month with 76,331 visitors.

In March 2018, Zoo Knoxville will open new habitats for silvered-leaf langurs and white-handed gibbons in the Boyd Family Asian Trek that will allow guests to explore their habitats on multiple levels.

Zoo Knoxville is a nonprofit entity situated on 53 wooded acres just east of downtown Knoxville. Zoo Knoxville features exhibits of wild animals in natural habitats and is world renowned for its efforts in conservation and species survival. Zoo Knoxville is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is committed to the highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics, conservation, and education. Knoxville’s largest attraction, the zoo is open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Currently, the zoo is open from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. daily. Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before the zoo closes. For more information visit

Published February 26, 2018

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