Zoo Knoxville reopening Monday

Zoo Knoxville reopens with new physical distancing protocols in place, during Phase I of COVID-19 reopening plans for Knoxville-Knox County.

Zoo Knoxville is reopening to the public on Monday, with carefully planned protocols to ensure the safety of guests, staff and animals.

The zoo closed to visitors on March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In accordance with the City of Knoxville and Knox County COVID-19 Reopening Phase 1 plan, Zoo Knoxville is open for passive outdoor use only, which means no indoor areas or interactive experiences like rides and animal encounters will be offered at this time. Playground areas, including the splash pad, will also remain closed in this phase.

To control the number of guests in the zoo daily, advance purchase timed entry tickets are required. Circle of Friends members and annual pass holders will continue to receive free admission but will be required to make a reservation online for a timed entry on a specific date.

The zoo has added more than 30 hand sanitizing stations throughout zoo grounds and restaurants have modified their ordering and delivery systems to minimize contact.

Zoo Knoxville is asking all guests to take the safety of other visitors, zoo staff and the animals seriously by following CDC recommendations:

• Wearing a mask or face covering

• Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer stations throughout the zoo frequently

• Maintaining 6 feet of physical distance between groups

• Using ground markings and directional signs to maintain safe distancing in areas where people may gather

• Staying home if you are sick or in a high risk group

“We have been very, very deliberate in our planning,” said President and CEO Lisa New. “We are reopening responsibly so our guests have a safe, secure environment to return to and they can feel confident their safety is our top priority. We also need to keep our staff healthy so the care of our animals is not impacted. We are grateful for the support of our community and we hope we can give our guests the opportunity to experience some feeling of normalcy during this time.”

To show appreciation for the outpouring of care and support during the closure, Zoo Knoxville will offer tickets at a reduced price of $14.95 for adults and $11.95 for children ages 4-12 and seniors over 65. Ages 3 and under are free. Tickets and entry times can be purchased and reserved at zooknoxville.org.