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Zoo Knoxville collecting stories from visitors to celebrate 75 years of conservation and fun

People can share their zoo-related stories online for a chance to win a "Red Panda Experience."

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Zoo Knoxville is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. It was established in 1948 after an initiative from a Knoxville newspaper, and its first attraction was "Al the Alligator."

On the first day, the zoo welcomed around 4,000 people. Since then, the zoo has grown to feature exhibits showing a variety of animals. People can now see elephants, lions, Aldabra Giant Tortoises, Chacoan Peccaries, giraffes, baboons, tigers and many others.

It has also become more than a place for families and friends to gather and spend time together. While the zoo has organized a variety of different events, it has also taken steps to help save threatened and endangered species.

It is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and works with other members of the AZA on collective species survival plans. The plans give zoos the chance to send endangered animals to other zoos to help create a healthy and genetically diverse population for endangered species.

Zoo Knoxville participates in six SAFE programs and is a founding member of four, listed below.

  • North American Turtle (Founding Member)
  • Radiated Tortoise (Founding Member)
  • Monarch Butterfly (Founding Member)
  • Red Wolf 
  • Cuban Crocodile (Founding Member)
  • African Lion

The zoo is also collecting stories from visitors about their time seeing exotic animals and enjoying time together. People can submit stories about their experiences at the zoo online for a chance to win a "Red Panda Experience."

The zoo is looking for stories about people's favorite memories at the zoo, or stories about their favorite habitats. People can also read stories from other visitors online.

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