The country's first public zoo opened in New York's Central Park in 1874, Since then, people of all ages have held a fascination with watching and learning about animals. Today approximately 175 million people per year make a trip to a zoo.
love to visit the Chattanooga Zoo and see the variety of exhibits and tours. With the zoo welcoming back guests and hosting Boo in the Zoo and Safari Nights in October, we wanted to share 7 fun facts about the wildest Chattanooga residents.
1. Chattanooga Zoo Began with a Pair of Monkeys
Oxley Zoo, the first zoo in Chattanooga, opened in 1900 but lasted only until 1911. At its current location in Warner Park, the Chattanooga Zoo
was established with the installation of a 4' by 6' foot cage to hold a pair of rhesus monkeys.
2. The Zoo Has More than Doubled in Size
Over the decades, greater awareness of animal welfare became a global concern. Zoos moved away from caged exhibits to more natural habitats and made conservation a priority. The Chattanooga Zoo also changed its focus from entertainment to education. During the 2000s, the zoo underwent an ambitious expansion that expanded the property from five acres to 12 acres.
3. The Zoo Has the Largest Indoor Red Panda Facility in the United States
Construction of the Himalayan Passage, which opened in 2004, was part of the zoo's massive expansion. Red pandas, which are on the endangered species list, made their first appearance at the zoo in 1998 with the arrival of a male named Nigalya. In 2016, a pair named Maina and Wyatt were bred and gave birth to two male red pandas, Anndii and Avi.
4. The Zoo Discovered a New Subspecies of Turtle
In 2012, zoo researchers were in Bradley County looking for undocumented reptiles and amphibian species. While searching in a tributary of the Conasauga River, the researchers discovered the Gulf Coast Spiny Softshell Turtle. The encounter was noteworthy because softshell turtles spend most of their time buried in the bottom of the stream, which is how they avoid detection.
5. Visitors Can Go Behind the Scenes
Want a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with a meerkat, red panda, or Komodo dragon? For an additional fee, which includes Zoo admission, the WILD Encounters program allows visitors to spend 30 minutes interacting with a specific animal. Also, zookeepers and educators are on hand to share information and take pictures with your phone to preserve the occasion.
6. You Can Adopt an Animal
Help support the zoo's efforts to provide care for endangered and threatened species. Selected animals are available for "adoption" with donations of $25, $75, or $150. Each level includes an adoption certificate, a fact sheet, and a photo with a letter from the zoo director. Higher levels include additional perks such as plush animals and zoo admissions.
7. The Zoo Streams Live Content
Can't get to the zoo? The zoo will come to you. Webcams stream live from the meerkat, snow leopard, tamarin, and spotted genet habitats. Content is accessible on the zoo's website.
Planning your visit? Be sure to check out their website for updates on their COVID-19 policies before you go.
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