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City Invests in Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo is delighted to share that Mayor Karl Dean and Metro Council allocated $10M this year to support a major new development that will add more state-of-the-art animal exhibits and allow better access for the people of Nashville and Middle TN.  The City’s investment is proof of their confidence in the future direction of the Zoo and of the positive impact a nationally renowned zoo will have on Nashville.  This funding will be applied to infrastructure improvements and is contingent upon the Zoo’s ability to match the funds with privately raised philanthropic support.  

Nashville Zoo sits on 188 acres which are owned by Metro Parks and Recreation.  Currently about 82 acres have been developed. 

“Nashville Zoo is the most-visited attraction in our city with a growing membership and bright plans for the future,” Mayor Karl Dean said. “As centers of discovery, zoos are where our youth can learn about the natural world, the wonderment of animals and respect for living creatures. Continued investment by our community in infrastructure and animal exhibits will make our Zoo the kind of world-class destination our residents deserve and tourists will visit.” 

Construction crews will soon begin working on several projects in the initial phase of a long-term plan to grow the Zoo. These projects include:

  • A new entry plaza that will meet the demands of growing membership and general attendance
  • New exhibits featuring Andean bears and spider monkeys
  • A much needed, state-of-the-art veterinary hospital
  • Vital infrastructure improvements including expanded parking, roads and walkways 

Nashville Zoo recently announced the launch of a multi-million dollar, multi-year campaign to fund the expansion, and the City’s gift is a tremendous boost toward this initiative.  

Campaign Co-Chair Jennifer Frist shared, “The Zoo is a true Nashville treasure, and once fully developed will be one of our community’s best assets. We have one year to raise $10 million to match the City's investment towards future expansion. We hope all of the Nashville community will get behind us to make this happen.”

“The Zoo appreciates this public-private partnership with Metro and the support of Mayor Dean’s administration and the Metro Council, who have embraced our mission and demonstrated a serious commitment,” stated Rick Schwartz, president of Nashville Zoo. “It is clear that Nashville’s leaders recognize the Zoo’s contribution to our community: As a key entity promoting progress and preservation, and as a vital educational resource and cultural destination with a significant economic impact.”

This comprehensive campaign is scheduled to run through 2020 and is strategically developed to include community-centered outreach allowing anyone interested in be involved. The long-term goal of the campaign is to raise funds to build highly anticipated exhibits for gorillas, lions, penguins and more, as well as a guest tram system, restaurants, gift shops and other amenities. These tangible improvements will be anchored by further efforts demonstrating the Zoo’s commitment to the conservation of endangered species around the world – a commitment that sets Nashville Zoo apart and continues to bolster its reputation across America and the world. 

“I am thrilled that the Mayor and the City have included Nashville Zoo in its capital spending plans,” said Robin Patton, Nashville Zoo board chair. “We are incredibly grateful to all of Nashville for the community-wide support enabling us to eliminate debt and operate in a financially sound manner. Without the commitment of our citizens, as well as the Mayor and Metro Council, the Nashville Zoo would not be able to flourish as it has over the last 15 years.” 

We hope you will consider joining us in creating a brighter future for Nashville Zoo. In the months ahead, we will be reaching out to our membership and the community to make the dream of a world class zoo become a reality.  Thank you for your continued support of our mission to inspire a culture of understanding and discovery of our natural world through conservation, innovation and leadership.

Posted by Mary Brenna Corr at 11:01 AM


8/6/2014 at 06:40 PM by Ann Shelton

Congratulations, Nashville Zoo!

8/6/2014 at 08:40 PM by Aaron Dalton

Fantastic! So excited to see Nashville Zoo expand, add more animals and continue to take a leadership position in education and conservation. Keep up the good work :)

8/7/2014 at 07:58 AM by Regina

I vote you have more fundraisers that are affordable and get the community involved. For example, the safari party coming up the cheapest ticket is $150. I love the zoo, but I can't afford to do that and let alone ask someone to go with me.... Community involvement, other than these emails and having a friends that volunteer at the zoo I didn't know about the $10M, which is very exciting. I would love to see our zoo grow and expand!!

8/7/2014 at 11:32 AM by Kristina L.

This news has me so very excited! I don't mind waiting for my favorite animal to come to Nashville... let's hear it for PENGUINS!! How can the public get involved in helping to raise the matching funds the city is requiring??

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