Last week, my family and I went on our first trip to a zoo. Sawyer has been talking a lot about different animals lately, so I was sure he would enjoy it: and I was right!
The Chattanooga Zoo is celebrating their 75th anniversary this year, after being established with a small cage for two Rhesus Monkeys in 1937. Since then, the zoo has continued to grow, with more and more exhibits and animals for families to view on their visit.
Chattanooga Zoo’s Mission Statement
The mission of the Chattanooga Zoo is to engage and inspire our community to better understand and preserve wildlife by creating meaningful connections between people and animals. With our intimate, innovative exhibits, wide-ranging educational offerings and commitment to conservation, our vision is to be a top destination for residents and visitors alike and the pride of our community.
Our trip to the Chattanooga Zoo last weekend was very fun and exciting. I wasn’t sure what to expect – I have lived less than an hour from it my whole life, yet haven’t made the time to visit. However, I am so glad I did!
One of the exhibits I was most excited about was the Camel Rides that the zoo began offering earlier in 2012. I figured my son would be too scared to ride one, but he assured us he would when we got there. Up on the platform, however, it was a different story! He informed us that the camels were “TOO BIG!” so no rides that day! Still, for adventurous kids that do not scare easily, a $5 camel ride could be the highlight of the visit.
The Gombe Forest was the first animal exhibit we came to at the Chattanooga Zoo. Here, we saw chimpanzees, and Sawyer was so excited to see the “monkeys!” They stayed inside for most of our visit, but did go outside in the end. We also saw the African Crowned Crane here.
Next was the Corcovado Jungle, where we saw, among other Central and South American natives, the lazy looking Capybaras. Sawyer lovingly referred to him as “pig,” though I think he looks more like a pig-porcupine mix.
The Cotton-Top Tamarins were also found in this exhibit. I couldn’t help but photograph this funny scene, where it looked like the animal and my son were in a staring contest!
Walkin’ the Tracks was another fun exhibit at the Chattanooga Zoo. There was the Cougar Express, where we actually went inside this railroad car to see the area where the cougars lived. I couldn’t get a good shot of the lone cougar we saw here, thanks to the sun and reflection from the window. Other animals in this area were the American Crow, Prairie Dogs, and Bobcats, animals that you can find here in North America.
Himalayan Passage features animals from Asia. Here we saw a few Hanuman Langurs (doesn’t that middle one look like he’s boss?!) as well as a sleepy Red Panda who just stood up from its nap as we walked up to its area. A Snow Leopard lives here too, but we didn’t get to see it on our visit.
Perhaps my son’s favorite place in the Chattanooga Zoo was the petting zoo. It was in the Warner Park Ranch section, and he was able to go in and pet a few pygmy goats. We also saw a pot-bellied pig and miniature horses there. Basically, things you’d see in country life, but they were right there in the city!
All in all, we had a great time visiting the Chattanooga Zoo. It’s not a lot of walking, even for the number of animals they have here. We were able to get through the park in about an hour and a half – and that was with back tracking to see the chimps and a couple other animals again, per Sawyer’s request.
For more information on Chattanooga Zoo, including its history, exhibits, and visitor’s information, please visit www.chattzoo.org!
Disclosure: My family and I received complementary passes into the Chattanooga Zoo in exchange for this post. All opinions are 100% mine and not swayed by outside sources.