Nashville Zoo at Grassmere: A Must Visit When Coming To Nashville

If you’re planning a trip to Nashville, be sure to add the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere to your must-visit list. This renowned zoo offers a wealth of exciting experiences and activities that are sure to delight visitors of all ages. From up-close encounters with fascinating animals to thrilling rides and interactive exhibits, the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere has something for everyone. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an animal lover, or simply looking for a fun and educational experience, this zoo is a must-visit destination that should not be missed during your time in Nashville.

About Nashville Zoo at Grassmere

Welcome to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere! Located in the heart of Music City, the zoo offers a unique and exciting experience for visitors of all ages. With its fascinating history, diverse exhibits and animals, engaging activities, educational programs, special events, delightful dining options, and numerous visitor services, the Nashville Zoo is a must-visit destination when coming to Nashville.


The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere has a rich history that dates back to the late 19th century. Originally a plant nursery, it transformed into a working farm and eventually a private zoo. In 1990, the property was acquired by the Nashville Zoo, and since then, it has expanded and evolved into the incredible attraction it is today.


Situated on 188 acres of rolling hills, the Nashville Zoo is conveniently located just six miles south of downtown Nashville. The address is 3777 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, the zoo is easily accessible, making it a perfect destination for a day of fun and adventure.

Mission and Values

The Nashville Zoo is dedicated to inspiring a culture of understanding and discovery of the natural world. Their mission is to conserve, educate, and entertain while providing a unique opportunity for visitors to connect with animals and nature. The zoo’s core values include conservation, excellence, education, and integrity, which guide their efforts in promoting wildlife conservation and providing exceptional experiences for all guests.


The Nashville Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). This prestigious accreditation recognizes the zoo’s commitment to high-quality animal care, conservation initiatives, and educational programs. By visiting the Nashville Zoo, you can be assured that you are supporting an institution that meets the highest standards of animal welfare and conservation efforts.

Exhibits and Animals

The Nashville Zoo features a wide variety of exhibits that showcase the diversity of the animal kingdom. From the African Savannah to the White Rhinoceros Exhibit, there is something for everyone to enjoy and learn from.

African Savannah

Step into the African savannah and witness the majestic beauty of giraffes, zebras, and rhinoceroses. The spacious habitat allows these incredible animals to roam freely, providing visitors with a captivating and immersive experience.

Jungle Gym

This interactive playground is the perfect place for children to explore and let their imagination run wild. With climbing structures, slides, and tunnels, the Jungle Gym keeps kids entertained while also teaching them about the natural world and the animals that inhabit it.

Gibbon Islands

Marvel at the agility and playfulness of gibbons as they swing through the trees on Gibbon Islands. These acrobatic primates will captivate you with their joyful energy and entertaining antics.

The Unseen New World

Venture into The Unseen New World and discover the fascinating creatures that live in the dark and mysterious realms of the rainforest. From leafcutter ants to poison dart frogs, this exhibit provides a glimpse into the hidden wonders of the tropical rainforest.

Critter Encounters

Get up close and personal with a variety of animals through the Critter Encounters program. Whether it’s a reptile, bird, or mammal, these interactive experiences allow visitors to touch and learn about these fascinating creatures while under the guidance of knowledgeable zoo staff.

Alligator Cove

Experience the thrill of coming face to face with alligators in the Alligator Cove exhibit. Watch as these formidable predators swim, bask in the sun, and exhibit their natural behaviors in a safe and controlled environment.

Kangaroo Kickabout

Embark on an Australian adventure at the Kangaroo Kickabout exhibit. Walk among kangaroos and wallabies, and experience the unique opportunity to feed and interact with these iconic marsupials.

Flamingo Lagoon

Enter a vibrant world of flamingos at the Flamingo Lagoon. With its stunning display of pink plumes and graceful movements, this exhibit showcases the elegance of these beautiful birds.

Andean Bear Exhibit

Discover the captivating presence of Andean bears, also known as spectacled bears, in their specially designed exhibit. Learn about the conservation efforts being made to protect this endangered species and gain a deeper understanding of their natural habitat.

White Rhinoceros Exhibit

Visit the White Rhinoceros Exhibit and witness the sheer power and size of these magnificent creatures. Learn about the challenges facing rhinoceros populations in the wild and the importance of conservation efforts to ensure their survival.

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere: A Must Visit When Coming To Nashville

Activities and Attractions

Beyond the exhibits, the Nashville Zoo offers a wide range of activities and attractions to enhance your visit and make it a memorable experience for the whole family.

Wild Animal Carousel

Take a spin on the Wild Animal Carousel, where you can choose from beautifully crafted animal figures and immerse yourself in a whirlwind of fun. This classic attraction is sure to bring a smile to both children and adults alike.

Soaring Eagle Zip Line

For those seeking high-flying excitement, the Soaring Eagle Zip Line provides a thrilling adventure through the trees. Strap in and soar above the zoo, taking in breathtaking views as you zip along the designated course.

Jungle Gym Playground

Let your little ones burn off some energy at the Jungle Gym Playground. With its various climbing structures, slides, and swings, this play area offers endless opportunities for active play and exploration.

Shell Station

At the Shell Station, children can become paleontologists for a day. Engage in hands-on activities, examine fossils, and learn about the fascinating world of prehistoric creatures.

Wilderness Express Train

Hop aboard the Wilderness Express Train and embark on a scenic tour around the zoo’s grounds. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride while listening to informative commentary about the animals and exhibits along the way.

Grassmere Historic Home Tour

Take a step back in time with a tour of the Grassmere Historic Home. Explore the rich history of the site and learn about the legacy of the Croft family, who have played a significant role in the development of the zoo.

Story Time

Immerse yourself in the world of animals and nature through captivating storytelling sessions. With engaging tales and interactive elements, Story Time is a favorite among young visitors.

Keeper Talks

Get an insider’s perspective on animal care and conservation by attending one of the zoo’s Keeper Talks. These informative and entertaining sessions provide valuable insights into the daily lives of the animals and the dedicated efforts of the zookeepers.

Animal Shows

Be entertained by the incredible talents of animals at the Nashville Zoo’s animal shows. From birds of prey to sea lions, these shows offer a unique opportunity to witness the natural behaviors of these remarkable creatures while enjoying an engaging performance.

Conservation Initiatives

Discover the various conservation initiatives and research projects undertaken by the Nashville Zoo. From habitat restoration to breeding programs, the zoo is actively working to protect endangered species and promote wildlife conservation both locally and globally.

Education and Learning

The Nashville Zoo is committed to providing educational opportunities that inspire curiosity, foster appreciation for the natural world, and promote conservation values. Through their educational programs, the zoo aims to engage visitors of all ages in meaningful learning experiences.

School and Group Programs

The Nashville Zoo offers a range of programs tailored to meet the educational needs of schools and groups. From guided tours to interactive workshops, these programs provide an immersive and educational experience for students and participants.

Field Trips

Enhance your classroom curriculum with a field trip to the Nashville Zoo. The zoo offers a variety of guided field trip options that align with state standards and provide hands-on learning opportunities for students.

Zoo Camps

Give your child a wild summer experience by enrolling them in one of the Nashville Zoo’s exciting summer camps. These week-long programs offer a unique blend of animal encounters, outdoor exploration, and educational activities that are sure to create lasting memories.


For aspiring zoo professionals, the Nashville Zoo offers internship opportunities that provide hands-on experience in various aspects of zoo operations. From animal care to education and conservation, these internships offer valuable training and mentorship for those looking to pursue a career in the field.

Adult Education

The Nashville Zoo is not just for children. Adults can also indulge in a learning experience through the zoo’s adult education programs. From lectures to workshops, these programs provide a deeper understanding of wildlife conservation and the important role zoos play in preserving biodiversity.

Zoo Explorers

Zoo Explorers is a unique program designed specifically for individuals with developmental disabilities. Through engaging activities and guided experiences, participants can connect with animals and nature in a supportive and inclusive environment.

Animal Behavior Research

The Nashville Zoo actively participates in animal behavior research, contributing to the scientific understanding of various species. By studying animal behavior, the zoo can improve animal care practices and contribute to conservation efforts both within the zoo and in the wild.

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere: A Must Visit When Coming To Nashville

Special Events

The Nashville Zoo hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, offering visitors a chance to experience the zoo in a new and exciting way. From after-hours parties to seasonal celebrations, these events provide fun for the whole family.

Zoovie Nights

Enjoy a movie under the stars at the Nashville Zoo’s Zoovie Nights. Bring your blankets and picnic baskets and settle in for an evening of family-friendly entertainment surrounded by the sights and sounds of the zoo.


Experience the magic of Zoolumination, a dazzling light show that transforms the zoo into a winter wonderland. Marvel at the stunning displays, take a stroll along the illuminated paths, and create cherished memories with loved ones during this enchanting holiday event.


Celebrate Easter at the Nashville Zoo’s Eggstravaganzoo. Join in the egg hunts, meet the Easter Bunny, and enjoy festive activities and entertainment throughout the day.

Boo at the Zoo

Get into the Halloween spirit at Boo at the Zoo. Dress up in your favorite costume, trick-or-treat among the exhibits, and enjoy festive games and activities that are sure to make this a Halloween celebration to remember.

Zoo Run Run

Join the Nashville Zoo for a wild run or walk through the zoo’s scenic paths during the Zoo Run Run. This family-friendly event promotes fitness and wellness while raising funds for animal conservation.

Red, White & Zoo

Celebrate Independence Day at Red, White & Zoo, a patriotic event that combines live music, animal encounters, and fireworks. Enjoy a day filled with fun, food, and entertainment for the whole family.

Twilight Tours

Experience the zoo after dark with the Twilight Tours. These special evening tours provide a unique opportunity to observe nocturnal animals and learn about their behaviors and adaptations in a nighttime setting.

Holiday Wild

Embrace the holiday spirit at Holiday Wild, a festive event that brings the magic of the season to the Nashville Zoo. Enjoy seasonal decorations, visit with Santa Claus, and participate in holiday-themed activities that will delight visitors of all ages.

Camps and Workshops

The Nashville Zoo offers a variety of camps and workshops throughout the year, providing children with engaging and hands-on experiences related to wildlife and conservation. From animal encounters to nature exploration, these programs foster a love for animals and the environment.

Dining and Shopping

When hunger strikes or you’re looking for that perfect souvenir, the Nashville Zoo offers a range of dining and shopping options to satisfy your cravings and help you find the perfect memento.

Nourish Cafe

For a quick bite or a refreshing drink, head to the Nourish Cafe. This casual dining option offers a variety of fresh and healthy food choices, including salads, sandwiches, and snacks, ensuring there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Jungle Terrace

Enjoy a meal in a unique setting at the Jungle Terrace. Overlooking the Flamingo Lagoon, this outdoor dining area offers a picturesque backdrop while you savor delicious food and beverages.

Coffee Shop

In need of a caffeine boost? Stop by the Coffee Shop and indulge in a freshly brewed cup of coffee or your favorite espresso-based drink. Paired with a selection of pastries and snacks, this cozy spot is the perfect place to recharge during your zoo visit.

Trading Post

No visit to the Nashville Zoo is complete without a visit to the Trading Post. Discover a wide range of souvenirs, toys, and apparel featuring your favorite animals, allowing you to take a piece of the zoo home with you.

Gift Shop

Looking for a unique gift or a special memento? The Gift Shop offers a variety of wildlife-themed merchandise, including plush toys, books, jewelry, and more. Find the perfect keepsake to remember your visit to the Nashville Zoo.

Animal Art

Support the Nashville Zoo’s conservation efforts by purchasing animal-themed artwork created by the zoo’s very own animal residents. These one-of-a-kind pieces make for a unique and meaningful addition to any art collection.

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere: A Must Visit When Coming To Nashville

Visitor Services

The Nashville Zoo provides a range of visitor services to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all guests. From admission and membership to rentals and accessibility options, the zoo strives to accommodate every visitor’s needs.

Zoo Map

Navigate the Nashville Zoo with ease using the zoo map. Pick up a copy at the entrance or download it from the zoo’s website to plan your visit and make the most of your time exploring the exhibits and attractions.


Admission prices vary depending on age and membership status. Tickets can be purchased at the zoo’s entrance or online in advance, allowing for a convenient and seamless entry into the zoo.


Become a member of the Nashville Zoo and enjoy a range of benefits, including unlimited zoo visits, discounts on special events and programs, and exclusive members-only perks. Membership options are available for individuals, families, and even corporations.


Forgot to bring a stroller or wheelchair? No problem. The Nashville Zoo offers rentals for strollers, wheelchairs, and wagons, ensuring that everyone can comfortably explore the zoo’s grounds.

Lost and Found

If you misplace an item during your visit, the zoo’s Lost and Found service is available to help reunite you with your belongings. Simply report any lost items to the zoo’s staff, and they will assist you in retrieving them, if found.

Group Visits

Planning a group outing or a field trip? The Nashville Zoo welcomes groups of all sizes and offers special rates for schools, organizations, and other groups. Advance reservations are required for group visits to ensure a seamless experience for everyone.


Capture your favorite moments at the Nashville Zoo, but remember to review and follow the zoo’s photography guidelines to ensure the comfort and safety of the animals and other visitors. Photography permits can be obtained for special occasions and professional sessions.


The Nashville Zoo strives to be accessible to all visitors. Wheelchair-accessible pathways, accessible restrooms, and designated parking spaces are available to accommodate guests with mobility challenges. Additionally, the zoo offers a variety of accessibility resources and services to ensure a comfortable and inclusive experience for all.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question? Check out the Nashville Zoo’s website for a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions. From parking and hours of operation to animal encounters and event details, you’ll find answers to common queries that will help you plan your visit.

Conservation and Sustainability

The Nashville Zoo is committed to promoting conservation and sustainability both within the zoo and beyond. Through various initiatives and research programs, the zoo actively contributes to the protection of species and the preservation of our planet.

Species Survival Plan

The Nashville Zoo participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The SSP aims to manage and conserve endangered species through cooperative breeding programs, research, and public education.

Endangered Species

The Nashville Zoo plays an important role in the conservation of endangered species. By housing and breeding endangered animals, the zoo contributes to the long-term survival of these threatened populations and raises awareness about the importance of protecting their habitats.

Plant Conservation

In addition to animal conservation efforts, the Nashville Zoo is actively involved in plant conservation projects. This includes the cultivation and growth of native plants, habitat restoration, and collaborative partnerships with botanical institutions to preserve plant species at risk.

Sustainable Practices

The Nashville Zoo is dedicated to implementing sustainable practices to minimize its environmental impact. These practices include energy-efficient infrastructure, recycling programs, and water conservation measures, ensuring that the zoo operates in an environmentally responsible manner.

Green Initiatives

As part of its commitment to sustainability, the Nashville Zoo has implemented various green initiatives. These initiatives include the use of renewable energy sources, eco-friendly landscaping practices, and the promotion of sustainable transportation options for visitors.

Scientific Research

The Nashville Zoo actively conducts scientific research to further the knowledge and understanding of animal behavior, reproduction, and conservation. Through collaborations with universities and research institutions, the zoo contributes to the scientific community and advances our understanding of wildlife.

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere: A Must Visit When Coming To Nashville

Support the Zoo

There are several ways to support the Nashville Zoo and contribute to its mission of conservation, education, and entertainment. Whether through donations, animal adoptions, corporate partnerships, memberships, or legacy giving, your support helps ensure the zoo’s continued success and impact.


Make a direct contribution to the Nashville Zoo’s conservation efforts by donating. Your donation will directly benefit animal care, conservation programs, educational initiatives, and the overall welfare of the animals in the zoo’s care.

Adopt an Animal

By adopting an animal, you can make a meaningful contribution to the Nashville Zoo. Adoption packages include special perks such as behind-the-scenes experiences, recognition, and updates on the adopted animal, allowing you to form a closer connection with your chosen species.


Join the dedicated team of volunteers at the Nashville Zoo and make a positive impact through various volunteer opportunities. Whether it’s assisting with animal care, helping with educational programs, or providing guest services, your time and skills will greatly contribute to the zoo’s operations.

Corporate Partnerships

Partnering with the Nashville Zoo is a great way for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship and community involvement. Corporate partnerships provide opportunities for branding, employee engagement, and support of the zoo’s conservation initiatives.

Zoo Membership

Become a member of the Nashville Zoo and enjoy exclusive benefits while supporting the zoo’s conservation and educational efforts. Membership options are available for individuals, families, and corporations, allowing you to choose the level that best suits your needs and interests.

Legacy Giving

Consider leaving a lasting legacy by including the Nashville Zoo in your estate plans. Legacy giving ensures that your support for the zoo’s mission continues beyond your lifetime, making a lasting impact for future generations to enjoy.

Visitor Information

Here is some essential visitor information to help you plan your visit to the Nashville Zoo.

Hours of Operation

The Nashville Zoo is open year-round, with operating hours varying by season. It is generally open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM during the summer months and from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM during the winter months. It is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Be sure to check the zoo’s website for the most up-to-date information on operating hours.

Admission Prices

Admission prices for the Nashville Zoo vary depending on age and membership status. General admission tickets range from $17 to $22 for adults and $12 to $17 for children, with discounted rates available for seniors, military personnel, and zoo members. Children under two years old receive free admission.

Directions and Parking

The Nashville Zoo is located at 3777 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211. It is easily accessible from downtown Nashville and surrounding areas. Free parking is available on-site, with designated areas for accessible parking.

Contact Information

For general inquiries, you can contact the Nashville Zoo by phone at (615) 833-1534 or via email at The zoo’s website,, also provides comprehensive information and resources for planning your visit.

Tips for Visiting

To make the most of your visit to the Nashville Zoo, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Plan your visit ahead of time by checking the zoo’s website for up-to-date information on hours, exhibits, and special events.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather, as the zoo is an outdoor facility with extensive walking paths.
  3. Bring sunscreen, hats, and water bottles to ensure you stay protected and hydrated during your visit.
  4. Take advantage of the interactive experiences, such as Critter Encounters and Keeper Talks, to enhance your learning and engagement with the animals.
  5. Consider purchasing tickets online in advance to skip the lines at the entrance and save time during your visit.
  6. Bring a camera or smartphone to capture memorable moments, but remember to review and follow the zoo’s photography guidelines to ensure the comfort and safety of the animals and other visitors.
  7. Pack a picnic to enjoy in the designated picnic areas, or take advantage of the zoo’s dining options for a convenient and delicious meal.
  8. Take breaks and utilize the various shaded areas and seating available throughout the zoo to rest and recharge.
  9. Follow the zoo’s rules and guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of the animals, other visitors, and yourself.
  10. Most importantly, have fun and cherish the unique experiences and memories you create during your visit to the Nashville Zoo.

Nearby Attractions

Extend your visit to Nashville by exploring the nearby attractions and landmarks. The Nashville Zoo’s location provides easy access to other popular destinations, such as the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry, and the vibrant downtown area. Immerse yourself in the rich culture and music scene that Nashville is renowned for.

With its fascinating history, diverse exhibits and animals, engaging activities, educational programs, special events, delightful dining options, and numerous visitor services, the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere truly offers a comprehensive and enjoyable experience for all. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a wildlife lover, or simply looking for a fun day out, the Nashville Zoo is a must-visit destination that will leave you with lasting memories and a deeper appreciation for the natural world. So plan your visit today and immerse yourself in the wonders of the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere!

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere: A Must Visit When Coming To Nashville