Guided Tours

Guided Tours - At a Glance

Explore your options in detail further down this page.

Lunch with a Zookeeper

Come enjoy lunch with one of our zookeepers! You'll get the chance to sit down and ask a keeper about their animals and experiences, and learn about the Zoo's conservation projects.The keeper will also take you on a exclusive tour of an area where they work.

Pre-registration is required.

Docent-led Walking Tours

New for 2015! Each Thursday at 10:30am docents lead guests on a tour of the Zoo.

Available weekly from April 3 to October 3.

Historic Home & Garden 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 (ages 5+)

Backstage Pass gives you access behind-the-scenes of the anteater barn, the giraffe barn or the elephant barn.

Once the animals leave their night holding areas and are safely out on exhibit, travel "backstage" at the Zoo, and learn about animal care, behavior and conservation. Meet a keeper who can share information about the animals they care for as only they know them! Share treats with a giraffe! Watch an anteater lick yogurt from a cup, and meet a tamandua! This special tour is filled with experiences and information you cannot get anywhere else.

This tour will require a 10-15 minute hike to the animal barn. All children must be accompanied by an adult (limit of 2 children per accompanying adult). All participants (adult and child) must complete a registration form.

Cost of Program:

Members - $35/person
Non-Members - $60/person

Dates & Times:

Tours are offered the first Saturday of each month from 9:30 to 11am.
View calendar to check availability

Pre-registration is required. Day of tour, walk-up registrations may not be accepted.
Cancellation policy: 2 weeks notice prior to program date to receive a refund. Email, or call 615-833-1534 ext. 160.

Lunch with a Zookeeper

Proceeds from this program go towards zookeeper continuing education classes.

lunch + exclusive tour

Enjoy this unique chance to sit down and discuss the exciting career of a zookeeper. This is a great opportunity to learn what it takes to care for exotic animals, and the challenges of working with them on a day-to-day basis. Lunch takes place at our Botswana Overlook, a private space with an amazing view of our elephant exhibit.

Before lunch, go behind-the-scenes for an up-close opportunity with our animals! You'll be paired with ONE zookeeper from any one of these areas:
Anteater, Aquatics, Bird, Behavioral Husbandry, Elephant, Giraffe, Kangaroo, Primate, Quarantine, Reptiles


Each lunch/tour is limited to no more than five people. There must be at least one attendee over the age of 18.

$50 per person


Program available March through October.

Sundays and Tuesdays throughout the year (some exclusions apply)
Noon to 1:15pm | 30 min tour + 45 min lunch

More details + registration

Docent-led Walking Tours

Available weekly, every Thursday at 10:30am, from April 3 to October 3.

New for 2015! Each Thursday at 10:30am docents lead guests on a tour of the Zoo. There is a limit of 25 people per tour (pre-registration is not required). Tours will meet between the amphitheater and ticket booth area.

“Nashville Zoo around the World” Tour
Thursday at 10:30am

Did you know Nashville Zoo is involved in conservation projects all around the world? On this tour you will learn more about how the Zoo helps clouded leopards in Thailand, crested toads in Puerto Rico, rhinoceros hornbills in Indonesia, African elephants and more.

Historic Home and Garden Tours

Have you ever visited the Zoo and wondered where the names "Grassmere" and "Croft Center" came from or what they mean? 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.

We invite your group to step back in time to experience life in a Middle Tennessee farm home. Learn about the five generations of family members that lived here, see some exclusive original family artifacts, and hear about how the family willed the land to eventually become Nashville Zoo. You may also venture to our recreated heirloom gardens and meet the Davidson County Master Gardeners, who keep it looking so lovely year-round.

Historic Home Tours

Open daily from Memorial Day weekend to September 30. House tours start at the front porch at 10 am and run every half hour. The last tour starts at 4:30 pm. There is a limit of 25 people per tour. Learn more about the Grassmere Historic Home before your visit by visiting this page.

Availability of Grassmere Historic Home tours varies by season:

  • January through March 20 - closed
  • March 21 through Memorial Day weekend - open weekends only
  • Memorial Day weekend through September 30 - open daily
  • October - open weekends only, plus Senior Day (Oct. 7)
  • November - closed, except for Military Appreciation Day (Nov. 8)
  • December - closed

Private tours of the Grassmere Historic Home are only available when we are not normally open to the general public. 

Garden Tours

Private garden tours are available year-round Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, 9 am – 12 pm and last 1 hour.

Pre-registration is required.

If you or your group are interested in a special tour of our Gardens, or the Grassmere Historic Home during our off season, please contact Tori Mason, Historic Site Manager at or 615-833-1534 ext. 130.