Guided Tours

Guided Tours - At a Glance

Explore your options in detail further down this page.

 

Backstage Pass

Travel "backstage" at the Zoo to learn about animal care, behavior and conservation!

Pre-registration is required.

Docent-led Walking Tours

Available weekly, every Thursday and Sunday. Pre-registration required.

Historic Home Tours

The frequency of home tours varies by season. The full schedule is listed below.

Private garden tours are available by request only. Otherwise, guests are welcome to walk through our gardens on their own during their visit.

 

 

Backstage Pass

Travel "backstage" at the Zoo to learn about animal care, behavior and conservation! Backstage Pass gives you behind-the-scenes access to areas not available to the public. These special 90-minute tours are filled with experiences and information you cannot get anywhere else.

Purchase your ticket in advance through our website or at the Zoo's ticket booth (subject to availability). All children must be accompanied by an adult. Tours occur daily and cost $40 per person.

Backstage Pass: Graceful Giants

A ride & walk tour backstage at the Zoo!

Offered daily at 2:30 PM; $40 per person

Spend 90 minutes learning about the Zoo’s history at Grassmere and meeting some of the African hoofstock species that call Nashville home. Guests will tour the commissary, visit the okapi and bongo, tour the giraffe barn, have the opportunity to feed a giraffe and more!

  • A maximum of 9 people will be on this tour
  • Recommended for ages 8 and up
  • No food or drink are allowed, except for water bottles with closed lids. Water bottles must remain closed and put away while visiting animal areas.
  • Meet at the Nashville Zoo logo rock just outside of Entry Village 10 to 15 minutes before your tour.
  • No restrooms are available on the tour. There is a bathroom located near the meeting spot in Entry Village.
  • You may store strollers at the Rentals building in Entry Village during the tour.
  • There will be some walking on flat surfaces from the tour cart into buildings/animal areas.
  • This tour is wheelchair accessible, but please let us know in advance so we can make appropriate accommodations for you.
  • Service animals are not permitted on this tour.

Reserve your spot!

Backstage Pass: Saving Species

A unique behind-the-scenes walking tour!

Offered daily at 10:30 AM; $40 per person

This 90 minute walking tour takes guests behind-the-scenes to learn about the Zoo’s conservation efforts taking place around the world and in our own backyard. Plus - witness a clouded leopard training session, visit and feed the largest collection of giant anteaters in North America, learn about the Zoo's breeding programs and more during this unique walking tour!

  • A maximum of 12 people will be on this tour
  • Recommended for ages 8 and up
  • No food or drink are allowed, except for water bottles with closed lids. Water bottles must remain closed and put away while visiting animal areas.
  • Meet in front of the Historic Home 10 to 15 minutes before your tour.
  • No restrooms are available on the tour. Please utilize the restrooms located next to the Zoofari Cafe before meeting for the tour.
  • The stroller parking area for this tour is outdoors and unguarded, so please remove all valuables before parking your stroller.
  • This tour is not wheelchair-friendly, as there are uneven surfaces, gravel roads and stairs.
  • Service animals are not permitted on this tour.

Reserve your spot!

 

Docent-led Walking Tours

Available weekly, every Thursday and Sunday. Pre-registration required. 

Enjoy a personalized visit to the Zoo on a guided walking tour. Our docents (trained volunteer educators) will greet you and your party at Entry Village for a 45 minute guided tour through the Zoo.

Tours are free with Zoo admission or membership and require a minimum of one week notice. Tours can accommodate up to 40 guests per group. Register your group by contacting Chris Radek, the Zoo's Interpretation Manager, at cradek@nashvillezoo.org or 615-833-1534 x146.

Tour Themes

Nashville Zoo Around the World: Learn more about Nashville Zoo’s conservation efforts, both locally and globally, and how you can help!

We Are Family!: Many animals at Nashville Zoo live in family groups just like us. Why? Learn more about these animals that live in groups and how it helps them survive.

 

Historic Home and Garden Tours

Have you ever visited the Zoo and wondered what "Grassmere" means or who the Croft's were? Why are those names important to the history of Nashville Zoo? The answers to these questions can be found during a tour of the Grassmere Historic Home, located at the Historic Farm area of the Zoo.

Availability of Grassmere Historic Home tours varies by season.

  • January - March 17: closed
  • March 18 - 26: open daily
  • March 29 - May 21: open Wednesday through Sunday
  • May 24 - July 31: open daily
  • August 2 - October 12: open Wednesday through Sunday plus Senior Day
  • October 13 - November: closed, except for November 11-12
  • December - closed, except for Christmas tours
 

Tour Topics:

Open House

Spend as much or as little time as you want.

Do you want to visit the Grassmere Historic Home but do not have time to take a tour? Come to an open house and roam through the house on your own. Staff will be on-hand to answer questions.

Historic Home Tour

30 minute tour

Take a step back in time to experience life in a Middle Tennessee farm home.

Learn about the five generations of family members who occupied the home when it was built in 1810 to when the land was willed, eventually becoming Nashville Zoo. See original family artifacts, learn about the farm's connection to Cuba, and learn about the outbuildings that played a vital role in the history of the property.

Kid-Friendly Tour

20 minute tour

While kids are invited to join any guided tour, these kid-friendly tours are shorter and focus on topics this age group may find interesting.

These tours will give children a glimpse into the house's history and importance, and explain how the Grassmere property became the Nashville Zoo. Tours will include peeks into the Historic Home and artifact encounters.

Farm Outbuilding Tour

Tour length varies

The Grassmere Historic Farm is much more than just the Historic Home. Learn more about how five generations lived and worked on the property.

The outbuildings on the Historic Farm each have their own story and unique purpose. Visitors are invited to visit the carriage barn, gardens, kitchen, smokehouse, slave cabin, and cemetery. Tour starts at the kitchen building.

 

Artifact Encounters

Check back for scheduled tour times. 

Did you ever want to reach out and touch one of the artifacts inside the house? Artifact Encounters will offer visitors a chance to get up close and personal with actual artifacts and replicas from the Grassmere Historic Farm collection.