History

1991

Nashville Zoo opens to the public in Cheatham County

1996

Nashville Zoo takes over Grassmere property

Nashville Zoo agrees to take over management of the Grassmere property after the closing of the Grassmere Wildlife Park. The city of Nashville was bound by the will of the Croft sisters to maintain the site, located in South Nashville, as a nature center. Led by then-Mayor Phil Bredesen, the city offers Nashville Zoo the opportunity to relocate the Zoo from Joelton and develop a “new” zoo for Nashville on the Grassmere property.

1997

Nashville Wildlife Park at Grassmere opens to the public under Nashville Zoo management

Jungle Gym opens

The 66,000 sq. ft. Jungle Gym opens to the public thanks to thousands of volunteers who helped build the largest community built playground in the United States.

1998

Zoo opens the Unseen New World

Historic Home is renovated and opens for tours

Nashville Zoo closes in Cheatham County focusing all development at the Grassmere property

1999

Entry Village, featuring new entrance, gift shop and restaurant, opens to the public

A barn next to the Historic Home is built and opens

The new barn became the centerpiece of the Historic Farm with yards for sheep, cows and other farm animals.

2000

Critter Encounters, the Zoo’s first interactive exhibit, opens

2001

"Nashville Wildlife Park at Grassmere" officially becomes "Nashville Zoo at Grassmere"

The Hyacinth Macaw exhibit opens in Entry Village

The Gibbon Islands exhibit opens featuring siamangs and white-cheeked gibbons

2002

Meerkat exhibit opens

2003

Bamboo Trail opens, featuring clouded leopards, red pandas, rhinoceros hornbills and lemurs

2004

The Zoo receives accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)

2005

The 3.2 acre African Elephant Savannah opens

Lorikeet Landing, the Zoo’s second interactive exhibit opens

Wild Animal Carousel opens

2006

Giraffe Savannah exhibit, red river hog exhibit, and Alligator Cove exhibit open

2010

Flamingo Lagoon exhibit opens

2011

Wilderness Express Train opens

The trackless miniature train takes guests along a circular pathway near the African Plains exhibit.

2013

Kangaroo Kickabout opens

2014

Cassowary relocates to new exhibit across from Kangaroo Kickabout

Nashville Zoo receives $10 million gift from the city of Nashville and kicks off major capital campaign

2015

The Shell Station opens

2016

Soaring Eagle zip line opens

Entry Village re-opens with new Ticketing, Membership and Gift Shop Buildings

2017

Spider Monkey: Treetop Passage opens in April