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Private Access

Circle of Friends lets you venture inside the world of a giraffe, get closer to a river otter, or feed a playful red panda. This one-of-a-kind experience is an exclusive opportunity to experience Zoo Knoxville like never before!
A behind-the-scenes animal encounter is led by one of our expert keepers and includes a rare tour of our “backstage” areas. Feed a giraffe or have your picture taken with Big Al, one of the zoo’s most popular residents – a tortoise who’s 150 years old and weighs 550 pounds!
Behind-the-scenes experiences are subject to availability and not included with Keeper Level memberships.  Please contact oshuirr@zooknoxville.org to learn which encounters are available at your donation level.

Get A Closer Look With Our Behind-The-Scenes Encounters

Learn about Cuban crocodiles Rose and Miguel while their keepers toss enrichment into their exhibit. You’ll see them up close as they dive down to seek out their snacks!

Meet and greet with Joe the Linnaeus two-toed sloth with a feeding opportunity.

Visit Clayton Otter Creek, see the otters’ dens and watch them enjoy a fishy feast.

Einstein was donated to the zoo in 1992 and has since developed a vocabulary of more than 200 words and sounds. She will demonstrate her advanced cognitive skills and imitate sounds ranging from a faucet dripping to a tiger roaring.

Meet our giraffe herd in a private area, see the inside of their barn and feed them some treats!

Go inside with one of our giant tortoises and learn all about him. Big Al is over 500 pounds and over 150 years old! He’s been at Zoo Knoxville since the 1970s, and loves to be petted and have his neck scratched. 

With over 110 births, Zoo Knoxville is proud to be the red panda capital of the world. Enjoy an up-close, one-of-a-kind feeding experience with an adorable red panda resident.

See behind the scenes and inside the bears’ exhibit.  Create enrichment objects with peanut butter, peanuts and raisins. Hide them inside the exhibit, and then exit and watch the bears sniff out their treats when they’re released from their dens.

Additional Experiences

African Lion Training Demo
Bat Eared Fox Enrichment Toss
Private Budgie Feeding
Burrowing Owls
Cape Porcupine
Chimpanzee Scatter Feeding
Clinic Tour
Goats (Contact Yard & Barn Tour)
Hawk Flying Demonstration
Malayan Tiger Meatball Toss
Painted Dog Enrichment Toss
Rhino Barn
Silver Leafed Langurs