If you and your family are visiting Loudon city in Tennessee, then you may want to take a trip to Knoxville which is around twenty miles away but has lots to offer for the whole family. From museums and art galleries to historic architecture and the Knoxville Zoo. The zoo is located just east of the downtown area not far from exit 392 on Interstate 40 and is home to over 800 animals of all kinds including mammals, birds and reptiles. These include lions, tigers, elephants, bears, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, chimpanzees, apes, penguins, eagles, parrots, alligators and turtles.
The facility is endorsed by the national Association of Zoos and Aquariums and has many conservational features including outdoor habitats that emulate the natural dwellings of its animal residents as they would in the wild. These include enclosures such as the popular Meerkat Lookout, Grasslands of Africa, the Stokely African Elephant Preserve, the Animal Encounter Village where kids can experience some of the zoos more docile inhabitants up close and personal as well as the Chimp Ridge which is a firm favorite with visitors of all ages. In addition there are several indoor exhibitions that include a large collection of various reptile species, the Night Club, the Barn Loft. This zoo is also very involved in conservation and has formed several fruitful partnerships in connection with this including a breeding program for endangered species which successfully bred the first African elephant in captivity as well as breeding other rare species like the red panda and white rhino, while raising public awareness about these issues. These pandas can be viewed in the Boyd Family Red Panda Village and the zoo holds the record for the largest number of captive red panda born in the Western Hemisphere in recent years. In this respect the Knoxville zoo offers a great family day out that is both fun and educational however while younger children may not fully grasp the implications of the conservation projects they will certainly enjoy one of the outdoor play areas in the zoos grounds which include the Clayton Family Kids Cove and the Wee Play Zoo.
Another outdoor location that is ideal for a family outing is the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum which is privately owned and operated. These beautiful and historical gardens are run and supported entirely by public donations although admission is free. It is located on a ridge above downtown Knoxville and is a magical place to while away an afternoon in a very tranquil setting. Children will enjoy exploring the secret garden paths and alleys set amid stone-sided greenhouses and quirky round shaped buildings. There are also a wide variety of botanical species from rare trees and shrubbery to exquisite roses and exotic blooms so this is a must for anyone with an interest in flora and fauna as well as for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and relax in a more peaceful environment within the high stone walls that form the boundaries that separate these gardens from the rest of the world.