Upcoming Events

  • River Tank Feeding

    May 26th, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World

    Some of the largest rivers on Earth travel through tropical rain forests. The Amazon has 1,100 tributaries, carries over 500 billion cubic feet of water per day, and has a mouth that is nearly 300 miles wide. Rivers that size have tremendous diversity within them and along their banks, including insects, reptiles, invertebrates, fish, and mammals.

    Within the river tanks in Unseen New World you can see some of this diversity including several species of cichlids. There are over 1600 species of cichlids making them one of the largest vertebrate families in the animal kingdom. You can spot Silver Arowana which can trace their ancestors back to dinosaurs from the Jurassic period. The white-blotched river stingray, one of the rarest in the world, is also visible in the river tanks. You can also spot some of the reptile diversity of tropical rivers such as the green basilisk which is known for its ability to run across water to escape danger. 

    Visiting the river tanks in Unseen New World allows you to get a small glimpse of the great diversity found in tropical rivers. 

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    May 26th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    May 26th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • Flamingo Keeper Talk

    May 26th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Flamingo Lagoon
    Caribbean flamingos are one of 6 species of flamingos which can be found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. During breeding season they gather in colonies of 5,000 - 100,000 birds. After attracting a partner through an elaborate mating dance a pair of flamingos will begin to build a mud mound on which the female will lay her egg. Both males and females will help incubate the egg and they share responsibilities in caring for the chick.  Flamingos are born gray and do not get their pink feathers until 1-3 years of age. Their diet contains carotenoid pigments which will give them their characteristic pink color. Flamingos are filter feeders and hold their head upside down in shallow water to strain out their food. Flamingos very rarely lay down and even sleep standing up, often only on one leg. You can see our flamingos in Flamingo Lagoon.
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  • Aviary Keeper Talk

    May 26th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Unseen New World

    The Zoo’s tropical aviary is home to more than 10 species of birds native to Central America, South America and Africa. From ground level or a tree-top level mezzanine, guest can peer into a thick canopy of tropical foliage to spot birds like the black and yellow cacique and its gourd-shape nest or the endangered green woodhoopoe, one of the noisiest birds in the aviary. Closer examination of the aviary may also reveal two lizard species; the anole and the basilisk. The Zoo’s aviary is best accessed from inside the Unseen New World across from our display of frogs.

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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    May 26th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Africa Field Keeper Talk

    May 26th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm

    Africa field is home to several species including Ostrich, Eland, Bontebok, and other antelope species. 

    The ostrich is the largest flightless bird in the world. They can run about 40 miles an hour covering 10-16 feet with a single stride. The ostrich will often use their wings as rudders to help change direction quickly while running. Ostriches will live in groups of about 12 birds. All the females of the group will place their eggs in the nest of the dominant female. A single ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs! Ostriches can often be found around other grazing animals like antelope and zebras. Ostriches have great eyesight and will often alert other animals of predators in the area. It is myth that ostriches head their heads in the sand. They will put their necks close to the ground to try and hide from predators, from a distance it appears that their head is in the sand.

    Eland are one of the largest hooved animals in the world. They are very adaptable animals with the ability to live in all environments except deserts, forests, and swamps. They are some of the slowest antelope, running only 25 miles per hour. Eland will live in herds of up to 25. There may be more than one male but only the dominant male will have access to females for breeding. Calves are born after a 9 month gestation period and hide after they are born for protection. 

    The bontebok was nearly extinct in the wild but the creation of Bontebok National Park and breeding on game farms led to the current population of over 2,000 existing throughout southern Africa. Their current conservation status includes the closely related blesbok of which 250,000 exist. They graze during the day on grasses in small groups of about 10. Males will mark their territory with dung and participate in challenge rituals with neighboring males. Both males and females will grow horns. 

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  • Red River Hog Keeper Talk

    May 26th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
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  • Red River Hog Keeper Talk

    May 26th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    African Savannah
    Red river hogs are very social animals who will live in groups of up to 20. Groups are usually made up of 1 adult male, several females, and their piglets. They are mostly active once the sun sets where they will use their shovel like snouts to dig up roots or bulbs to eat, though red river hogs will eat most anything they find. Female hogs will give birth to about 1-4 piglets. Male offspring are forced out of their group at about one year of age. Male red river hogs will fight by butting heads, whipping each other with their tails, and will fluff their facial hair when threatened. You can see our red river hogs on the African Savannah.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    May 26th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Rhino Iguana Keeper Talk

    May 27th, 2016
    9:30am - 9:45am
    Unseen New World
    The rhinoceros iguana gets its name from the bumps on its snout which are most pronounced on male iguanas.  Breeding will happen at 2 to 3 years of age with males using head bobs and their spines along their back to attract females.  Females will dig burrows to incubate the eggs, there is no parental care after the eggs hatch.  Rhinoceros iguanas are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day.  They spend their nights in rock crevices, caves, or burrows they have dug.  Rhinoceros iguanas are threatened by habitat destruction, invasive species, and illegal hunting.  You can see our iguanas inside Unseen New World.        
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  • Bat Keeper Talk

    May 27th, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World

    Bats are the only mammals with wings that can fly.  Bats are very important to the ecosystems in which they live as they help to pollinate many of the plants that are found in each habitat.  The short-tailed leaf nose bats will enter into a state similar to hibernation called torpor when food is lacking.  They will roost in two distinct groups; harems with one adult male and several adult females, and bachelor groups of sub-adult males.  Mating can occur twice a year and females will give birth to one baby.  Short-tailed lead nose bats also love to eat mosquitoes!  You can thank them for that when you see them in the Unseen New World.   

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    May 27th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Flamingo Keeper Talk

    May 27th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Flamingo Lagoon
    Caribbean flamingos are one of 6 species of flamingos which can be found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. During breeding season they gather in colonies of 5,000 - 100,000 birds. After attracting a partner through an elaborate mating dance a pair of flamingos will begin to build a mud mound on which the female will lay her egg. Both males and females will help incubate the egg and they share responsibilities in caring for the chick.  Flamingos are born gray and do not get their pink feathers until 1-3 years of age. Their diet contains carotenoid pigments which will give them their characteristic pink color. Flamingos are filter feeders and hold their head upside down in shallow water to strain out their food. Flamingos very rarely lay down and even sleep standing up, often only on one leg. You can see our flamingos in Flamingo Lagoon.
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    May 27th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Barn Owl Keeper Talk

    May 27th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:45pm
    Grassmere Historic Home and Farm

    Barns owls are the most widespread of any owl species and can be found in any habitat that meets their needs. As with other owls they swallow their prey whole and then cough up pellets which contain all the non-digestible parts of their prey such as bones and fur.

    Barn owls have great eyesight but they are renowned for their ability to hear extremely soft noises. A barn owl hunting in complete darkness can still locate and capture prey using sound alone. Barn owls have been known to nest in hollow trees and artificial nest boxes but earn their name by often taking up residence in old buildings such as abandoned barns and silos. You can see our barn owls at the Croft House barn.

     

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  • Red Panda Keeper Talk

    May 27th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    The red pandas were once thought to be relatives of raccoons and bears but research has now put them in their own animal family Ailuridae. Red pandas are solitary and they rarely interact with another red panda outside of mating season. Breeding season is in the early winter with most births being in June. Similarly to their giant panda relatives red pandas have a wrist bone that acts like a thumb to help them grip bamboo. You can see our red pandas on Bamboo Trail.
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  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    May 27th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Yellow-backed Duiker Keeper Talk

    May 27th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Yellow-backed duikers are the largest of all 15 species of duiker.  Adult duikers have black coats with a white face.  The yellow hair begins to appear on their back at 5-9 months and will stand up when the duiker feels threatened or becomes agitated. Little is known about the behavior of yellow-backed duikers due to their shy nature and the thick forests they call home.  Duikers will be solitary or live in a monogamous pair.  They can breed anytime during the year and typically have offspring twice a year.  Young duikers are hidden by their mothers in underbrush for the first several weeks of their life for protection from predators.   Due to their size duikers have to forage for much the day.  While foraging, duikers need to lookout for painted dogs, lions, and leopards.  One of their main defenses is to dive into the underbrush to evade predators.   Yellow-backed duikers have large scent glands underneath their eyes and in between their toes which they rub on trees to mark their territory.  Duikers will also use these glands to rub on their mates during courtship, familiarize young with their parents scent, and males will rub them on other males during competition.   You can see our yellow backed duikers on Bamboo Trail.        
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    May 27th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Zoovie Night, Presented by Southern Icee

    May 27th, 2016
    6:00pm - 10:00pm

    Join us for a fun family night under the stars!

    Zoovie Nights include games, inflatables, music, crafts and after-hour access to the carousel and zipline! When the sun goes down the evening’s feature film will play on a large inflatable screen, so pack a blanket and head to the Zoo!


    Movies

    • May 27: Minions
    • June 24: Kung Fu Panda
    • Sept. 2: How to Train Your Dragon 2

    Zoovie Cost

    Members - Free
    Non-Members - Included with day-of admission, OR $6 per person if entering after 6pm

    Event Schedule

    6 PM - Sunset

    Inflatables, DJ and games on Festival Field
    Face painting, crafts and concessions*
    Carousel and zipline open*
    *additional fees apply

    Sunset - Movie time!


    Inclement Weather

    In the case of inclement weather, please check the Zoo's Facebook page for up-to-date information. Weather-influenced cancellations will be made by 4:30pm on the day-of the event.


    Please note that Zoo animal trails will close at 6 pm and guests must stay in Festival Field area after Zoo closing time.




    Sponsored by:

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    May 28th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Galapagos Tortoise Keeper Talk

    May 28th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Critter Encounters
    The Galapagos Tortoise is the world's largest tortoise and can only be found in the Galapagos Islands west of South America. The tortoises will spend the cooler parts of the day low on the islands where it is dry and grassy, as the day warms up the tortoises will head to higher elevations where the vegetation is more lush. They usually travel the same path to these locations and will wear a path in the ground. Breeding season is January through August and the female will lay up to 10 eggs. You can find our Galapagos Tortoises in Critter Encounters.
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  • "Wingin' It" Animal Show

    May 28th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:25am
    Amphitheater

    Come learn about the incredible feats birds overcome to survive. As they soar over your head you'll understand just how all of these birds wing it out in the wild!

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  • Ring Tailed Lemur Keeper Talk

    May 28th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Bamboo Trail
    Ring-tailed lemurs live in southern areas of Madagascar in social groups of up to 25 members. These are mixed groups with males and females. Female ring-tailed lemurs are always dominant over males and there is one dominant female in each group. When the group travels together they will raise their long ringed tails to act as flags to locate other members of the group.  They will mark their territory by rubbing their scent glands on trees.  Breeding usually takes place between April-June with babies being born August-September.  Females will usually have 1-2 offspring. You can see our ring-tailed lemurs along the Bamboo Trail.
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  • Snowy Owl Keeper Talk

    May 28th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Critter Encounters

    These large ghost-like owls have white feathers to match their snowy arctic habitat. The males have mostly white feathers while females can also have brown or black markings. Snowy owls will usually breed in the arctic area of North America and Europe and migrate to warmer climates in the winter. Snowy owls like to spend the summer hunting in the nearly endless daylight of the arctic.

    Snowy owls build their nests on the ground and will return to the same site year after year. They fiercely protect this nest from other owls and even wolves! Females will lay up to 11 eggs which hatch about 32 days later. Snowy owls live to about 10 years of age.

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  • Alligator Feeding

    May 28th, 2016
    1:00pm - 1:15pm
    Alligator Cove
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  • Farm Keeper Talk

    May 28th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:45pm

    Many different animals have lived at Grassmere since the house was built in 1810. Many of the animals that you will see at the Grassmere Historic Farm are “heritage breeds,” traditional livestock breeds raised by farmers of the past but whose numbers have since fallen.

    Cattle grazed over much of the land that is now Nashville Zoo and at the Grassmere Historic Farm you can see Belted Galloway cattle which originally came from Scotland. They are known for high quality meat and milk while consuming less feed. 

    Sheep were raised at Grassmere during the 1860’s and 1920s-1930s. On the farm you can currently see Cotswold Sheep which originated in England. These sheep produce “long wool” which is popular with wool spinners. 

    You can also see American Milking Devon cattle which are used for meat, milk, or farm work; barn owls; and a Clydesdale whose feet are the size of your dinner plate! 


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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    May 28th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    May 28th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    May 28th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Destination Wild" Animal Show

    May 28th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:55pm
    Amphitheater

    Every species from flying predators to rain forest seed dispersers plays a critical role in the environment. Come meet some key players who keep nature in balance as we bring the wild to you!

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  • Tapir Keeper Talk

    May 28th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop
    Baird’s tapirs are one of five species of tapirs. Four species live in Central and South America and one species lives in Asia. The upper lip of the tapir forms a proboscis similar to an elephant’s trunk.  This is used to help them collect their food as they browse. Tapirs are born brown with white stripes and spots to help with camouflage and turn solid brown with age. 
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    May 28th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Zzzoofari Slumber - SOLD OUT

    Start: May 28, 2016
    4:00pm
    End: May 29, 2016
    9:00am

    Join us for a unique camping experience as you sleep under the stars just a short distance away from the snoozing animals.

    Zzzoofari Slumber is an overnight camp session for families and escorted children. Recommended for kids ages 4 - 12 years old. Enjoy a variety of activities during the evening and a full breakfast the next morning.

     

    Schedule of Activities

    • 4 - 6 pm - Crafts and Tent Set-up
    • 6 - 7:30 pm - Jungle Gym, Wild Animal Carousel, Soaring Eagle Zipline, Hayride, and Nashville Stars Animal Show (starts at 7pm)
    • 7:30 - 9:30 pm - Corn hole, inflatables, and campfire with hot dog and marshmallow roast

    Activities include hayrides, carousel and zipline rides (until 7pm), inflatables, an animal show, crafts, evening hot dog and marshmallow roast and a full breakfast in the morning.

     

    Packing list:

    • Tent
    • Sleeping bags, Pillows & Blankets
    • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste etc..)
    • Flashlight/ Battery powered lantern
    Recommended/Suggested Items:
    • Dinner Food/Snacks (to supplement the hot dog and marshmallow roast)
    • Camp chair or blanket
    • Musical instruments (any of you aspiring musicians out there are welcome to play or sing a little ditty around the campfire!)

    Pricing

    Members (age 4+) - $38
    Non-Members (age 4+) - $55
    Toddlers (age 2-4) - $15
    Groups of 8+ $30/each

    Pricing includes souvenir gift for registered children.



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  • Seahorse Keeper Talk

    May 29th, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World
    The seahorse is one of the most unique looking fish found in the ocean. It has a prehensile tail used to hold on to sea grass and coral. Seahorses have a voracious appetite and will eat for up to 10 hours a day; consuming more than 3,000 crustaceans during that time. Seahorses are monogamous, and will usually have one mate during their lifetime. During a mating dance the female will pass eggs to the male. He will then hold the fertilized eggs in his pouch until they emerge about 20 days later as miniature versions of an adult. Juvenile seahorses will reach maturity in 8-10 months. Seahorses are at risk due to overfishing and habitat degradation. 
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    May 29th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Docent-led Walking Tour

    May 29th, 2016
    10:00am - 11:00am

    Each Thursday and Saturday 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. There are two themed tours for you to enjoy. (Duration: less than an hour)

    “NASHVILLE ZOO AROUND THE WORLD” TOUR
    THURSDAY AT 10AM

    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.

    “WE ARE FAMILY” TOUR
    SATURDAY AT 10AM

    Many animals live in families or social groups just like we do. Animal families can be made up of just one or two parents, or even a large herd! This tour will teach you about the different strategies animals use when raising a family and the benefits animals get from living with their parents and adults.
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  • Snowy Owl Keeper Talk

    May 29th, 2016
    10:30am - 10:45am
    Critter Encounters

    These large ghost-like owls have white feathers to match their snowy arctic habitat. The males have mostly white feathers while females can also have brown or black markings. Snowy owls will usually breed in the arctic area of North America and Europe and migrate to warmer climates in the winter. Snowy owls like to spend the summer hunting in the nearly endless daylight of the arctic.

    Snowy owls build their nests on the ground and will return to the same site year after year. They fiercely protect this nest from other owls and even wolves! Females will lay up to 11 eggs which hatch about 32 days later. Snowy owls live to about 10 years of age.

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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    May 29th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • Red Panda Keeper Talk

    May 29th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Bamboo Trail
    The red pandas were once thought to be relatives of raccoons and bears but research has now put them in their own animal family Ailuridae. Red pandas are solitary and they rarely interact with another red panda outside of mating season. Breeding season is in the early winter with most births being in June. Similarly to their giant panda relatives red pandas have a wrist bone that acts like a thumb to help them grip bamboo. You can see our red pandas on Bamboo Trail.
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  • "Wingin' It" Animal Show

    May 29th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:25am
    Amphitheater

    Come learn about the incredible feats birds overcome to survive. As they soar over your head you'll understand just how all of these birds wing it out in the wild!

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  • Meerkat Keeper Talk

    May 29th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Zoo Central
    Meerkats are small mammals related to the mongoose. They live in underground burrows with up to 40 meerkats in groups called mobs. This large social group is key to the meerkats survival. You will see at least one individual on “sentry duty” looking out for predators while others will spend time grooming and playing together to maintain their tight bond. Meerkats are made for digging and can excavate huge burrow systems with many different rooms that provide protection from predators. These burrows can have 15 entrances and they stay a constant cool temperature even in the hot African sun. Be on the lookout for our meerkats near Zoo Central.
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    May 29th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    May 29th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • "Destination Wild" Animal Show

    May 29th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:55pm
    Amphitheater

    Every species from flying predators to rain forest seed dispersers plays a critical role in the environment. Come meet some key players who keep nature in balance as we bring the wild to you!

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  • Red River Hog Keeper Talk

    May 29th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    African Savannah
    Red river hogs are very social animals who will live in groups of up to 20. Groups are usually made up of 1 adult male, several females, and their piglets. They are mostly active once the sun sets where they will use their shovel like snouts to dig up roots or bulbs to eat, though red river hogs will eat most anything they find. Female hogs will give birth to about 1-4 piglets. Male offspring are forced out of their group at about one year of age. Male red river hogs will fight by butting heads, whipping each other with their tails, and will fluff their facial hair when threatened. You can see our red river hogs on the African Savannah.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    May 29th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Dwarf Caiman Keeper Talk

    May 30th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Dwarf caiman are the smallest species of crocodile.  They like to live in flooded forests with clean and fast-flowing rivers in South America.  They will be found alone or in pairs.  Breeding can occur throughout the year depending on the habitat and the female will lay 10-25 eggs in a nest that was built.  The sex of the eggs are determined by the temperature of the nest during the incubation period.  The eggs hatch after a 90 day incubation and the young will stay with the mother for several weeks.  Dwarf caiman are mainly nocturnal, spending the day in a burrow while going out at night to hunt.  You can see our dwarf caiman in Unseen New World.        
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    May 30th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Barn Owl Keeper Talk

    May 30th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Grassmere Historic Home and Farm

    Barns owls are the most widespread of any owl species and can be found in any habitat that meets their needs. As with other owls they swallow their prey whole and then cough up pellets which contain all the non-digestible parts of their prey such as bones and fur.

    Barn owls have great eyesight but they are renowned for their ability to hear extremely soft noises. A barn owl hunting in complete darkness can still locate and capture prey using sound alone. Barn owls have been known to nest in hollow trees and artificial nest boxes but earn their name by often taking up residence in old buildings such as abandoned barns and silos. You can see our barn owls at the Croft House barn.

     

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  • White-cheeked Gibbon Keeper Talk

    May 30th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Gibbon Islands
    Gibbons are not monkeys, but are considered lesser apes due in part to their lack of a tail and ability to walk bipedally on their back legs. Gibbons move through the trees by a process called brachiation which involves swinging using only their arms. Gibbons live in a family unit of an adult male and female and their offspring. The adult female is the dominant member of the group. White-cheeked gibbons are born blonde to camouflage with their mother and then turn black as juveniles. Females finally turn back to a blonde color at sexual maturity while the males stay black. You can see our gibbons on Gibbon Island near Entry Village. 
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    May 30th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    May 30th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • Africa Field Keeper Talk

    May 30th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm

    Africa field is home to several species including Ostrich, Eland, Bontebok, and other antelope species. 

    The ostrich is the largest flightless bird in the world. They can run about 40 miles an hour covering 10-16 feet with a single stride. The ostrich will often use their wings as rudders to help change direction quickly while running. Ostriches will live in groups of about 12 birds. All the females of the group will place their eggs in the nest of the dominant female. A single ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs! Ostriches can often be found around other grazing animals like antelope and zebras. Ostriches have great eyesight and will often alert other animals of predators in the area. It is myth that ostriches head their heads in the sand. They will put their necks close to the ground to try and hide from predators, from a distance it appears that their head is in the sand.

    Eland are one of the largest hooved animals in the world. They are very adaptable animals with the ability to live in all environments except deserts, forests, and swamps. They are some of the slowest antelope, running only 25 miles per hour. Eland will live in herds of up to 25. There may be more than one male but only the dominant male will have access to females for breeding. Calves are born after a 9 month gestation period and hide after they are born for protection. 

    The bontebok was nearly extinct in the wild but the creation of Bontebok National Park and breeding on game farms led to the current population of over 2,000 existing throughout southern Africa. Their current conservation status includes the closely related blesbok of which 250,000 exist. They graze during the day on grasses in small groups of about 10. Males will mark their territory with dung and participate in challenge rituals with neighboring males. Both males and females will grow horns. 

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  • Cassowary Keeper Talk

    May 30th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop

    Double-wattled cassowaries are solitary birds that live in some of the oldest rainforests in the world known as the “wet tropics.” They are the second largest birds in the world after the ostrich. They can be distinguished by their helmet-like casque atop their head and red wattles on their neck.

    Cassowaries are important to the diversity of the rainforest. They consume over 78 different species of plants. Their poop helps to germinate new plants by spreading the seeds of the consumed plants. Female cassowaries will lay their eggs and leave the males to do all the incubating and raising of the chicks for up to 9 months. You can see our cassowaries across from Kangaroo Kickabout.

     

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    May 30th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Tarantula Keeper Talk

    May 31st, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Unseen New World

    The Goliath Bird-eating Tarantula got its name from an explorer who spotted one eating a hummingbird, but their diet rarely consists of birds. Bird-eating tarantulas are the heaviest of all spiders and the second largest. They have inch long fangs which they use to infect venom into their prey. A bite would feel like a wasp sting to a human but it paralyzes its small prey. The tarantula then secretes digestive juices into its prey that turns its insides into liquid. Everything the tarantula eats must be in liquid form. Bird eating tarantulas do make webs, but they are not used to catch prey. They are used for shelter and protection. 50% of males are killed or injured during mating, which explains the dramatic difference in lifespans.

    You can see our Goliath Bird-eating Tarantula in Unseen New World.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    May 31st, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Flamingo Keeper Talk

    May 31st, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Flamingo Lagoon
    Caribbean flamingos are one of 6 species of flamingos which can be found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. During breeding season they gather in colonies of 5,000 - 100,000 birds. After attracting a partner through an elaborate mating dance a pair of flamingos will begin to build a mud mound on which the female will lay her egg. Both males and females will help incubate the egg and they share responsibilities in caring for the chick.  Flamingos are born gray and do not get their pink feathers until 1-3 years of age. Their diet contains carotenoid pigments which will give them their characteristic pink color. Flamingos are filter feeders and hold their head upside down in shallow water to strain out their food. Flamingos very rarely lay down and even sleep standing up, often only on one leg. You can see our flamingos in Flamingo Lagoon.
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  • Siamang Keeper Talk

    May 31st, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Gibbon Islands
    Commonly mistaken for monkeys, siamangs are actually the largest of the lesser ape species. Like all apes, they lack tails and have the ability to move bipedially on their back legs only. Siamangs spend most of their day in trees moving through a process called brachiation meaning they move from tree to tree using only their arms. Siamangs live in a family group consisting a breeding pair and their offspring. Females will give birth every 2-3 years. Siamangs have an enlarged throat sac which can swell to the size of their head to amplify their vocalizations you can hear throughout the zoo!
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    May 31st, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    May 31st, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • Yellow-backed Duiker Keeper Talk

    May 31st, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Yellow-backed duikers are the largest of all 15 species of duiker.  Adult duikers have black coats with a white face.  The yellow hair begins to appear on their back at 5-9 months and will stand up when the duiker feels threatened or becomes agitated. Little is known about the behavior of yellow-backed duikers due to their shy nature and the thick forests they call home.  Duikers will be solitary or live in a monogamous pair.  They can breed anytime during the year and typically have offspring twice a year.  Young duikers are hidden by their mothers in underbrush for the first several weeks of their life for protection from predators.   Due to their size duikers have to forage for much the day.  While foraging, duikers need to lookout for painted dogs, lions, and leopards.  One of their main defenses is to dive into the underbrush to evade predators.   Yellow-backed duikers have large scent glands underneath their eyes and in between their toes which they rub on trees to mark their territory.  Duikers will also use these glands to rub on their mates during courtship, familiarize young with their parents scent, and males will rub them on other males during competition.   You can see our yellow backed duikers on Bamboo Trail.        
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  • Rhinoceros Hornbill Keeper Talk

    May 31st, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm

    The rhinoceros hornbill is one of 54 species of hornbill that exist. The rhinoceros hornbill can be distinguished by its banana-shaped casque on the top of its beak. It is thought that this is used to amplify the sound of its call. It is made out of keratin, just like our fingernails and hair and is very strong and lightweight.

    Rhinoceros hornbills chose a nest high in a tree cavity. With The female inside a breeding pair works together to cover the opening with mud and scat, leaving only a small slit to pass food through. The female stays inside the nest for 3 months incubating and caring for the eggs. You can see our rhinoceros hornbill on Bamboo Trail.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    May 31st, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 1st, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Hellbender Keeper Talk

    Jun 1st, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Unseen New World

    The largest salamander in Tennessee, hellbenders can be found in the eastern two thirds of the state. Hellbender populations have gone through dramatic declines across their range over the last 20 years and are now a candidate species for endangered status listing. Hellbenders will spend their entire lives in water. They prefer cold fast moving water with high levels of oxygen due to the fact that 95% of their oxygen is absorbed through their skin. Their tiny eyes can detect light but are not very good at forming images. Hellbenders are solitary nocturnal animals who spend the daytime hiding under rocks. A meeting between two hellbenders will usually result in a fight between them. You can see our hellbenders in Unseen New World.

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  • Red Panda Keeper Talk

    Jun 1st, 2016
    10:30am - 10:45am
    Bamboo Trail
    The red pandas were once thought to be relatives of raccoons and bears but research has now put them in their own animal family Ailuridae. Red pandas are solitary and they rarely interact with another red panda outside of mating season. Breeding season is in the early winter with most births being in June. Similarly to their giant panda relatives red pandas have a wrist bone that acts like a thumb to help them grip bamboo. You can see our red pandas on Bamboo Trail.
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  • Saddle-Billed Stork Keeper Talk

    Jun 1st, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Zoo Central

    Saddle-billed storks are the tallest of all storks. The pointed beak of the stork is used to repeatedly stab in open water or marshlands looking for prey. Recognized by the yellow skin, or lappet, that covers the front of the bill like a “saddle.” Saddle-billed storks mate for life and each pair will build their nest away from other birds and will defend their territory from other birds. Their nests are large enough to hide the bird completely while in the nest. Female saddle-billed storks will lay up to 5 eggs and both the male and female incubate the eggs and raise the chicks in the nest. Storks are a symbol of fertility and good luck. You can see our saddle-billed storks across from the meerkats.

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  • Porcupine Keeper Talk

    Jun 1st, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Jungle Loop

    African crested porcupines are the largest porcupine in the world and the third largest rodent.  Despite popular beliefs no porcupine can shoot their quills.  If they feel threatened they will raise their quills to seem larger, stamp their feet and click their teeth, and rattle their quills.  If all of that fails the porcupine will ran backward and ram their attacker with their quills.  Porcupines form monogamous pairs, meaning they breed together for long periods of time.  Females will have 1-3 offspring called porcupettes who only stay with the mother for a few months.

    You can meet our three porcupines, Kiazi and his two offspring, Dave Sharpell and Jake Quillenhall (yes, those are their real names) on the Jungle Loop between Tapir and Cougar.

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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 1st, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Tapir Keeper Talk

    Jun 1st, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop
    Baird’s tapirs are one of five species of tapirs. Four species live in Central and South America and one species lives in Asia. The upper lip of the tapir forms a proboscis similar to an elephant’s trunk.  This is used to help them collect their food as they browse. Tapirs are born brown with white stripes and spots to help with camouflage and turn solid brown with age. 
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  • Rhinoceros Hornbill Keeper Talk

    Jun 1st, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm

    The rhinoceros hornbill is one of 54 species of hornbill that exist. The rhinoceros hornbill can be distinguished by its banana-shaped casque on the top of its beak. It is thought that this is used to amplify the sound of its call. It is made out of keratin, just like our fingernails and hair and is very strong and lightweight.

    Rhinoceros hornbills chose a nest high in a tree cavity. With The female inside a breeding pair works together to cover the opening with mud and scat, leaving only a small slit to pass food through. The female stays inside the nest for 3 months incubating and caring for the eggs. You can see our rhinoceros hornbill on Bamboo Trail.

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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 1st, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 1st, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • River Tank Feeding

    Jun 2nd, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World

    Some of the largest rivers on Earth travel through tropical rain forests. The Amazon has 1,100 tributaries, carries over 500 billion cubic feet of water per day, and has a mouth that is nearly 300 miles wide. Rivers that size have tremendous diversity within them and along their banks, including insects, reptiles, invertebrates, fish, and mammals.

    Within the river tanks in Unseen New World you can see some of this diversity including several species of cichlids. There are over 1600 species of cichlids making them one of the largest vertebrate families in the animal kingdom. You can spot Silver Arowana which can trace their ancestors back to dinosaurs from the Jurassic period. The white-blotched river stingray, one of the rarest in the world, is also visible in the river tanks. You can also spot some of the reptile diversity of tropical rivers such as the green basilisk which is known for its ability to run across water to escape danger. 

    Visiting the river tanks in Unseen New World allows you to get a small glimpse of the great diversity found in tropical rivers. 

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  • Docent-led Walking Tour

    Jun 2nd, 2016
    10:00am - 11:00am

    Each Thursday and Saturday 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. There are two themed tours for you to enjoy. (Duration: less than an hour)

    “NASHVILLE ZOO AROUND THE WORLD” TOUR
    THURSDAY AT 10AM

    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.

    “WE ARE FAMILY” TOUR
    SATURDAY AT 10AM

    Many animals live in families or social groups just like we do. Animal families can be made up of just one or two parents, or even a large herd! This tour will teach you about the different strategies animals use when raising a family and the benefits animals get from living with their parents and adults.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 2nd, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 2nd, 2016
    10:30am - 10:45am
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • Flamingo Keeper Talk

    Jun 2nd, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Flamingo Lagoon
    Caribbean flamingos are one of 6 species of flamingos which can be found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. During breeding season they gather in colonies of 5,000 - 100,000 birds. After attracting a partner through an elaborate mating dance a pair of flamingos will begin to build a mud mound on which the female will lay her egg. Both males and females will help incubate the egg and they share responsibilities in caring for the chick.  Flamingos are born gray and do not get their pink feathers until 1-3 years of age. Their diet contains carotenoid pigments which will give them their characteristic pink color. Flamingos are filter feeders and hold their head upside down in shallow water to strain out their food. Flamingos very rarely lay down and even sleep standing up, often only on one leg. You can see our flamingos in Flamingo Lagoon.
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 2nd, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Africa Field Keeper Talk

    Jun 2nd, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm

    Africa field is home to several species including Ostrich, Eland, Bontebok, and other antelope species. 

    The ostrich is the largest flightless bird in the world. They can run about 40 miles an hour covering 10-16 feet with a single stride. The ostrich will often use their wings as rudders to help change direction quickly while running. Ostriches will live in groups of about 12 birds. All the females of the group will place their eggs in the nest of the dominant female. A single ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs! Ostriches can often be found around other grazing animals like antelope and zebras. Ostriches have great eyesight and will often alert other animals of predators in the area. It is myth that ostriches head their heads in the sand. They will put their necks close to the ground to try and hide from predators, from a distance it appears that their head is in the sand.

    Eland are one of the largest hooved animals in the world. They are very adaptable animals with the ability to live in all environments except deserts, forests, and swamps. They are some of the slowest antelope, running only 25 miles per hour. Eland will live in herds of up to 25. There may be more than one male but only the dominant male will have access to females for breeding. Calves are born after a 9 month gestation period and hide after they are born for protection. 

    The bontebok was nearly extinct in the wild but the creation of Bontebok National Park and breeding on game farms led to the current population of over 2,000 existing throughout southern Africa. Their current conservation status includes the closely related blesbok of which 250,000 exist. They graze during the day on grasses in small groups of about 10. Males will mark their territory with dung and participate in challenge rituals with neighboring males. Both males and females will grow horns. 

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  • Red River Hog Keeper Talk

    Jun 2nd, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    African Savannah
    Red river hogs are very social animals who will live in groups of up to 20. Groups are usually made up of 1 adult male, several females, and their piglets. They are mostly active once the sun sets where they will use their shovel like snouts to dig up roots or bulbs to eat, though red river hogs will eat most anything they find. Female hogs will give birth to about 1-4 piglets. Male offspring are forced out of their group at about one year of age. Male red river hogs will fight by butting heads, whipping each other with their tails, and will fluff their facial hair when threatened. You can see our red river hogs on the African Savannah.
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  • Cassowary Keeper Talk

    Jun 2nd, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:00pm
    Jungle Loop

    Double-wattled cassowaries are solitary birds that live in some of the oldest rainforests in the world known as the “wet tropics.” They are the second largest birds in the world after the ostrich. They can be distinguished by their helmet-like casque atop their head and red wattles on their neck.

    Cassowaries are important to the diversity of the rainforest. They consume over 78 different species of plants. Their poop helps to germinate new plants by spreading the seeds of the consumed plants. Female cassowaries will lay their eggs and leave the males to do all the incubating and raising of the chicks for up to 9 months. You can see our cassowaries across from Kangaroo Kickabout.

     

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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    Jun 2nd, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 2nd, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Rhino Iguana Keeper Talk

    Jun 3rd, 2016
    9:30am - 9:45am
    Unseen New World
    The rhinoceros iguana gets its name from the bumps on its snout which are most pronounced on male iguanas.  Breeding will happen at 2 to 3 years of age with males using head bobs and their spines along their back to attract females.  Females will dig burrows to incubate the eggs, there is no parental care after the eggs hatch.  Rhinoceros iguanas are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day.  They spend their nights in rock crevices, caves, or burrows they have dug.  Rhinoceros iguanas are threatened by habitat destruction, invasive species, and illegal hunting.  You can see our iguanas inside Unseen New World.        
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  • Bat Keeper Talk

    Jun 3rd, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World

    Bats are the only mammals with wings that can fly.  Bats are very important to the ecosystems in which they live as they help to pollinate many of the plants that are found in each habitat.  The short-tailed leaf nose bats will enter into a state similar to hibernation called torpor when food is lacking.  They will roost in two distinct groups; harems with one adult male and several adult females, and bachelor groups of sub-adult males.  Mating can occur twice a year and females will give birth to one baby.  Short-tailed lead nose bats also love to eat mosquitoes!  You can thank them for that when you see them in the Unseen New World.   

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 3rd, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Saddle-Billed Stork Keeper Talk

    Jun 3rd, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Zoo Central

    Saddle-billed storks are the tallest of all storks. The pointed beak of the stork is used to repeatedly stab in open water or marshlands looking for prey. Recognized by the yellow skin, or lappet, that covers the front of the bill like a “saddle.” Saddle-billed storks mate for life and each pair will build their nest away from other birds and will defend their territory from other birds. Their nests are large enough to hide the bird completely while in the nest. Female saddle-billed storks will lay up to 5 eggs and both the male and female incubate the eggs and raise the chicks in the nest. Storks are a symbol of fertility and good luck. You can see our saddle-billed storks across from the meerkats.

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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 3rd, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Barn Owl Keeper Talk

    Jun 3rd, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:45pm
    Grassmere Historic Home and Farm

    Barns owls are the most widespread of any owl species and can be found in any habitat that meets their needs. As with other owls they swallow their prey whole and then cough up pellets which contain all the non-digestible parts of their prey such as bones and fur.

    Barn owls have great eyesight but they are renowned for their ability to hear extremely soft noises. A barn owl hunting in complete darkness can still locate and capture prey using sound alone. Barn owls have been known to nest in hollow trees and artificial nest boxes but earn their name by often taking up residence in old buildings such as abandoned barns and silos. You can see our barn owls at the Croft House barn.

     

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  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    Jun 3rd, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Yellow-backed Duiker Keeper Talk

    Jun 3rd, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Yellow-backed duikers are the largest of all 15 species of duiker.  Adult duikers have black coats with a white face.  The yellow hair begins to appear on their back at 5-9 months and will stand up when the duiker feels threatened or becomes agitated. Little is known about the behavior of yellow-backed duikers due to their shy nature and the thick forests they call home.  Duikers will be solitary or live in a monogamous pair.  They can breed anytime during the year and typically have offspring twice a year.  Young duikers are hidden by their mothers in underbrush for the first several weeks of their life for protection from predators.   Due to their size duikers have to forage for much the day.  While foraging, duikers need to lookout for painted dogs, lions, and leopards.  One of their main defenses is to dive into the underbrush to evade predators.   Yellow-backed duikers have large scent glands underneath their eyes and in between their toes which they rub on trees to mark their territory.  Duikers will also use these glands to rub on their mates during courtship, familiarize young with their parents scent, and males will rub them on other males during competition.   You can see our yellow backed duikers on Bamboo Trail.        
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 3rd, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 3rd, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Brew at the Zoo, presented by ML Rose

    Jun 3rd, 2016
    6:30pm - 11:00pm

    BREW AT THE ZOO ON TAP FOR June 3!

    Nashville Zoo welcomes all species of beer lovers to the fifth annual Brew at the Zoo happening on Friday, June 3 from 6:30pm to 11pm.

    Animals, live music, local food trucks and 100 craft beers are on tap at this unique after-hours event voted the 2014 best beer event in Nashville by Nashville Scene.

    Please note: The Zoo will close at 5 p.m. to prepare for Brew at the Zoo.

    Buy tickets!


     

    TICKET TYPES & DETAILS

    Early bird tickets will go on sale on Monday, April 4th. Early bird rates end on April 17!

    GENERAL ADMISSION

    Regular - $65
    • Includes commemorative tasting glass and unlimited 2oz samples from all participating craft breweries.
    • Includes half price admission to the Zoo in the month of June. You must have your ticket stub to receive discount.

    VIP ADMISSION

    Regular - $125
    • Everything included in General Admission
    • Complimentary Event T-shirt
    • Free access to the Conservation Lounge
    • Food pairings with select beers & wines in a VIP Lounge (6:30-9pm)
    • Unlimited rides on carousel and Soaring Eagle zip line (while open)

    DESIGNATED DRIVER TICKET

    GA - $25 | VIP - $55
    • You must still be 21+.
    • You will not receive a tasting glass. You will receive a water and snack voucher.
    • Includes half price admission to the Zoo in the month of June. You must have your ticket stub to receive discount.

     

    Buy tickets!

     

    ADD ON CONSERVATION LOUNGE ACCESS - $10/ADVANCE OR $15/AT DOOR
    • Get access to this swanky lounge complete with lounge seating, an exclusive brewery, door prizes and much more.
    • Door prizes include gift cards to local entertainment venues, restaurants, hotels, and much more.
    • All proceeds support "Save Vietnam's Wildlife" – a national non-profit committed to rescuing, protecting & increasing the threatened wildlife of Vietnam and securing the habitats of animals such as pangolins, civets, and binturoungs.
    • Limited access will be given so reserve your spot in advance.

     

     

    ADD ON SHUTTLE SERVICE - $5

     

    • In partnership with Anchor Transportation we are offering discounted round-trip shuttles to and from Brew at the Zoo from four areas of town.
    • You must pre-register and have a shuttle ticket to board the shuttle.
    • We must reach a minimum of 40 passengers per shuttle to ensure that each shuttle runs, so spread the word and take advantage of this incredible service.
    • Shuttles will leave each pick-up location promptly at the scheduled times and then depart from the Nashville Zoo at 11:15pm.

    See the schedule and register for shuttle service here.

     


    breweries

    • 2nd Shift
    • Apple Knocker Cider
    • Bell's Brewery
    • Black Abbey
    • Blackhorse
    • Blackstone
    • Blue Moon
    • Blue Pants
    • Bold Rock
    • Crazy Mountain
    • Devil's Backbone
    • Dogfish Head
    • Duck Rabbit
    • Founders Brewing Co.
    • Ghost River
    • Good People Brewing Co.
    • Grayton Brewery
    • Hap & Harrys
    • Hi Wire
    • Highland Brewery
    • Honky Tonk
    • Jackalope Brewing Co.
    • Lagunitas
    • Leinenkugels
    • Little Harpeth Brewing
    • Mill Creek
    • Napa Smith
    • New Belgium
    • North Coast
    • Old Shed Brewery
    • Oskar Blues Brewery
    • Red Hare
    • Roots Cider
    • Sam Adams
    • Saw Works
    • Schlafy
    • Schmaltz
    • Sierra Nevada
    • Sixpoint
    • Southern Prohibition
    • Starr Hill Brewery
    • Straight to Ale
    • Sweetwater
    • Tailgate
    • Tin Man Brewing
    • TN Brew Works
    • Turtle Anarchy
    • Wiseacre
    • Yazoo
    • Yee Haw
    • Yellowhammer

    food

    • Banh Mi & Roll Factory
    • Bao Down
    • Califarmia
    • Cousins Maine Lobster
    • Crepe A Diem Food Truck
    • DegThai
    • Funk Seoul Brother
    • Hoss' Loaded Burgers
    • King Tut's Food Truck
    • Music City Brisket
    • Steaming Goat Food Truck
    • The Grilled Cheeserie
    • Yayo's OMG

     


     

    event rules

    • This event is ages 21+ only, no exceptions. Children are not permitted.
    • No public urination – if found in the bushes you will be removed.
    • No weapons of any kind.
    • No illegal substances.
    • Smoking (including vaping) is only permitted in a designated area, which will be noted on the festival map. Please do not smoke anywhere else. If found smoking in other areas, you will be asked to leave.
    • No bags or backpacks. Small purses are allowed.
    • No outside food or beverages. Water will be provided. Empty reusable water bottles are permitted.
    • No pets.
    • Please respect yourself, your fellow Brew patrons and the Zoo property.

    travel information

    Be responsible. Don’t drink and drive.
    • Parking at Nashville Zoo will be FREE starting at 6pm. Please remember that parking is free during the event, but if you leave your car overnight it must be removed from the Zoo between 6am and 9am or your car will be towed.
    • In partnership with Anchor Transportation we are offering discounted round-trip shuttles to and from Brew at the Zoo from four areas of town. You must pre-register and have a shuttle ticket to board the shuttle.

     


     

    Volunteer at Brew at the Zoo!

    Volunteer at Nashville’s most unique craft beer event! Volunteers assist with event set up, attractions, pour beer at stations and help as runners/floaters. The event has live music, activities, a conservation competition, food trucks and over 100 craft beers on tap. Stations are set up throughout the park. Groups are welcome but each volunteer in the group must sign up individually on the Zoo website online form as it’s an agreement. Group volunteers must indicate their group affiliation in the comment box provided on the form. No walk-ups, volunteers must sign up and be confirmed in advance in order to participate. One shift available: 5:30-10:30pm. Volunteers must be 21 and older. Volunteer sign up is now closed.

     


     

    Presented By:

    Supported By:

     
     

     

     

     

     

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  • Komodo Dragon Keeper Talk

    Jun 4th, 2016
    9:30am - 9:45am
    Critter Encounters

    Komodo dragons change drastically throughout their lives. When they hatch they are about 10-13 inches long and yellow, green, and black. By the time they reach about 10 years of age they will be 7-9 feet and can weigh almost 300 pounds and be a dull gray or brown. As juveniles the Komodo dragons will live in trees and roll in fecal matter to protect themselves from getting eaten by adults.

    You can see our Komodo dragons in Unseen New World.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 4th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

    More Details
  • Galapagos Tortoise Keeper Talk

    Jun 4th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Critter Encounters
    The Galapagos Tortoise is the world's largest tortoise and can only be found in the Galapagos Islands west of South America. The tortoises will spend the cooler parts of the day low on the islands where it is dry and grassy, as the day warms up the tortoises will head to higher elevations where the vegetation is more lush. They usually travel the same path to these locations and will wear a path in the ground. Breeding season is January through August and the female will lay up to 10 eggs. You can find our Galapagos Tortoises in Critter Encounters.
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  • Ring Tailed Lemur Keeper Talk

    Jun 4th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Bamboo Trail
    Ring-tailed lemurs live in southern areas of Madagascar in social groups of up to 25 members. These are mixed groups with males and females. Female ring-tailed lemurs are always dominant over males and there is one dominant female in each group. When the group travels together they will raise their long ringed tails to act as flags to locate other members of the group.  They will mark their territory by rubbing their scent glands on trees.  Breeding usually takes place between April-June with babies being born August-September.  Females will usually have 1-2 offspring. You can see our ring-tailed lemurs along the Bamboo Trail.
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  • Snowy Owl Keeper Talk

    Jun 4th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Critter Encounters

    These large ghost-like owls have white feathers to match their snowy arctic habitat. The males have mostly white feathers while females can also have brown or black markings. Snowy owls will usually breed in the arctic area of North America and Europe and migrate to warmer climates in the winter. Snowy owls like to spend the summer hunting in the nearly endless daylight of the arctic.

    Snowy owls build their nests on the ground and will return to the same site year after year. They fiercely protect this nest from other owls and even wolves! Females will lay up to 11 eggs which hatch about 32 days later. Snowy owls live to about 10 years of age.

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  • Alligator Feeding

    Jun 4th, 2016
    1:00pm - 1:15pm
    Alligator Cove
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  • Farm Keeper Talk

    Jun 4th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:45pm

    Many different animals have lived at Grassmere since the house was built in 1810. Many of the animals that you will see at the Grassmere Historic Farm are “heritage breeds,” traditional livestock breeds raised by farmers of the past but whose numbers have since fallen.

    Cattle grazed over much of the land that is now Nashville Zoo and at the Grassmere Historic Farm you can see Belted Galloway cattle which originally came from Scotland. They are known for high quality meat and milk while consuming less feed. 

    Sheep were raised at Grassmere during the 1860’s and 1920s-1930s. On the farm you can currently see Cotswold Sheep which originated in England. These sheep produce “long wool” which is popular with wool spinners. 

    You can also see American Milking Devon cattle which are used for meat, milk, or farm work; barn owls; and a Clydesdale whose feet are the size of your dinner plate! 


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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 4th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

    More Details
  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    Jun 4th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Tapir Keeper Talk

    Jun 4th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop
    Baird’s tapirs are one of five species of tapirs. Four species live in Central and South America and one species lives in Asia. The upper lip of the tapir forms a proboscis similar to an elephant’s trunk.  This is used to help them collect their food as they browse. Tapirs are born brown with white stripes and spots to help with camouflage and turn solid brown with age. 
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 4th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
    More Details
  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 4th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Bugs, Biomes and Badges Girl Scout Campout

    Start: Jun 4, 2016
    4:30pm
    End: Jun 5, 2016
    9:00am
    Nashville Zoo

    Join us at Nashville Zoo for a truly WILD Girl Scout Campout Experience!

    Girl Scout Campout registration will close on Friday, May 27, 2016.

    This evening of fun, friends and learning is designed for Brownies and Juniors.


    Badges:

    Brownies will be able to earn Bug badge
    Juniors will be able to earn the Animal Habitats badge.


    Itinerary:

    Saturday
    • After check-in Juniors and Brownies will split up to participate in the Badge Stations set up around festival field and in the Jungle Terrace.
    • After completing activity stations scouts will go to Amphitheater for the Animal Presentation.
    • The evening ends at the campfire on festival field with marshmallows.
    Sunday
    • In the morning a breakfast is served and tents will be broken down.
    • Program fee includes admission to the zoo on Sunday.

    Cost of Program:

    $35 per scout
    $35 for adults
    Includes admission to the Zoo on Sunday.

    Register

    Campout includes:

    • Overnight camping in your own tent on Festival Field
    • Admission to the Zoo on Sunday
    • Marshmallows
    • Two Campfires
    • An all inclusive breakfast of scrambled eggs, ham, toast, milk and coffee

    Additional Information

    Saturday night check-in starts at 4:30 p.m. with program starting at 6 p.m. Check-out 9 a.m. Troops have admission to the Zoo on Sunday. Participants will need to eat dinner before program starts.

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  • Seahorse Keeper Talk

    Jun 5th, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World
    The seahorse is one of the most unique looking fish found in the ocean. It has a prehensile tail used to hold on to sea grass and coral. Seahorses have a voracious appetite and will eat for up to 10 hours a day; consuming more than 3,000 crustaceans during that time. Seahorses are monogamous, and will usually have one mate during their lifetime. During a mating dance the female will pass eggs to the male. He will then hold the fertilized eggs in his pouch until they emerge about 20 days later as miniature versions of an adult. Juvenile seahorses will reach maturity in 8-10 months. Seahorses are at risk due to overfishing and habitat degradation. 
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 5th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

    More Details
  • Docent-led Walking Tour

    Jun 5th, 2016
    10:00am - 11:00am

    Each Thursday and Saturday 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. There are two themed tours for you to enjoy. (Duration: less than an hour)

    “NASHVILLE ZOO AROUND THE WORLD” TOUR
    THURSDAY AT 10AM

    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.

    “WE ARE FAMILY” TOUR
    SATURDAY AT 10AM

    Many animals live in families or social groups just like we do. Animal families can be made up of just one or two parents, or even a large herd! This tour will teach you about the different strategies animals use when raising a family and the benefits animals get from living with their parents and adults.
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  • Snowy Owl Keeper Talk

    Jun 5th, 2016
    10:30am - 10:45am
    Critter Encounters

    These large ghost-like owls have white feathers to match their snowy arctic habitat. The males have mostly white feathers while females can also have brown or black markings. Snowy owls will usually breed in the arctic area of North America and Europe and migrate to warmer climates in the winter. Snowy owls like to spend the summer hunting in the nearly endless daylight of the arctic.

    Snowy owls build their nests on the ground and will return to the same site year after year. They fiercely protect this nest from other owls and even wolves! Females will lay up to 11 eggs which hatch about 32 days later. Snowy owls live to about 10 years of age.

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  • Meerkat Keeper Talk

    Jun 5th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Zoo Central
    Meerkats are small mammals related to the mongoose. They live in underground burrows with up to 40 meerkats in groups called mobs. This large social group is key to the meerkats survival. You will see at least one individual on “sentry duty” looking out for predators while others will spend time grooming and playing together to maintain their tight bond. Meerkats are made for digging and can excavate huge burrow systems with many different rooms that provide protection from predators. These burrows can have 15 entrances and they stay a constant cool temperature even in the hot African sun. Be on the lookout for our meerkats near Zoo Central.
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 5th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

    More Details
  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    Jun 5th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Red River Hog Keeper Talk

    Jun 5th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    African Savannah
    Red river hogs are very social animals who will live in groups of up to 20. Groups are usually made up of 1 adult male, several females, and their piglets. They are mostly active once the sun sets where they will use their shovel like snouts to dig up roots or bulbs to eat, though red river hogs will eat most anything they find. Female hogs will give birth to about 1-4 piglets. Male offspring are forced out of their group at about one year of age. Male red river hogs will fight by butting heads, whipping each other with their tails, and will fluff their facial hair when threatened. You can see our red river hogs on the African Savannah.
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 5th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 5th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 6th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Dwarf Caiman Keeper Talk

    Jun 6th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Dwarf caiman are the smallest species of crocodile.  They like to live in flooded forests with clean and fast-flowing rivers in South America.  They will be found alone or in pairs.  Breeding can occur throughout the year depending on the habitat and the female will lay 10-25 eggs in a nest that was built.  The sex of the eggs are determined by the temperature of the nest during the incubation period.  The eggs hatch after a 90 day incubation and the young will stay with the mother for several weeks.  Dwarf caiman are mainly nocturnal, spending the day in a burrow while going out at night to hunt.  You can see our dwarf caiman in Unseen New World.        
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  • Barn Owl Keeper Talk

    Jun 6th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Grassmere Historic Home and Farm

    Barns owls are the most widespread of any owl species and can be found in any habitat that meets their needs. As with other owls they swallow their prey whole and then cough up pellets which contain all the non-digestible parts of their prey such as bones and fur.

    Barn owls have great eyesight but they are renowned for their ability to hear extremely soft noises. A barn owl hunting in complete darkness can still locate and capture prey using sound alone. Barn owls have been known to nest in hollow trees and artificial nest boxes but earn their name by often taking up residence in old buildings such as abandoned barns and silos. You can see our barn owls at the Croft House barn.

     

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  • White-cheeked Gibbon Keeper Talk

    Jun 6th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Gibbon Islands
    Gibbons are not monkeys, but are considered lesser apes due in part to their lack of a tail and ability to walk bipedally on their back legs. Gibbons move through the trees by a process called brachiation which involves swinging using only their arms. Gibbons live in a family unit of an adult male and female and their offspring. The adult female is the dominant member of the group. White-cheeked gibbons are born blonde to camouflage with their mother and then turn black as juveniles. Females finally turn back to a blonde color at sexual maturity while the males stay black. You can see our gibbons on Gibbon Island near Entry Village. 
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 6th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Africa Field Keeper Talk

    Jun 6th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm

    Africa field is home to several species including Ostrich, Eland, Bontebok, and other antelope species. 

    The ostrich is the largest flightless bird in the world. They can run about 40 miles an hour covering 10-16 feet with a single stride. The ostrich will often use their wings as rudders to help change direction quickly while running. Ostriches will live in groups of about 12 birds. All the females of the group will place their eggs in the nest of the dominant female. A single ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs! Ostriches can often be found around other grazing animals like antelope and zebras. Ostriches have great eyesight and will often alert other animals of predators in the area. It is myth that ostriches head their heads in the sand. They will put their necks close to the ground to try and hide from predators, from a distance it appears that their head is in the sand.

    Eland are one of the largest hooved animals in the world. They are very adaptable animals with the ability to live in all environments except deserts, forests, and swamps. They are some of the slowest antelope, running only 25 miles per hour. Eland will live in herds of up to 25. There may be more than one male but only the dominant male will have access to females for breeding. Calves are born after a 9 month gestation period and hide after they are born for protection. 

    The bontebok was nearly extinct in the wild but the creation of Bontebok National Park and breeding on game farms led to the current population of over 2,000 existing throughout southern Africa. Their current conservation status includes the closely related blesbok of which 250,000 exist. They graze during the day on grasses in small groups of about 10. Males will mark their territory with dung and participate in challenge rituals with neighboring males. Both males and females will grow horns. 

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  • Cassowary Keeper Talk

    Jun 6th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop

    Double-wattled cassowaries are solitary birds that live in some of the oldest rainforests in the world known as the “wet tropics.” They are the second largest birds in the world after the ostrich. They can be distinguished by their helmet-like casque atop their head and red wattles on their neck.

    Cassowaries are important to the diversity of the rainforest. They consume over 78 different species of plants. Their poop helps to germinate new plants by spreading the seeds of the consumed plants. Female cassowaries will lay their eggs and leave the males to do all the incubating and raising of the chicks for up to 9 months. You can see our cassowaries across from Kangaroo Kickabout.

     

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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    Jun 6th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 6th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Tarantula Keeper Talk

    Jun 7th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Unseen New World

    The Goliath Bird-eating Tarantula got its name from an explorer who spotted one eating a hummingbird, but their diet rarely consists of birds. Bird-eating tarantulas are the heaviest of all spiders and the second largest. They have inch long fangs which they use to infect venom into their prey. A bite would feel like a wasp sting to a human but it paralyzes its small prey. The tarantula then secretes digestive juices into its prey that turns its insides into liquid. Everything the tarantula eats must be in liquid form. Bird eating tarantulas do make webs, but they are not used to catch prey. They are used for shelter and protection. 50% of males are killed or injured during mating, which explains the dramatic difference in lifespans.

    You can see our Goliath Bird-eating Tarantula in Unseen New World.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 7th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Flamingo Keeper Talk

    Jun 7th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Flamingo Lagoon
    Caribbean flamingos are one of 6 species of flamingos which can be found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. During breeding season they gather in colonies of 5,000 - 100,000 birds. After attracting a partner through an elaborate mating dance a pair of flamingos will begin to build a mud mound on which the female will lay her egg. Both males and females will help incubate the egg and they share responsibilities in caring for the chick.  Flamingos are born gray and do not get their pink feathers until 1-3 years of age. Their diet contains carotenoid pigments which will give them their characteristic pink color. Flamingos are filter feeders and hold their head upside down in shallow water to strain out their food. Flamingos very rarely lay down and even sleep standing up, often only on one leg. You can see our flamingos in Flamingo Lagoon.
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  • Siamang Keeper Talk

    Jun 7th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Gibbon Islands
    Commonly mistaken for monkeys, siamangs are actually the largest of the lesser ape species. Like all apes, they lack tails and have the ability to move bipedially on their back legs only. Siamangs spend most of their day in trees moving through a process called brachiation meaning they move from tree to tree using only their arms. Siamangs live in a family group consisting a breeding pair and their offspring. Females will give birth every 2-3 years. Siamangs have an enlarged throat sac which can swell to the size of their head to amplify their vocalizations you can hear throughout the zoo!
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 7th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Yellow-backed Duiker Keeper Talk

    Jun 7th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Yellow-backed duikers are the largest of all 15 species of duiker.  Adult duikers have black coats with a white face.  The yellow hair begins to appear on their back at 5-9 months and will stand up when the duiker feels threatened or becomes agitated. Little is known about the behavior of yellow-backed duikers due to their shy nature and the thick forests they call home.  Duikers will be solitary or live in a monogamous pair.  They can breed anytime during the year and typically have offspring twice a year.  Young duikers are hidden by their mothers in underbrush for the first several weeks of their life for protection from predators.   Due to their size duikers have to forage for much the day.  While foraging, duikers need to lookout for painted dogs, lions, and leopards.  One of their main defenses is to dive into the underbrush to evade predators.   Yellow-backed duikers have large scent glands underneath their eyes and in between their toes which they rub on trees to mark their territory.  Duikers will also use these glands to rub on their mates during courtship, familiarize young with their parents scent, and males will rub them on other males during competition.   You can see our yellow backed duikers on Bamboo Trail.        
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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    Jun 7th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • Rhinoceros Hornbill Keeper Talk

    Jun 7th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm

    The rhinoceros hornbill is one of 54 species of hornbill that exist. The rhinoceros hornbill can be distinguished by its banana-shaped casque on the top of its beak. It is thought that this is used to amplify the sound of its call. It is made out of keratin, just like our fingernails and hair and is very strong and lightweight.

    Rhinoceros hornbills chose a nest high in a tree cavity. With The female inside a breeding pair works together to cover the opening with mud and scat, leaving only a small slit to pass food through. The female stays inside the nest for 3 months incubating and caring for the eggs. You can see our rhinoceros hornbill on Bamboo Trail.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 7th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Hellbender Keeper Talk

    Jun 8th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Unseen New World

    The largest salamander in Tennessee, hellbenders can be found in the eastern two thirds of the state. Hellbender populations have gone through dramatic declines across their range over the last 20 years and are now a candidate species for endangered status listing. Hellbenders will spend their entire lives in water. They prefer cold fast moving water with high levels of oxygen due to the fact that 95% of their oxygen is absorbed through their skin. Their tiny eyes can detect light but are not very good at forming images. Hellbenders are solitary nocturnal animals who spend the daytime hiding under rocks. A meeting between two hellbenders will usually result in a fight between them. You can see our hellbenders in Unseen New World.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 8th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Red Panda Keeper Talk

    Jun 8th, 2016
    10:30am - 10:45am
    Bamboo Trail
    The red pandas were once thought to be relatives of raccoons and bears but research has now put them in their own animal family Ailuridae. Red pandas are solitary and they rarely interact with another red panda outside of mating season. Breeding season is in the early winter with most births being in June. Similarly to their giant panda relatives red pandas have a wrist bone that acts like a thumb to help them grip bamboo. You can see our red pandas on Bamboo Trail.
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  • Saddle-Billed Stork Keeper Talk

    Jun 8th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Zoo Central

    Saddle-billed storks are the tallest of all storks. The pointed beak of the stork is used to repeatedly stab in open water or marshlands looking for prey. Recognized by the yellow skin, or lappet, that covers the front of the bill like a “saddle.” Saddle-billed storks mate for life and each pair will build their nest away from other birds and will defend their territory from other birds. Their nests are large enough to hide the bird completely while in the nest. Female saddle-billed storks will lay up to 5 eggs and both the male and female incubate the eggs and raise the chicks in the nest. Storks are a symbol of fertility and good luck. You can see our saddle-billed storks across from the meerkats.

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  • Porcupine Keeper Talk

    Jun 8th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Jungle Loop

    African crested porcupines are the largest porcupine in the world and the third largest rodent.  Despite popular beliefs no porcupine can shoot their quills.  If they feel threatened they will raise their quills to seem larger, stamp their feet and click their teeth, and rattle their quills.  If all of that fails the porcupine will ran backward and ram their attacker with their quills.  Porcupines form monogamous pairs, meaning they breed together for long periods of time.  Females will have 1-3 offspring called porcupettes who only stay with the mother for a few months.

    You can meet our three porcupines, Kiazi and his two offspring, Dave Sharpell and Jake Quillenhall (yes, those are their real names) on the Jungle Loop between Tapir and Cougar.

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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 8th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Tapir Keeper Talk

    Jun 8th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop
    Baird’s tapirs are one of five species of tapirs. Four species live in Central and South America and one species lives in Asia. The upper lip of the tapir forms a proboscis similar to an elephant’s trunk.  This is used to help them collect their food as they browse. Tapirs are born brown with white stripes and spots to help with camouflage and turn solid brown with age. 
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  • Rhinoceros Hornbill Keeper Talk

    Jun 8th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm

    The rhinoceros hornbill is one of 54 species of hornbill that exist. The rhinoceros hornbill can be distinguished by its banana-shaped casque on the top of its beak. It is thought that this is used to amplify the sound of its call. It is made out of keratin, just like our fingernails and hair and is very strong and lightweight.

    Rhinoceros hornbills chose a nest high in a tree cavity. With The female inside a breeding pair works together to cover the opening with mud and scat, leaving only a small slit to pass food through. The female stays inside the nest for 3 months incubating and caring for the eggs. You can see our rhinoceros hornbill on Bamboo Trail.

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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 8th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 8th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • River Tank Feeding

    Jun 9th, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World

    Some of the largest rivers on Earth travel through tropical rain forests. The Amazon has 1,100 tributaries, carries over 500 billion cubic feet of water per day, and has a mouth that is nearly 300 miles wide. Rivers that size have tremendous diversity within them and along their banks, including insects, reptiles, invertebrates, fish, and mammals.

    Within the river tanks in Unseen New World you can see some of this diversity including several species of cichlids. There are over 1600 species of cichlids making them one of the largest vertebrate families in the animal kingdom. You can spot Silver Arowana which can trace their ancestors back to dinosaurs from the Jurassic period. The white-blotched river stingray, one of the rarest in the world, is also visible in the river tanks. You can also spot some of the reptile diversity of tropical rivers such as the green basilisk which is known for its ability to run across water to escape danger. 

    Visiting the river tanks in Unseen New World allows you to get a small glimpse of the great diversity found in tropical rivers. 

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  • Docent-led Walking Tour

    Jun 9th, 2016
    10:00am - 11:00am

    Each Thursday and Saturday 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. There are two themed tours for you to enjoy. (Duration: less than an hour)

    “NASHVILLE ZOO AROUND THE WORLD” TOUR
    THURSDAY AT 10AM

    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.

    “WE ARE FAMILY” TOUR
    SATURDAY AT 10AM

    Many animals live in families or social groups just like we do. Animal families can be made up of just one or two parents, or even a large herd! This tour will teach you about the different strategies animals use when raising a family and the benefits animals get from living with their parents and adults.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 9th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 9th, 2016
    10:30am - 10:45am
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • Flamingo Keeper Talk

    Jun 9th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Flamingo Lagoon
    Caribbean flamingos are one of 6 species of flamingos which can be found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. During breeding season they gather in colonies of 5,000 - 100,000 birds. After attracting a partner through an elaborate mating dance a pair of flamingos will begin to build a mud mound on which the female will lay her egg. Both males and females will help incubate the egg and they share responsibilities in caring for the chick.  Flamingos are born gray and do not get their pink feathers until 1-3 years of age. Their diet contains carotenoid pigments which will give them their characteristic pink color. Flamingos are filter feeders and hold their head upside down in shallow water to strain out their food. Flamingos very rarely lay down and even sleep standing up, often only on one leg. You can see our flamingos in Flamingo Lagoon.
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 9th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Africa Field Keeper Talk

    Jun 9th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm

    Africa field is home to several species including Ostrich, Eland, Bontebok, and other antelope species. 

    The ostrich is the largest flightless bird in the world. They can run about 40 miles an hour covering 10-16 feet with a single stride. The ostrich will often use their wings as rudders to help change direction quickly while running. Ostriches will live in groups of about 12 birds. All the females of the group will place their eggs in the nest of the dominant female. A single ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs! Ostriches can often be found around other grazing animals like antelope and zebras. Ostriches have great eyesight and will often alert other animals of predators in the area. It is myth that ostriches head their heads in the sand. They will put their necks close to the ground to try and hide from predators, from a distance it appears that their head is in the sand.

    Eland are one of the largest hooved animals in the world. They are very adaptable animals with the ability to live in all environments except deserts, forests, and swamps. They are some of the slowest antelope, running only 25 miles per hour. Eland will live in herds of up to 25. There may be more than one male but only the dominant male will have access to females for breeding. Calves are born after a 9 month gestation period and hide after they are born for protection. 

    The bontebok was nearly extinct in the wild but the creation of Bontebok National Park and breeding on game farms led to the current population of over 2,000 existing throughout southern Africa. Their current conservation status includes the closely related blesbok of which 250,000 exist. They graze during the day on grasses in small groups of about 10. Males will mark their territory with dung and participate in challenge rituals with neighboring males. Both males and females will grow horns. 

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  • Red River Hog Keeper Talk

    Jun 9th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    African Savannah
    Red river hogs are very social animals who will live in groups of up to 20. Groups are usually made up of 1 adult male, several females, and their piglets. They are mostly active once the sun sets where they will use their shovel like snouts to dig up roots or bulbs to eat, though red river hogs will eat most anything they find. Female hogs will give birth to about 1-4 piglets. Male offspring are forced out of their group at about one year of age. Male red river hogs will fight by butting heads, whipping each other with their tails, and will fluff their facial hair when threatened. You can see our red river hogs on the African Savannah.
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  • Cassowary Keeper Talk

    Jun 9th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:00pm
    Jungle Loop

    Double-wattled cassowaries are solitary birds that live in some of the oldest rainforests in the world known as the “wet tropics.” They are the second largest birds in the world after the ostrich. They can be distinguished by their helmet-like casque atop their head and red wattles on their neck.

    Cassowaries are important to the diversity of the rainforest. They consume over 78 different species of plants. Their poop helps to germinate new plants by spreading the seeds of the consumed plants. Female cassowaries will lay their eggs and leave the males to do all the incubating and raising of the chicks for up to 9 months. You can see our cassowaries across from Kangaroo Kickabout.

     

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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    Jun 9th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 9th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Rhino Iguana Keeper Talk

    Jun 10th, 2016
    9:30am - 9:45am
    Unseen New World
    The rhinoceros iguana gets its name from the bumps on its snout which are most pronounced on male iguanas.  Breeding will happen at 2 to 3 years of age with males using head bobs and their spines along their back to attract females.  Females will dig burrows to incubate the eggs, there is no parental care after the eggs hatch.  Rhinoceros iguanas are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day.  They spend their nights in rock crevices, caves, or burrows they have dug.  Rhinoceros iguanas are threatened by habitat destruction, invasive species, and illegal hunting.  You can see our iguanas inside Unseen New World.        
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  • Bat Keeper Talk

    Jun 10th, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World

    Bats are the only mammals with wings that can fly.  Bats are very important to the ecosystems in which they live as they help to pollinate many of the plants that are found in each habitat.  The short-tailed leaf nose bats will enter into a state similar to hibernation called torpor when food is lacking.  They will roost in two distinct groups; harems with one adult male and several adult females, and bachelor groups of sub-adult males.  Mating can occur twice a year and females will give birth to one baby.  Short-tailed lead nose bats also love to eat mosquitoes!  You can thank them for that when you see them in the Unseen New World.   

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 10th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Saddle-Billed Stork Keeper Talk

    Jun 10th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Zoo Central

    Saddle-billed storks are the tallest of all storks. The pointed beak of the stork is used to repeatedly stab in open water or marshlands looking for prey. Recognized by the yellow skin, or lappet, that covers the front of the bill like a “saddle.” Saddle-billed storks mate for life and each pair will build their nest away from other birds and will defend their territory from other birds. Their nests are large enough to hide the bird completely while in the nest. Female saddle-billed storks will lay up to 5 eggs and both the male and female incubate the eggs and raise the chicks in the nest. Storks are a symbol of fertility and good luck. You can see our saddle-billed storks across from the meerkats.

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  • Barn Owl Keeper Talk

    Jun 10th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:45pm
    Grassmere Historic Home and Farm

    Barns owls are the most widespread of any owl species and can be found in any habitat that meets their needs. As with other owls they swallow their prey whole and then cough up pellets which contain all the non-digestible parts of their prey such as bones and fur.

    Barn owls have great eyesight but they are renowned for their ability to hear extremely soft noises. A barn owl hunting in complete darkness can still locate and capture prey using sound alone. Barn owls have been known to nest in hollow trees and artificial nest boxes but earn their name by often taking up residence in old buildings such as abandoned barns and silos. You can see our barn owls at the Croft House barn.

     

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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 10th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    Jun 10th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Blue-billed Curassow

    Jun 10th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    Critter Encounters

    The blue-billed curassow is the world’s most threatened species of the cracid family of crested game birds found primarily in Latin America. This curassow is the only example with distinctive blue bill ornaments, earning the species its common name. Very little is known about this bird in the wild due to its rarity; while at one time its range stretched 106,700 square kilometers, it’s now restricted to only a fragmented 2,090-square-kilometer forest area in northern Colombia. The blue-billed curassow has been severely harmed by losing nearly 99% of its habitat over the past decade due to agriculture and other habitat-destroying industries.

    You can meet our blue-billed curassow in Critter Encounters.

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  • Yellow-backed Duiker Keeper Talk

    Jun 10th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Yellow-backed duikers are the largest of all 15 species of duiker.  Adult duikers have black coats with a white face.  The yellow hair begins to appear on their back at 5-9 months and will stand up when the duiker feels threatened or becomes agitated. Little is known about the behavior of yellow-backed duikers due to their shy nature and the thick forests they call home.  Duikers will be solitary or live in a monogamous pair.  They can breed anytime during the year and typically have offspring twice a year.  Young duikers are hidden by their mothers in underbrush for the first several weeks of their life for protection from predators.   Due to their size duikers have to forage for much the day.  While foraging, duikers need to lookout for painted dogs, lions, and leopards.  One of their main defenses is to dive into the underbrush to evade predators.   Yellow-backed duikers have large scent glands underneath their eyes and in between their toes which they rub on trees to mark their territory.  Duikers will also use these glands to rub on their mates during courtship, familiarize young with their parents scent, and males will rub them on other males during competition.   You can see our yellow backed duikers on Bamboo Trail.        
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 10th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 10th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • June Member Night

    Jun 10th, 2016
    6:00pm - 8:00pm

    Join us on these special evenings as the Zoo stays open late for an exclusive Members-Only event. Most animal habitats will be open with keepers or docents stationed and ready to chat with you. Additional activities and animal encounters are in the works!


    Event Timeline

    6 - 7:45 pm
    FREE Wild Animal Carousel rides
    FREE Train rides
    FREE Inflatable play area
    (children 12 & under)

    Soaring Eagle Zip Line will be available for rides at the normal ticket rate during the event.

    Zoofari Cafe reopens at 5:30 pm for members who want to grab dinner before the event.

    going green

    Recycling bins will be available at Member Night, so please bring in any recyclable batteries, old cellphones, CFL bulbs, and aluminum cans you may have at home. Our Green Team will gladly take them off your hands!

    Other Event Benefits

    10% Member discount at ZooFari Café
    50% Member discount on event tickets for additional guests
    (Guests listed on card are free.)


    Member Nights are strictly a privilege for Nashville Zoo members. For more information, email membership@nashvillezoo.org or become a member now!




    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are all activities available for the entire event?

    No, most of the open exhibits for the event will close at 7:30 p.m., some earlier. The evening's Keeper Experiences are listed in the schedule of events that you will receive along with your wristband for times, locations and topics. Carousel rides, train rides and other activities will close at 7:45 p.m. The animal presentation (7:30 p.m.) closes the evening. We recommend arriving between 5:30 - 5:45 p.m. to check out the schedule and have time to get to the first keeper chats if desired. 6 - 7:45 p.m.


    Are guests allowed?

    Yes, if you have a guest option on your card [indicated by GUEST on the back of the card] you may feel free to use it. This is a great way to show others how wonderful your Zoo membership is.


    What about bringing more guests than my card allows?

    Additional Member Night Event guest tickets may be purchased at the Ticket Booth at a special 50% rate* per person. These admissions may only be purchased by a current member, after 5 p.m.on the event date. Admission paid earlier in the day will not apply for the event.
    * $7.50 adult/teen, $5 child 2-12, $6.50 senior.


    Are reservations required?

    No, however, we will issue event wristbands to ensure that the Zoo may be cleared of all non-event visitors. Wristbands may be obtained at the Information Hut as you enter.


    What about food?

    The ZooFari Cafe will remain open until 7:30 p.m., serving a selection of menu items. You may also choose to eat before arriving or bring a snack to enjoy as you walk.


    May we attend more than one Member Night?

    Absolutely.


    What if it rains?

    In the event that severe weather causes Member Night to be cancelled, every attempt will be made to post this on the membership line (615-833-1534 ext. 125), Zoo's website and Facebook page by 4 p.m. The event is typically "called" if heavy rain or lightning occur during the event. We are unable to reschedule the event.


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  • Komodo Dragon Keeper Talk

    Jun 11th, 2016
    9:30am - 9:45am
    Critter Encounters

    Komodo dragons change drastically throughout their lives. When they hatch they are about 10-13 inches long and yellow, green, and black. By the time they reach about 10 years of age they will be 7-9 feet and can weigh almost 300 pounds and be a dull gray or brown. As juveniles the Komodo dragons will live in trees and roll in fecal matter to protect themselves from getting eaten by adults.

    You can see our Komodo dragons in Unseen New World.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 11th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Galapagos Tortoise Keeper Talk

    Jun 11th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Critter Encounters
    The Galapagos Tortoise is the world's largest tortoise and can only be found in the Galapagos Islands west of South America. The tortoises will spend the cooler parts of the day low on the islands where it is dry and grassy, as the day warms up the tortoises will head to higher elevations where the vegetation is more lush. They usually travel the same path to these locations and will wear a path in the ground. Breeding season is January through August and the female will lay up to 10 eggs. You can find our Galapagos Tortoises in Critter Encounters.
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  • Ring Tailed Lemur Keeper Talk

    Jun 11th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Bamboo Trail
    Ring-tailed lemurs live in southern areas of Madagascar in social groups of up to 25 members. These are mixed groups with males and females. Female ring-tailed lemurs are always dominant over males and there is one dominant female in each group. When the group travels together they will raise their long ringed tails to act as flags to locate other members of the group.  They will mark their territory by rubbing their scent glands on trees.  Breeding usually takes place between April-June with babies being born August-September.  Females will usually have 1-2 offspring. You can see our ring-tailed lemurs along the Bamboo Trail.
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  • Snowy Owl Keeper Talk

    Jun 11th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Critter Encounters

    These large ghost-like owls have white feathers to match their snowy arctic habitat. The males have mostly white feathers while females can also have brown or black markings. Snowy owls will usually breed in the arctic area of North America and Europe and migrate to warmer climates in the winter. Snowy owls like to spend the summer hunting in the nearly endless daylight of the arctic.

    Snowy owls build their nests on the ground and will return to the same site year after year. They fiercely protect this nest from other owls and even wolves! Females will lay up to 11 eggs which hatch about 32 days later. Snowy owls live to about 10 years of age.

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  • Alligator Feeding

    Jun 11th, 2016
    1:00pm - 1:15pm
    Alligator Cove
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  • Farm Keeper Talk

    Jun 11th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:45pm

    Many different animals have lived at Grassmere since the house was built in 1810. Many of the animals that you will see at the Grassmere Historic Farm are “heritage breeds,” traditional livestock breeds raised by farmers of the past but whose numbers have since fallen.

    Cattle grazed over much of the land that is now Nashville Zoo and at the Grassmere Historic Farm you can see Belted Galloway cattle which originally came from Scotland. They are known for high quality meat and milk while consuming less feed. 

    Sheep were raised at Grassmere during the 1860’s and 1920s-1930s. On the farm you can currently see Cotswold Sheep which originated in England. These sheep produce “long wool” which is popular with wool spinners. 

    You can also see American Milking Devon cattle which are used for meat, milk, or farm work; barn owls; and a Clydesdale whose feet are the size of your dinner plate! 


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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 11th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    Jun 11th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Tapir Keeper Talk

    Jun 11th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop
    Baird’s tapirs are one of five species of tapirs. Four species live in Central and South America and one species lives in Asia. The upper lip of the tapir forms a proboscis similar to an elephant’s trunk.  This is used to help them collect their food as they browse. Tapirs are born brown with white stripes and spots to help with camouflage and turn solid brown with age. 
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 11th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 11th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Seahorse Keeper Talk

    Jun 12th, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World
    The seahorse is one of the most unique looking fish found in the ocean. It has a prehensile tail used to hold on to sea grass and coral. Seahorses have a voracious appetite and will eat for up to 10 hours a day; consuming more than 3,000 crustaceans during that time. Seahorses are monogamous, and will usually have one mate during their lifetime. During a mating dance the female will pass eggs to the male. He will then hold the fertilized eggs in his pouch until they emerge about 20 days later as miniature versions of an adult. Juvenile seahorses will reach maturity in 8-10 months. Seahorses are at risk due to overfishing and habitat degradation. 
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  • Docent-led Walking Tour

    Jun 12th, 2016
    10:00am - 11:00am

    Each Thursday and Saturday 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. There are two themed tours for you to enjoy. (Duration: less than an hour)

    “NASHVILLE ZOO AROUND THE WORLD” TOUR
    THURSDAY AT 10AM

    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.

    “WE ARE FAMILY” TOUR
    SATURDAY AT 10AM

    Many animals live in families or social groups just like we do. Animal families can be made up of just one or two parents, or even a large herd! This tour will teach you about the different strategies animals use when raising a family and the benefits animals get from living with their parents and adults.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 12th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

    More Details
  • Snowy Owl Keeper Talk

    Jun 12th, 2016
    10:30am - 10:45am
    Critter Encounters

    These large ghost-like owls have white feathers to match their snowy arctic habitat. The males have mostly white feathers while females can also have brown or black markings. Snowy owls will usually breed in the arctic area of North America and Europe and migrate to warmer climates in the winter. Snowy owls like to spend the summer hunting in the nearly endless daylight of the arctic.

    Snowy owls build their nests on the ground and will return to the same site year after year. They fiercely protect this nest from other owls and even wolves! Females will lay up to 11 eggs which hatch about 32 days later. Snowy owls live to about 10 years of age.

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  • Meerkat Keeper Talk

    Jun 12th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Zoo Central
    Meerkats are small mammals related to the mongoose. They live in underground burrows with up to 40 meerkats in groups called mobs. This large social group is key to the meerkats survival. You will see at least one individual on “sentry duty” looking out for predators while others will spend time grooming and playing together to maintain their tight bond. Meerkats are made for digging and can excavate huge burrow systems with many different rooms that provide protection from predators. These burrows can have 15 entrances and they stay a constant cool temperature even in the hot African sun. Be on the lookout for our meerkats near Zoo Central.
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 12th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    Jun 12th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Red River Hog Keeper Talk

    Jun 12th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    African Savannah
    Red river hogs are very social animals who will live in groups of up to 20. Groups are usually made up of 1 adult male, several females, and their piglets. They are mostly active once the sun sets where they will use their shovel like snouts to dig up roots or bulbs to eat, though red river hogs will eat most anything they find. Female hogs will give birth to about 1-4 piglets. Male offspring are forced out of their group at about one year of age. Male red river hogs will fight by butting heads, whipping each other with their tails, and will fluff their facial hair when threatened. You can see our red river hogs on the African Savannah.
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 12th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 12th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Dwarf Caiman Keeper Talk

    Jun 13th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Dwarf caiman are the smallest species of crocodile.  They like to live in flooded forests with clean and fast-flowing rivers in South America.  They will be found alone or in pairs.  Breeding can occur throughout the year depending on the habitat and the female will lay 10-25 eggs in a nest that was built.  The sex of the eggs are determined by the temperature of the nest during the incubation period.  The eggs hatch after a 90 day incubation and the young will stay with the mother for several weeks.  Dwarf caiman are mainly nocturnal, spending the day in a burrow while going out at night to hunt.  You can see our dwarf caiman in Unseen New World.        
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 13th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Barn Owl Keeper Talk

    Jun 13th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Grassmere Historic Home and Farm

    Barns owls are the most widespread of any owl species and can be found in any habitat that meets their needs. As with other owls they swallow their prey whole and then cough up pellets which contain all the non-digestible parts of their prey such as bones and fur.

    Barn owls have great eyesight but they are renowned for their ability to hear extremely soft noises. A barn owl hunting in complete darkness can still locate and capture prey using sound alone. Barn owls have been known to nest in hollow trees and artificial nest boxes but earn their name by often taking up residence in old buildings such as abandoned barns and silos. You can see our barn owls at the Croft House barn.

     

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  • White-cheeked Gibbon Keeper Talk

    Jun 13th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Gibbon Islands
    Gibbons are not monkeys, but are considered lesser apes due in part to their lack of a tail and ability to walk bipedally on their back legs. Gibbons move through the trees by a process called brachiation which involves swinging using only their arms. Gibbons live in a family unit of an adult male and female and their offspring. The adult female is the dominant member of the group. White-cheeked gibbons are born blonde to camouflage with their mother and then turn black as juveniles. Females finally turn back to a blonde color at sexual maturity while the males stay black. You can see our gibbons on Gibbon Island near Entry Village. 
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 13th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Cassowary Keeper Talk

    Jun 13th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop

    Double-wattled cassowaries are solitary birds that live in some of the oldest rainforests in the world known as the “wet tropics.” They are the second largest birds in the world after the ostrich. They can be distinguished by their helmet-like casque atop their head and red wattles on their neck.

    Cassowaries are important to the diversity of the rainforest. They consume over 78 different species of plants. Their poop helps to germinate new plants by spreading the seeds of the consumed plants. Female cassowaries will lay their eggs and leave the males to do all the incubating and raising of the chicks for up to 9 months. You can see our cassowaries across from Kangaroo Kickabout.

     

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  • Africa Field Keeper Talk

    Jun 13th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm

    Africa field is home to several species including Ostrich, Eland, Bontebok, and other antelope species. 

    The ostrich is the largest flightless bird in the world. They can run about 40 miles an hour covering 10-16 feet with a single stride. The ostrich will often use their wings as rudders to help change direction quickly while running. Ostriches will live in groups of about 12 birds. All the females of the group will place their eggs in the nest of the dominant female. A single ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs! Ostriches can often be found around other grazing animals like antelope and zebras. Ostriches have great eyesight and will often alert other animals of predators in the area. It is myth that ostriches head their heads in the sand. They will put their necks close to the ground to try and hide from predators, from a distance it appears that their head is in the sand.

    Eland are one of the largest hooved animals in the world. They are very adaptable animals with the ability to live in all environments except deserts, forests, and swamps. They are some of the slowest antelope, running only 25 miles per hour. Eland will live in herds of up to 25. There may be more than one male but only the dominant male will have access to females for breeding. Calves are born after a 9 month gestation period and hide after they are born for protection. 

    The bontebok was nearly extinct in the wild but the creation of Bontebok National Park and breeding on game farms led to the current population of over 2,000 existing throughout southern Africa. Their current conservation status includes the closely related blesbok of which 250,000 exist. They graze during the day on grasses in small groups of about 10. Males will mark their territory with dung and participate in challenge rituals with neighboring males. Both males and females will grow horns. 

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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    Jun 13th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 13th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Tarantula Keeper Talk

    Jun 14th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Unseen New World

    The Goliath Bird-eating Tarantula got its name from an explorer who spotted one eating a hummingbird, but their diet rarely consists of birds. Bird-eating tarantulas are the heaviest of all spiders and the second largest. They have inch long fangs which they use to infect venom into their prey. A bite would feel like a wasp sting to a human but it paralyzes its small prey. The tarantula then secretes digestive juices into its prey that turns its insides into liquid. Everything the tarantula eats must be in liquid form. Bird eating tarantulas do make webs, but they are not used to catch prey. They are used for shelter and protection. 50% of males are killed or injured during mating, which explains the dramatic difference in lifespans.

    You can see our Goliath Bird-eating Tarantula in Unseen New World.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 14th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Flamingo Keeper Talk

    Jun 14th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Flamingo Lagoon
    Caribbean flamingos are one of 6 species of flamingos which can be found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. During breeding season they gather in colonies of 5,000 - 100,000 birds. After attracting a partner through an elaborate mating dance a pair of flamingos will begin to build a mud mound on which the female will lay her egg. Both males and females will help incubate the egg and they share responsibilities in caring for the chick.  Flamingos are born gray and do not get their pink feathers until 1-3 years of age. Their diet contains carotenoid pigments which will give them their characteristic pink color. Flamingos are filter feeders and hold their head upside down in shallow water to strain out their food. Flamingos very rarely lay down and even sleep standing up, often only on one leg. You can see our flamingos in Flamingo Lagoon.
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  • Siamang Keeper Talk

    Jun 14th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Gibbon Islands
    Commonly mistaken for monkeys, siamangs are actually the largest of the lesser ape species. Like all apes, they lack tails and have the ability to move bipedially on their back legs only. Siamangs spend most of their day in trees moving through a process called brachiation meaning they move from tree to tree using only their arms. Siamangs live in a family group consisting a breeding pair and their offspring. Females will give birth every 2-3 years. Siamangs have an enlarged throat sac which can swell to the size of their head to amplify their vocalizations you can hear throughout the zoo!
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 14th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Yellow-backed Duiker Keeper Talk

    Jun 14th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Yellow-backed duikers are the largest of all 15 species of duiker.  Adult duikers have black coats with a white face.  The yellow hair begins to appear on their back at 5-9 months and will stand up when the duiker feels threatened or becomes agitated. Little is known about the behavior of yellow-backed duikers due to their shy nature and the thick forests they call home.  Duikers will be solitary or live in a monogamous pair.  They can breed anytime during the year and typically have offspring twice a year.  Young duikers are hidden by their mothers in underbrush for the first several weeks of their life for protection from predators.   Due to their size duikers have to forage for much the day.  While foraging, duikers need to lookout for painted dogs, lions, and leopards.  One of their main defenses is to dive into the underbrush to evade predators.   Yellow-backed duikers have large scent glands underneath their eyes and in between their toes which they rub on trees to mark their territory.  Duikers will also use these glands to rub on their mates during courtship, familiarize young with their parents scent, and males will rub them on other males during competition.   You can see our yellow backed duikers on Bamboo Trail.        
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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    Jun 14th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • Rhinoceros Hornbill Keeper Talk

    Jun 14th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm

    The rhinoceros hornbill is one of 54 species of hornbill that exist. The rhinoceros hornbill can be distinguished by its banana-shaped casque on the top of its beak. It is thought that this is used to amplify the sound of its call. It is made out of keratin, just like our fingernails and hair and is very strong and lightweight.

    Rhinoceros hornbills chose a nest high in a tree cavity. With The female inside a breeding pair works together to cover the opening with mud and scat, leaving only a small slit to pass food through. The female stays inside the nest for 3 months incubating and caring for the eggs. You can see our rhinoceros hornbill on Bamboo Trail.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 14th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Hellbender Keeper Talk

    Jun 15th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Unseen New World

    The largest salamander in Tennessee, hellbenders can be found in the eastern two thirds of the state. Hellbender populations have gone through dramatic declines across their range over the last 20 years and are now a candidate species for endangered status listing. Hellbenders will spend their entire lives in water. They prefer cold fast moving water with high levels of oxygen due to the fact that 95% of their oxygen is absorbed through their skin. Their tiny eyes can detect light but are not very good at forming images. Hellbenders are solitary nocturnal animals who spend the daytime hiding under rocks. A meeting between two hellbenders will usually result in a fight between them. You can see our hellbenders in Unseen New World.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 15th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Red Panda Keeper Talk

    Jun 15th, 2016
    10:30am - 10:45am
    Bamboo Trail
    The red pandas were once thought to be relatives of raccoons and bears but research has now put them in their own animal family Ailuridae. Red pandas are solitary and they rarely interact with another red panda outside of mating season. Breeding season is in the early winter with most births being in June. Similarly to their giant panda relatives red pandas have a wrist bone that acts like a thumb to help them grip bamboo. You can see our red pandas on Bamboo Trail.
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  • Saddle-Billed Stork Keeper Talk

    Jun 15th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Zoo Central

    Saddle-billed storks are the tallest of all storks. The pointed beak of the stork is used to repeatedly stab in open water or marshlands looking for prey. Recognized by the yellow skin, or lappet, that covers the front of the bill like a “saddle.” Saddle-billed storks mate for life and each pair will build their nest away from other birds and will defend their territory from other birds. Their nests are large enough to hide the bird completely while in the nest. Female saddle-billed storks will lay up to 5 eggs and both the male and female incubate the eggs and raise the chicks in the nest. Storks are a symbol of fertility and good luck. You can see our saddle-billed storks across from the meerkats.

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  • Porcupine Keeper Talk

    Jun 15th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Jungle Loop

    African crested porcupines are the largest porcupine in the world and the third largest rodent.  Despite popular beliefs no porcupine can shoot their quills.  If they feel threatened they will raise their quills to seem larger, stamp their feet and click their teeth, and rattle their quills.  If all of that fails the porcupine will ran backward and ram their attacker with their quills.  Porcupines form monogamous pairs, meaning they breed together for long periods of time.  Females will have 1-3 offspring called porcupettes who only stay with the mother for a few months.

    You can meet our three porcupines, Kiazi and his two offspring, Dave Sharpell and Jake Quillenhall (yes, those are their real names) on the Jungle Loop between Tapir and Cougar.

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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 15th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Tapir Keeper Talk

    Jun 15th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop
    Baird’s tapirs are one of five species of tapirs. Four species live in Central and South America and one species lives in Asia. The upper lip of the tapir forms a proboscis similar to an elephant’s trunk.  This is used to help them collect their food as they browse. Tapirs are born brown with white stripes and spots to help with camouflage and turn solid brown with age. 
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  • Rhinoceros Hornbill Keeper Talk

    Jun 15th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm

    The rhinoceros hornbill is one of 54 species of hornbill that exist. The rhinoceros hornbill can be distinguished by its banana-shaped casque on the top of its beak. It is thought that this is used to amplify the sound of its call. It is made out of keratin, just like our fingernails and hair and is very strong and lightweight.

    Rhinoceros hornbills chose a nest high in a tree cavity. With The female inside a breeding pair works together to cover the opening with mud and scat, leaving only a small slit to pass food through. The female stays inside the nest for 3 months incubating and caring for the eggs. You can see our rhinoceros hornbill on Bamboo Trail.

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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 15th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 15th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • River Tank Feeding

    Jun 16th, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World

    Some of the largest rivers on Earth travel through tropical rain forests. The Amazon has 1,100 tributaries, carries over 500 billion cubic feet of water per day, and has a mouth that is nearly 300 miles wide. Rivers that size have tremendous diversity within them and along their banks, including insects, reptiles, invertebrates, fish, and mammals.

    Within the river tanks in Unseen New World you can see some of this diversity including several species of cichlids. There are over 1600 species of cichlids making them one of the largest vertebrate families in the animal kingdom. You can spot Silver Arowana which can trace their ancestors back to dinosaurs from the Jurassic period. The white-blotched river stingray, one of the rarest in the world, is also visible in the river tanks. You can also spot some of the reptile diversity of tropical rivers such as the green basilisk which is known for its ability to run across water to escape danger. 

    Visiting the river tanks in Unseen New World allows you to get a small glimpse of the great diversity found in tropical rivers. 

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 16th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Docent-led Walking Tour

    Jun 16th, 2016
    10:00am - 11:00am

    Each Thursday and Saturday 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. There are two themed tours for you to enjoy. (Duration: less than an hour)

    “NASHVILLE ZOO AROUND THE WORLD” TOUR
    THURSDAY AT 10AM

    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.

    “WE ARE FAMILY” TOUR
    SATURDAY AT 10AM

    Many animals live in families or social groups just like we do. Animal families can be made up of just one or two parents, or even a large herd! This tour will teach you about the different strategies animals use when raising a family and the benefits animals get from living with their parents and adults.
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 16th, 2016
    10:30am - 10:45am
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • Flamingo Keeper Talk

    Jun 16th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Flamingo Lagoon
    Caribbean flamingos are one of 6 species of flamingos which can be found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. During breeding season they gather in colonies of 5,000 - 100,000 birds. After attracting a partner through an elaborate mating dance a pair of flamingos will begin to build a mud mound on which the female will lay her egg. Both males and females will help incubate the egg and they share responsibilities in caring for the chick.  Flamingos are born gray and do not get their pink feathers until 1-3 years of age. Their diet contains carotenoid pigments which will give them their characteristic pink color. Flamingos are filter feeders and hold their head upside down in shallow water to strain out their food. Flamingos very rarely lay down and even sleep standing up, often only on one leg. You can see our flamingos in Flamingo Lagoon.
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 16th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Africa Field Keeper Talk

    Jun 16th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm

    Africa field is home to several species including Ostrich, Eland, Bontebok, and other antelope species. 

    The ostrich is the largest flightless bird in the world. They can run about 40 miles an hour covering 10-16 feet with a single stride. The ostrich will often use their wings as rudders to help change direction quickly while running. Ostriches will live in groups of about 12 birds. All the females of the group will place their eggs in the nest of the dominant female. A single ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs! Ostriches can often be found around other grazing animals like antelope and zebras. Ostriches have great eyesight and will often alert other animals of predators in the area. It is myth that ostriches head their heads in the sand. They will put their necks close to the ground to try and hide from predators, from a distance it appears that their head is in the sand.

    Eland are one of the largest hooved animals in the world. They are very adaptable animals with the ability to live in all environments except deserts, forests, and swamps. They are some of the slowest antelope, running only 25 miles per hour. Eland will live in herds of up to 25. There may be more than one male but only the dominant male will have access to females for breeding. Calves are born after a 9 month gestation period and hide after they are born for protection. 

    The bontebok was nearly extinct in the wild but the creation of Bontebok National Park and breeding on game farms led to the current population of over 2,000 existing throughout southern Africa. Their current conservation status includes the closely related blesbok of which 250,000 exist. They graze during the day on grasses in small groups of about 10. Males will mark their territory with dung and participate in challenge rituals with neighboring males. Both males and females will grow horns. 

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  • Red River Hog Keeper Talk

    Jun 16th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    African Savannah
    Red river hogs are very social animals who will live in groups of up to 20. Groups are usually made up of 1 adult male, several females, and their piglets. They are mostly active once the sun sets where they will use their shovel like snouts to dig up roots or bulbs to eat, though red river hogs will eat most anything they find. Female hogs will give birth to about 1-4 piglets. Male offspring are forced out of their group at about one year of age. Male red river hogs will fight by butting heads, whipping each other with their tails, and will fluff their facial hair when threatened. You can see our red river hogs on the African Savannah.
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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    Jun 16th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • Cassowary Keeper Talk

    Jun 16th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:00pm
    Jungle Loop

    Double-wattled cassowaries are solitary birds that live in some of the oldest rainforests in the world known as the “wet tropics.” They are the second largest birds in the world after the ostrich. They can be distinguished by their helmet-like casque atop their head and red wattles on their neck.

    Cassowaries are important to the diversity of the rainforest. They consume over 78 different species of plants. Their poop helps to germinate new plants by spreading the seeds of the consumed plants. Female cassowaries will lay their eggs and leave the males to do all the incubating and raising of the chicks for up to 9 months. You can see our cassowaries across from Kangaroo Kickabout.

     

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 16th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Rhino Iguana Keeper Talk

    Jun 17th, 2016
    9:30am - 9:45am
    Unseen New World
    The rhinoceros iguana gets its name from the bumps on its snout which are most pronounced on male iguanas.  Breeding will happen at 2 to 3 years of age with males using head bobs and their spines along their back to attract females.  Females will dig burrows to incubate the eggs, there is no parental care after the eggs hatch.  Rhinoceros iguanas are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day.  They spend their nights in rock crevices, caves, or burrows they have dug.  Rhinoceros iguanas are threatened by habitat destruction, invasive species, and illegal hunting.  You can see our iguanas inside Unseen New World.        
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  • Bat Keeper Talk

    Jun 17th, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World

    Bats are the only mammals with wings that can fly.  Bats are very important to the ecosystems in which they live as they help to pollinate many of the plants that are found in each habitat.  The short-tailed leaf nose bats will enter into a state similar to hibernation called torpor when food is lacking.  They will roost in two distinct groups; harems with one adult male and several adult females, and bachelor groups of sub-adult males.  Mating can occur twice a year and females will give birth to one baby.  Short-tailed lead nose bats also love to eat mosquitoes!  You can thank them for that when you see them in the Unseen New World.   

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 17th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Saddle-Billed Stork Keeper Talk

    Jun 17th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Zoo Central

    Saddle-billed storks are the tallest of all storks. The pointed beak of the stork is used to repeatedly stab in open water or marshlands looking for prey. Recognized by the yellow skin, or lappet, that covers the front of the bill like a “saddle.” Saddle-billed storks mate for life and each pair will build their nest away from other birds and will defend their territory from other birds. Their nests are large enough to hide the bird completely while in the nest. Female saddle-billed storks will lay up to 5 eggs and both the male and female incubate the eggs and raise the chicks in the nest. Storks are a symbol of fertility and good luck. You can see our saddle-billed storks across from the meerkats.

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  • Barn Owl Keeper Talk

    Jun 17th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:45pm
    Grassmere Historic Home and Farm

    Barns owls are the most widespread of any owl species and can be found in any habitat that meets their needs. As with other owls they swallow their prey whole and then cough up pellets which contain all the non-digestible parts of their prey such as bones and fur.

    Barn owls have great eyesight but they are renowned for their ability to hear extremely soft noises. A barn owl hunting in complete darkness can still locate and capture prey using sound alone. Barn owls have been known to nest in hollow trees and artificial nest boxes but earn their name by often taking up residence in old buildings such as abandoned barns and silos. You can see our barn owls at the Croft House barn.

     

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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 17th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Blue-billed Curassow

    Jun 17th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    Critter Encounters

    The blue-billed curassow is the world’s most threatened species of the cracid family of crested game birds found primarily in Latin America. This curassow is the only example with distinctive blue bill ornaments, earning the species its common name. Very little is known about this bird in the wild due to its rarity; while at one time its range stretched 106,700 square kilometers, it’s now restricted to only a fragmented 2,090-square-kilometer forest area in northern Colombia. The blue-billed curassow has been severely harmed by losing nearly 99% of its habitat over the past decade due to agriculture and other habitat-destroying industries.

    You can meet our blue-billed curassow in Critter Encounters.

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  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    Jun 17th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Yellow-backed Duiker Keeper Talk

    Jun 17th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Yellow-backed duikers are the largest of all 15 species of duiker.  Adult duikers have black coats with a white face.  The yellow hair begins to appear on their back at 5-9 months and will stand up when the duiker feels threatened or becomes agitated. Little is known about the behavior of yellow-backed duikers due to their shy nature and the thick forests they call home.  Duikers will be solitary or live in a monogamous pair.  They can breed anytime during the year and typically have offspring twice a year.  Young duikers are hidden by their mothers in underbrush for the first several weeks of their life for protection from predators.   Due to their size duikers have to forage for much the day.  While foraging, duikers need to lookout for painted dogs, lions, and leopards.  One of their main defenses is to dive into the underbrush to evade predators.   Yellow-backed duikers have large scent glands underneath their eyes and in between their toes which they rub on trees to mark their territory.  Duikers will also use these glands to rub on their mates during courtship, familiarize young with their parents scent, and males will rub them on other males during competition.   You can see our yellow backed duikers on Bamboo Trail.        
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 17th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 17th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Komodo Dragon Keeper Talk

    Jun 18th, 2016
    9:30am - 9:45am
    Critter Encounters

    Komodo dragons change drastically throughout their lives. When they hatch they are about 10-13 inches long and yellow, green, and black. By the time they reach about 10 years of age they will be 7-9 feet and can weigh almost 300 pounds and be a dull gray or brown. As juveniles the Komodo dragons will live in trees and roll in fecal matter to protect themselves from getting eaten by adults.

    You can see our Komodo dragons in Unseen New World.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 18th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Galapagos Tortoise Keeper Talk

    Jun 18th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Critter Encounters
    The Galapagos Tortoise is the world's largest tortoise and can only be found in the Galapagos Islands west of South America. The tortoises will spend the cooler parts of the day low on the islands where it is dry and grassy, as the day warms up the tortoises will head to higher elevations where the vegetation is more lush. They usually travel the same path to these locations and will wear a path in the ground. Breeding season is January through August and the female will lay up to 10 eggs. You can find our Galapagos Tortoises in Critter Encounters.
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  • Ring Tailed Lemur Keeper Talk

    Jun 18th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Bamboo Trail
    Ring-tailed lemurs live in southern areas of Madagascar in social groups of up to 25 members. These are mixed groups with males and females. Female ring-tailed lemurs are always dominant over males and there is one dominant female in each group. When the group travels together they will raise their long ringed tails to act as flags to locate other members of the group.  They will mark their territory by rubbing their scent glands on trees.  Breeding usually takes place between April-June with babies being born August-September.  Females will usually have 1-2 offspring. You can see our ring-tailed lemurs along the Bamboo Trail.
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  • Snowy Owl Keeper Talk

    Jun 18th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Critter Encounters

    These large ghost-like owls have white feathers to match their snowy arctic habitat. The males have mostly white feathers while females can also have brown or black markings. Snowy owls will usually breed in the arctic area of North America and Europe and migrate to warmer climates in the winter. Snowy owls like to spend the summer hunting in the nearly endless daylight of the arctic.

    Snowy owls build their nests on the ground and will return to the same site year after year. They fiercely protect this nest from other owls and even wolves! Females will lay up to 11 eggs which hatch about 32 days later. Snowy owls live to about 10 years of age.

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  • Alligator Feeding

    Jun 18th, 2016
    1:00pm - 1:15pm
    Alligator Cove
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 18th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Farm Keeper Talk

    Jun 18th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:45pm

    Many different animals have lived at Grassmere since the house was built in 1810. Many of the animals that you will see at the Grassmere Historic Farm are “heritage breeds,” traditional livestock breeds raised by farmers of the past but whose numbers have since fallen.

    Cattle grazed over much of the land that is now Nashville Zoo and at the Grassmere Historic Farm you can see Belted Galloway cattle which originally came from Scotland. They are known for high quality meat and milk while consuming less feed. 

    Sheep were raised at Grassmere during the 1860’s and 1920s-1930s. On the farm you can currently see Cotswold Sheep which originated in England. These sheep produce “long wool” which is popular with wool spinners. 

    You can also see American Milking Devon cattle which are used for meat, milk, or farm work; barn owls; and a Clydesdale whose feet are the size of your dinner plate! 


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  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    Jun 18th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Tapir Keeper Talk

    Jun 18th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop
    Baird’s tapirs are one of five species of tapirs. Four species live in Central and South America and one species lives in Asia. The upper lip of the tapir forms a proboscis similar to an elephant’s trunk.  This is used to help them collect their food as they browse. Tapirs are born brown with white stripes and spots to help with camouflage and turn solid brown with age. 
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 18th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 18th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Seahorse Keeper Talk

    Jun 19th, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World
    The seahorse is one of the most unique looking fish found in the ocean. It has a prehensile tail used to hold on to sea grass and coral. Seahorses have a voracious appetite and will eat for up to 10 hours a day; consuming more than 3,000 crustaceans during that time. Seahorses are monogamous, and will usually have one mate during their lifetime. During a mating dance the female will pass eggs to the male. He will then hold the fertilized eggs in his pouch until they emerge about 20 days later as miniature versions of an adult. Juvenile seahorses will reach maturity in 8-10 months. Seahorses are at risk due to overfishing and habitat degradation. 
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 19th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Docent-led Walking Tour

    Jun 19th, 2016
    10:00am - 11:00am

    Each Thursday and Saturday 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. There are two themed tours for you to enjoy. (Duration: less than an hour)

    “NASHVILLE ZOO AROUND THE WORLD” TOUR
    THURSDAY AT 10AM

    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.

    “WE ARE FAMILY” TOUR
    SATURDAY AT 10AM

    Many animals live in families or social groups just like we do. Animal families can be made up of just one or two parents, or even a large herd! This tour will teach you about the different strategies animals use when raising a family and the benefits animals get from living with their parents and adults.
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  • Snowy Owl Keeper Talk

    Jun 19th, 2016
    10:30am - 10:45am
    Critter Encounters

    These large ghost-like owls have white feathers to match their snowy arctic habitat. The males have mostly white feathers while females can also have brown or black markings. Snowy owls will usually breed in the arctic area of North America and Europe and migrate to warmer climates in the winter. Snowy owls like to spend the summer hunting in the nearly endless daylight of the arctic.

    Snowy owls build their nests on the ground and will return to the same site year after year. They fiercely protect this nest from other owls and even wolves! Females will lay up to 11 eggs which hatch about 32 days later. Snowy owls live to about 10 years of age.

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  • Meerkat Keeper Talk

    Jun 19th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Zoo Central
    Meerkats are small mammals related to the mongoose. They live in underground burrows with up to 40 meerkats in groups called mobs. This large social group is key to the meerkats survival. You will see at least one individual on “sentry duty” looking out for predators while others will spend time grooming and playing together to maintain their tight bond. Meerkats are made for digging and can excavate huge burrow systems with many different rooms that provide protection from predators. These burrows can have 15 entrances and they stay a constant cool temperature even in the hot African sun. Be on the lookout for our meerkats near Zoo Central.
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 19th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    Jun 19th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Red River Hog Keeper Talk

    Jun 19th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    African Savannah
    Red river hogs are very social animals who will live in groups of up to 20. Groups are usually made up of 1 adult male, several females, and their piglets. They are mostly active once the sun sets where they will use their shovel like snouts to dig up roots or bulbs to eat, though red river hogs will eat most anything they find. Female hogs will give birth to about 1-4 piglets. Male offspring are forced out of their group at about one year of age. Male red river hogs will fight by butting heads, whipping each other with their tails, and will fluff their facial hair when threatened. You can see our red river hogs on the African Savannah.
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 19th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 19th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Dwarf Caiman Keeper Talk

    Jun 20th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Dwarf caiman are the smallest species of crocodile.  They like to live in flooded forests with clean and fast-flowing rivers in South America.  They will be found alone or in pairs.  Breeding can occur throughout the year depending on the habitat and the female will lay 10-25 eggs in a nest that was built.  The sex of the eggs are determined by the temperature of the nest during the incubation period.  The eggs hatch after a 90 day incubation and the young will stay with the mother for several weeks.  Dwarf caiman are mainly nocturnal, spending the day in a burrow while going out at night to hunt.  You can see our dwarf caiman in Unseen New World.        
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 20th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Barn Owl Keeper Talk

    Jun 20th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Grassmere Historic Home and Farm

    Barns owls are the most widespread of any owl species and can be found in any habitat that meets their needs. As with other owls they swallow their prey whole and then cough up pellets which contain all the non-digestible parts of their prey such as bones and fur.

    Barn owls have great eyesight but they are renowned for their ability to hear extremely soft noises. A barn owl hunting in complete darkness can still locate and capture prey using sound alone. Barn owls have been known to nest in hollow trees and artificial nest boxes but earn their name by often taking up residence in old buildings such as abandoned barns and silos. You can see our barn owls at the Croft House barn.

     

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  • White-cheeked Gibbon Keeper Talk

    Jun 20th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Gibbon Islands
    Gibbons are not monkeys, but are considered lesser apes due in part to their lack of a tail and ability to walk bipedally on their back legs. Gibbons move through the trees by a process called brachiation which involves swinging using only their arms. Gibbons live in a family unit of an adult male and female and their offspring. The adult female is the dominant member of the group. White-cheeked gibbons are born blonde to camouflage with their mother and then turn black as juveniles. Females finally turn back to a blonde color at sexual maturity while the males stay black. You can see our gibbons on Gibbon Island near Entry Village. 
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 20th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Cassowary Keeper Talk

    Jun 20th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop

    Double-wattled cassowaries are solitary birds that live in some of the oldest rainforests in the world known as the “wet tropics.” They are the second largest birds in the world after the ostrich. They can be distinguished by their helmet-like casque atop their head and red wattles on their neck.

    Cassowaries are important to the diversity of the rainforest. They consume over 78 different species of plants. Their poop helps to germinate new plants by spreading the seeds of the consumed plants. Female cassowaries will lay their eggs and leave the males to do all the incubating and raising of the chicks for up to 9 months. You can see our cassowaries across from Kangaroo Kickabout.

     

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  • Africa Field Keeper Talk

    Jun 20th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm

    Africa field is home to several species including Ostrich, Eland, Bontebok, and other antelope species. 

    The ostrich is the largest flightless bird in the world. They can run about 40 miles an hour covering 10-16 feet with a single stride. The ostrich will often use their wings as rudders to help change direction quickly while running. Ostriches will live in groups of about 12 birds. All the females of the group will place their eggs in the nest of the dominant female. A single ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs! Ostriches can often be found around other grazing animals like antelope and zebras. Ostriches have great eyesight and will often alert other animals of predators in the area. It is myth that ostriches head their heads in the sand. They will put their necks close to the ground to try and hide from predators, from a distance it appears that their head is in the sand.

    Eland are one of the largest hooved animals in the world. They are very adaptable animals with the ability to live in all environments except deserts, forests, and swamps. They are some of the slowest antelope, running only 25 miles per hour. Eland will live in herds of up to 25. There may be more than one male but only the dominant male will have access to females for breeding. Calves are born after a 9 month gestation period and hide after they are born for protection. 

    The bontebok was nearly extinct in the wild but the creation of Bontebok National Park and breeding on game farms led to the current population of over 2,000 existing throughout southern Africa. Their current conservation status includes the closely related blesbok of which 250,000 exist. They graze during the day on grasses in small groups of about 10. Males will mark their territory with dung and participate in challenge rituals with neighboring males. Both males and females will grow horns. 

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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    Jun 20th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 20th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 21st, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Tarantula Keeper Talk

    Jun 21st, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Unseen New World

    The Goliath Bird-eating Tarantula got its name from an explorer who spotted one eating a hummingbird, but their diet rarely consists of birds. Bird-eating tarantulas are the heaviest of all spiders and the second largest. They have inch long fangs which they use to infect venom into their prey. A bite would feel like a wasp sting to a human but it paralyzes its small prey. The tarantula then secretes digestive juices into its prey that turns its insides into liquid. Everything the tarantula eats must be in liquid form. Bird eating tarantulas do make webs, but they are not used to catch prey. They are used for shelter and protection. 50% of males are killed or injured during mating, which explains the dramatic difference in lifespans.

    You can see our Goliath Bird-eating Tarantula in Unseen New World.

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  • Make Music Nashville

    Jun 21st, 2016
    10:00am - 2:00pm

    Nashville Zoo is once again taking part in Make Music Nashville! Make Music Nashville is an all-day festival taking place in various neighborhoods in Nashville, Tennessee on June 21st every year. Join us up at the Grassmere Historic Home and you can listen to various acts perform and even join in on a Harmonica Jam!


    PRICING:

    Free for members. Included in admission.


    SCHEDULE:

    Historic Home Lawn:

    1pm – 2pm: Howard Pink Musical Jungle
    Description: Howard Pink and His Musical Garden Hoses: Everything you ever wanted to know about the French horn but were afraid to ask.

    2pm – 3pm: Make Music Nashville presents Harmonica Jam at the Zoo
    Description: Join us at Nashville Zoo’s Grassmere Historic Home for free harmonica lessons by Nashville’s Greg Hommert and harmonicas donated by Hohner! Harmonicas only available to first 100 children.

    Historic Home Entrance:

    1pm – 2pm: Vladopus9
    Description: Vladopus9 is the all original acoustic Folk/Americana (female vocalist and male acoustic guitarist) duo from here in Nashville.

    2:15pm – 3pm: The Busks
    Description: The Busks are a throwback Rock & Roll group with influences from classic 60s artists such as The Beatles, The Kinks, The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel and more.

    3:15pm – 4pm: Courtney Dickinson**TENTATIVE**
    Description: Fiery is a clear description of both the sound and personality of Courtney Dickinson. Courtney plans to add her own fiery flavor to Country Music and make a place for "a female with a message" and introduce herself as the "new redhead in town!"

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  • Flamingo Keeper Talk

    Jun 21st, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Flamingo Lagoon
    Caribbean flamingos are one of 6 species of flamingos which can be found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. During breeding season they gather in colonies of 5,000 - 100,000 birds. After attracting a partner through an elaborate mating dance a pair of flamingos will begin to build a mud mound on which the female will lay her egg. Both males and females will help incubate the egg and they share responsibilities in caring for the chick.  Flamingos are born gray and do not get their pink feathers until 1-3 years of age. Their diet contains carotenoid pigments which will give them their characteristic pink color. Flamingos are filter feeders and hold their head upside down in shallow water to strain out their food. Flamingos very rarely lay down and even sleep standing up, often only on one leg. You can see our flamingos in Flamingo Lagoon.
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  • Siamang Keeper Talk

    Jun 21st, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Gibbon Islands
    Commonly mistaken for monkeys, siamangs are actually the largest of the lesser ape species. Like all apes, they lack tails and have the ability to move bipedially on their back legs only. Siamangs spend most of their day in trees moving through a process called brachiation meaning they move from tree to tree using only their arms. Siamangs live in a family group consisting a breeding pair and their offspring. Females will give birth every 2-3 years. Siamangs have an enlarged throat sac which can swell to the size of their head to amplify their vocalizations you can hear throughout the zoo!
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 21st, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Yellow-backed Duiker Keeper Talk

    Jun 21st, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Yellow-backed duikers are the largest of all 15 species of duiker.  Adult duikers have black coats with a white face.  The yellow hair begins to appear on their back at 5-9 months and will stand up when the duiker feels threatened or becomes agitated. Little is known about the behavior of yellow-backed duikers due to their shy nature and the thick forests they call home.  Duikers will be solitary or live in a monogamous pair.  They can breed anytime during the year and typically have offspring twice a year.  Young duikers are hidden by their mothers in underbrush for the first several weeks of their life for protection from predators.   Due to their size duikers have to forage for much the day.  While foraging, duikers need to lookout for painted dogs, lions, and leopards.  One of their main defenses is to dive into the underbrush to evade predators.   Yellow-backed duikers have large scent glands underneath their eyes and in between their toes which they rub on trees to mark their territory.  Duikers will also use these glands to rub on their mates during courtship, familiarize young with their parents scent, and males will rub them on other males during competition.   You can see our yellow backed duikers on Bamboo Trail.        
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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    Jun 21st, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • Rhinoceros Hornbill Keeper Talk

    Jun 21st, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm

    The rhinoceros hornbill is one of 54 species of hornbill that exist. The rhinoceros hornbill can be distinguished by its banana-shaped casque on the top of its beak. It is thought that this is used to amplify the sound of its call. It is made out of keratin, just like our fingernails and hair and is very strong and lightweight.

    Rhinoceros hornbills chose a nest high in a tree cavity. With The female inside a breeding pair works together to cover the opening with mud and scat, leaving only a small slit to pass food through. The female stays inside the nest for 3 months incubating and caring for the eggs. You can see our rhinoceros hornbill on Bamboo Trail.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 21st, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 22nd, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Hellbender Keeper Talk

    Jun 22nd, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Unseen New World

    The largest salamander in Tennessee, hellbenders can be found in the eastern two thirds of the state. Hellbender populations have gone through dramatic declines across their range over the last 20 years and are now a candidate species for endangered status listing. Hellbenders will spend their entire lives in water. They prefer cold fast moving water with high levels of oxygen due to the fact that 95% of their oxygen is absorbed through their skin. Their tiny eyes can detect light but are not very good at forming images. Hellbenders are solitary nocturnal animals who spend the daytime hiding under rocks. A meeting between two hellbenders will usually result in a fight between them. You can see our hellbenders in Unseen New World.

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  • Red Panda Keeper Talk

    Jun 22nd, 2016
    10:30am - 10:45am
    Bamboo Trail
    The red pandas were once thought to be relatives of raccoons and bears but research has now put them in their own animal family Ailuridae. Red pandas are solitary and they rarely interact with another red panda outside of mating season. Breeding season is in the early winter with most births being in June. Similarly to their giant panda relatives red pandas have a wrist bone that acts like a thumb to help them grip bamboo. You can see our red pandas on Bamboo Trail.
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  • Saddle-Billed Stork Keeper Talk

    Jun 22nd, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Zoo Central

    Saddle-billed storks are the tallest of all storks. The pointed beak of the stork is used to repeatedly stab in open water or marshlands looking for prey. Recognized by the yellow skin, or lappet, that covers the front of the bill like a “saddle.” Saddle-billed storks mate for life and each pair will build their nest away from other birds and will defend their territory from other birds. Their nests are large enough to hide the bird completely while in the nest. Female saddle-billed storks will lay up to 5 eggs and both the male and female incubate the eggs and raise the chicks in the nest. Storks are a symbol of fertility and good luck. You can see our saddle-billed storks across from the meerkats.

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  • Porcupine Keeper Talk

    Jun 22nd, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Jungle Loop

    African crested porcupines are the largest porcupine in the world and the third largest rodent.  Despite popular beliefs no porcupine can shoot their quills.  If they feel threatened they will raise their quills to seem larger, stamp their feet and click their teeth, and rattle their quills.  If all of that fails the porcupine will ran backward and ram their attacker with their quills.  Porcupines form monogamous pairs, meaning they breed together for long periods of time.  Females will have 1-3 offspring called porcupettes who only stay with the mother for a few months.

    You can meet our three porcupines, Kiazi and his two offspring, Dave Sharpell and Jake Quillenhall (yes, those are their real names) on the Jungle Loop between Tapir and Cougar.

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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 22nd, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Tapir Keeper Talk

    Jun 22nd, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop
    Baird’s tapirs are one of five species of tapirs. Four species live in Central and South America and one species lives in Asia. The upper lip of the tapir forms a proboscis similar to an elephant’s trunk.  This is used to help them collect their food as they browse. Tapirs are born brown with white stripes and spots to help with camouflage and turn solid brown with age. 
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  • Rhinoceros Hornbill Keeper Talk

    Jun 22nd, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm

    The rhinoceros hornbill is one of 54 species of hornbill that exist. The rhinoceros hornbill can be distinguished by its banana-shaped casque on the top of its beak. It is thought that this is used to amplify the sound of its call. It is made out of keratin, just like our fingernails and hair and is very strong and lightweight.

    Rhinoceros hornbills chose a nest high in a tree cavity. With The female inside a breeding pair works together to cover the opening with mud and scat, leaving only a small slit to pass food through. The female stays inside the nest for 3 months incubating and caring for the eggs. You can see our rhinoceros hornbill on Bamboo Trail.

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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 22nd, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 22nd, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • River Tank Feeding

    Jun 23rd, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World

    Some of the largest rivers on Earth travel through tropical rain forests. The Amazon has 1,100 tributaries, carries over 500 billion cubic feet of water per day, and has a mouth that is nearly 300 miles wide. Rivers that size have tremendous diversity within them and along their banks, including insects, reptiles, invertebrates, fish, and mammals.

    Within the river tanks in Unseen New World you can see some of this diversity including several species of cichlids. There are over 1600 species of cichlids making them one of the largest vertebrate families in the animal kingdom. You can spot Silver Arowana which can trace their ancestors back to dinosaurs from the Jurassic period. The white-blotched river stingray, one of the rarest in the world, is also visible in the river tanks. You can also spot some of the reptile diversity of tropical rivers such as the green basilisk which is known for its ability to run across water to escape danger. 

    Visiting the river tanks in Unseen New World allows you to get a small glimpse of the great diversity found in tropical rivers. 

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 23rd, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Docent-led Walking Tour

    Jun 23rd, 2016
    10:00am - 11:00am

    Each Thursday and Saturday 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. There are two themed tours for you to enjoy. (Duration: less than an hour)

    “NASHVILLE ZOO AROUND THE WORLD” TOUR
    THURSDAY AT 10AM

    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.

    “WE ARE FAMILY” TOUR
    SATURDAY AT 10AM

    Many animals live in families or social groups just like we do. Animal families can be made up of just one or two parents, or even a large herd! This tour will teach you about the different strategies animals use when raising a family and the benefits animals get from living with their parents and adults.
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 23rd, 2016
    10:30am - 10:45am
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • Flamingo Keeper Talk

    Jun 23rd, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Flamingo Lagoon
    Caribbean flamingos are one of 6 species of flamingos which can be found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. During breeding season they gather in colonies of 5,000 - 100,000 birds. After attracting a partner through an elaborate mating dance a pair of flamingos will begin to build a mud mound on which the female will lay her egg. Both males and females will help incubate the egg and they share responsibilities in caring for the chick.  Flamingos are born gray and do not get their pink feathers until 1-3 years of age. Their diet contains carotenoid pigments which will give them their characteristic pink color. Flamingos are filter feeders and hold their head upside down in shallow water to strain out their food. Flamingos very rarely lay down and even sleep standing up, often only on one leg. You can see our flamingos in Flamingo Lagoon.
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 23rd, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Africa Field Keeper Talk

    Jun 23rd, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm

    Africa field is home to several species including Ostrich, Eland, Bontebok, and other antelope species. 

    The ostrich is the largest flightless bird in the world. They can run about 40 miles an hour covering 10-16 feet with a single stride. The ostrich will often use their wings as rudders to help change direction quickly while running. Ostriches will live in groups of about 12 birds. All the females of the group will place their eggs in the nest of the dominant female. A single ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs! Ostriches can often be found around other grazing animals like antelope and zebras. Ostriches have great eyesight and will often alert other animals of predators in the area. It is myth that ostriches head their heads in the sand. They will put their necks close to the ground to try and hide from predators, from a distance it appears that their head is in the sand.

    Eland are one of the largest hooved animals in the world. They are very adaptable animals with the ability to live in all environments except deserts, forests, and swamps. They are some of the slowest antelope, running only 25 miles per hour. Eland will live in herds of up to 25. There may be more than one male but only the dominant male will have access to females for breeding. Calves are born after a 9 month gestation period and hide after they are born for protection. 

    The bontebok was nearly extinct in the wild but the creation of Bontebok National Park and breeding on game farms led to the current population of over 2,000 existing throughout southern Africa. Their current conservation status includes the closely related blesbok of which 250,000 exist. They graze during the day on grasses in small groups of about 10. Males will mark their territory with dung and participate in challenge rituals with neighboring males. Both males and females will grow horns. 

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  • Red River Hog Keeper Talk

    Jun 23rd, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    African Savannah
    Red river hogs are very social animals who will live in groups of up to 20. Groups are usually made up of 1 adult male, several females, and their piglets. They are mostly active once the sun sets where they will use their shovel like snouts to dig up roots or bulbs to eat, though red river hogs will eat most anything they find. Female hogs will give birth to about 1-4 piglets. Male offspring are forced out of their group at about one year of age. Male red river hogs will fight by butting heads, whipping each other with their tails, and will fluff their facial hair when threatened. You can see our red river hogs on the African Savannah.
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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    Jun 23rd, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • Cassowary Keeper Talk

    Jun 23rd, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:00pm
    Jungle Loop

    Double-wattled cassowaries are solitary birds that live in some of the oldest rainforests in the world known as the “wet tropics.” They are the second largest birds in the world after the ostrich. They can be distinguished by their helmet-like casque atop their head and red wattles on their neck.

    Cassowaries are important to the diversity of the rainforest. They consume over 78 different species of plants. Their poop helps to germinate new plants by spreading the seeds of the consumed plants. Female cassowaries will lay their eggs and leave the males to do all the incubating and raising of the chicks for up to 9 months. You can see our cassowaries across from Kangaroo Kickabout.

     

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 23rd, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Rhino Iguana Keeper Talk

    Jun 24th, 2016
    9:30am - 9:45am
    Unseen New World
    The rhinoceros iguana gets its name from the bumps on its snout which are most pronounced on male iguanas.  Breeding will happen at 2 to 3 years of age with males using head bobs and their spines along their back to attract females.  Females will dig burrows to incubate the eggs, there is no parental care after the eggs hatch.  Rhinoceros iguanas are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day.  They spend their nights in rock crevices, caves, or burrows they have dug.  Rhinoceros iguanas are threatened by habitat destruction, invasive species, and illegal hunting.  You can see our iguanas inside Unseen New World.        
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  • Bat Keeper Talk

    Jun 24th, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World

    Bats are the only mammals with wings that can fly.  Bats are very important to the ecosystems in which they live as they help to pollinate many of the plants that are found in each habitat.  The short-tailed leaf nose bats will enter into a state similar to hibernation called torpor when food is lacking.  They will roost in two distinct groups; harems with one adult male and several adult females, and bachelor groups of sub-adult males.  Mating can occur twice a year and females will give birth to one baby.  Short-tailed lead nose bats also love to eat mosquitoes!  You can thank them for that when you see them in the Unseen New World.   

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 24th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Saddle-Billed Stork Keeper Talk

    Jun 24th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Zoo Central

    Saddle-billed storks are the tallest of all storks. The pointed beak of the stork is used to repeatedly stab in open water or marshlands looking for prey. Recognized by the yellow skin, or lappet, that covers the front of the bill like a “saddle.” Saddle-billed storks mate for life and each pair will build their nest away from other birds and will defend their territory from other birds. Their nests are large enough to hide the bird completely while in the nest. Female saddle-billed storks will lay up to 5 eggs and both the male and female incubate the eggs and raise the chicks in the nest. Storks are a symbol of fertility and good luck. You can see our saddle-billed storks across from the meerkats.

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  • Barn Owl Keeper Talk

    Jun 24th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:45pm
    Grassmere Historic Home and Farm

    Barns owls are the most widespread of any owl species and can be found in any habitat that meets their needs. As with other owls they swallow their prey whole and then cough up pellets which contain all the non-digestible parts of their prey such as bones and fur.

    Barn owls have great eyesight but they are renowned for their ability to hear extremely soft noises. A barn owl hunting in complete darkness can still locate and capture prey using sound alone. Barn owls have been known to nest in hollow trees and artificial nest boxes but earn their name by often taking up residence in old buildings such as abandoned barns and silos. You can see our barn owls at the Croft House barn.

     

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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 24th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Blue-billed Curassow

    Jun 24th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    Critter Encounters

    The blue-billed curassow is the world’s most threatened species of the cracid family of crested game birds found primarily in Latin America. This curassow is the only example with distinctive blue bill ornaments, earning the species its common name. Very little is known about this bird in the wild due to its rarity; while at one time its range stretched 106,700 square kilometers, it’s now restricted to only a fragmented 2,090-square-kilometer forest area in northern Colombia. The blue-billed curassow has been severely harmed by losing nearly 99% of its habitat over the past decade due to agriculture and other habitat-destroying industries.

    You can meet our blue-billed curassow in Critter Encounters.

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  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    Jun 24th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Yellow-backed Duiker Keeper Talk

    Jun 24th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Yellow-backed duikers are the largest of all 15 species of duiker.  Adult duikers have black coats with a white face.  The yellow hair begins to appear on their back at 5-9 months and will stand up when the duiker feels threatened or becomes agitated. Little is known about the behavior of yellow-backed duikers due to their shy nature and the thick forests they call home.  Duikers will be solitary or live in a monogamous pair.  They can breed anytime during the year and typically have offspring twice a year.  Young duikers are hidden by their mothers in underbrush for the first several weeks of their life for protection from predators.   Due to their size duikers have to forage for much the day.  While foraging, duikers need to lookout for painted dogs, lions, and leopards.  One of their main defenses is to dive into the underbrush to evade predators.   Yellow-backed duikers have large scent glands underneath their eyes and in between their toes which they rub on trees to mark their territory.  Duikers will also use these glands to rub on their mates during courtship, familiarize young with their parents scent, and males will rub them on other males during competition.   You can see our yellow backed duikers on Bamboo Trail.        
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 24th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 24th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Zoovie Night, Presented by Icee

    Jun 24th, 2016
    6:00pm - 10:00pm

    Join us for a fun family night under the stars!

    Zoovie Nights include games, inflatables, music, crafts and after-hour access to the carousel and zipline! When the sun goes down the evening’s feature film will play on a large inflatable screen, so pack a blanket and head to the Zoo!


    Movies

    • May 27: Minions
    • June 24: Kung Fu Panda
    • Sept. 2: How to Train Your Dragon 2

    Zoovie Cost

    Members - Free
    Non-Members - Included with day-of admission, OR $6 per person if entering after 6pm

    Event Schedule

    6 PM - Sunset

    Inflatables, DJ and games on Festival Field
    Face painting, crafts and concessions*
    Carousel and zipline open*
    *additional fees apply

    Sunset - Movie time!


    Inclement Weather

    In the case of inclement weather, please check the Zoo's Facebook page for up-to-date information. Weather-influenced cancellations will be made by 4:30pm on the day-of the event.


    Please note that Zoo animal trails will close at 6 pm and guests must stay in Festival Field area after Zoo closing time.




    Sponsored by:

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  • Komodo Dragon Keeper Talk

    Jun 25th, 2016
    9:30am - 9:45am
    Critter Encounters

    Komodo dragons change drastically throughout their lives. When they hatch they are about 10-13 inches long and yellow, green, and black. By the time they reach about 10 years of age they will be 7-9 feet and can weigh almost 300 pounds and be a dull gray or brown. As juveniles the Komodo dragons will live in trees and roll in fecal matter to protect themselves from getting eaten by adults.

    You can see our Komodo dragons in Unseen New World.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 25th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Galapagos Tortoise Keeper Talk

    Jun 25th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Critter Encounters
    The Galapagos Tortoise is the world's largest tortoise and can only be found in the Galapagos Islands west of South America. The tortoises will spend the cooler parts of the day low on the islands where it is dry and grassy, as the day warms up the tortoises will head to higher elevations where the vegetation is more lush. They usually travel the same path to these locations and will wear a path in the ground. Breeding season is January through August and the female will lay up to 10 eggs. You can find our Galapagos Tortoises in Critter Encounters.
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  • Snowy Owl Keeper Talk

    Jun 25th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Critter Encounters

    These large ghost-like owls have white feathers to match their snowy arctic habitat. The males have mostly white feathers while females can also have brown or black markings. Snowy owls will usually breed in the arctic area of North America and Europe and migrate to warmer climates in the winter. Snowy owls like to spend the summer hunting in the nearly endless daylight of the arctic.

    Snowy owls build their nests on the ground and will return to the same site year after year. They fiercely protect this nest from other owls and even wolves! Females will lay up to 11 eggs which hatch about 32 days later. Snowy owls live to about 10 years of age.

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  • Ring Tailed Lemur Keeper Talk

    Jun 25th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Bamboo Trail
    Ring-tailed lemurs live in southern areas of Madagascar in social groups of up to 25 members. These are mixed groups with males and females. Female ring-tailed lemurs are always dominant over males and there is one dominant female in each group. When the group travels together they will raise their long ringed tails to act as flags to locate other members of the group.  They will mark their territory by rubbing their scent glands on trees.  Breeding usually takes place between April-June with babies being born August-September.  Females will usually have 1-2 offspring. You can see our ring-tailed lemurs along the Bamboo Trail.
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  • Alligator Feeding

    Jun 25th, 2016
    1:00pm - 1:15pm
    Alligator Cove
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 25th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Farm Keeper Talk

    Jun 25th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:45pm

    Many different animals have lived at Grassmere since the house was built in 1810. Many of the animals that you will see at the Grassmere Historic Farm are “heritage breeds,” traditional livestock breeds raised by farmers of the past but whose numbers have since fallen.

    Cattle grazed over much of the land that is now Nashville Zoo and at the Grassmere Historic Farm you can see Belted Galloway cattle which originally came from Scotland. They are known for high quality meat and milk while consuming less feed. 

    Sheep were raised at Grassmere during the 1860’s and 1920s-1930s. On the farm you can currently see Cotswold Sheep which originated in England. These sheep produce “long wool” which is popular with wool spinners. 

    You can also see American Milking Devon cattle which are used for meat, milk, or farm work; barn owls; and a Clydesdale whose feet are the size of your dinner plate! 


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  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    Jun 25th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Tapir Keeper Talk

    Jun 25th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop
    Baird’s tapirs are one of five species of tapirs. Four species live in Central and South America and one species lives in Asia. The upper lip of the tapir forms a proboscis similar to an elephant’s trunk.  This is used to help them collect their food as they browse. Tapirs are born brown with white stripes and spots to help with camouflage and turn solid brown with age. 
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 25th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 25th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Seahorse Keeper Talk

    Jun 26th, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World
    The seahorse is one of the most unique looking fish found in the ocean. It has a prehensile tail used to hold on to sea grass and coral. Seahorses have a voracious appetite and will eat for up to 10 hours a day; consuming more than 3,000 crustaceans during that time. Seahorses are monogamous, and will usually have one mate during their lifetime. During a mating dance the female will pass eggs to the male. He will then hold the fertilized eggs in his pouch until they emerge about 20 days later as miniature versions of an adult. Juvenile seahorses will reach maturity in 8-10 months. Seahorses are at risk due to overfishing and habitat degradation. 
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  • Docent-led Walking Tour

    Jun 26th, 2016
    10:00am - 11:00am

    Each Thursday and Saturday 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. There are two themed tours for you to enjoy. (Duration: less than an hour)

    “NASHVILLE ZOO AROUND THE WORLD” TOUR
    THURSDAY AT 10AM

    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.

    “WE ARE FAMILY” TOUR
    SATURDAY AT 10AM

    Many animals live in families or social groups just like we do. Animal families can be made up of just one or two parents, or even a large herd! This tour will teach you about the different strategies animals use when raising a family and the benefits animals get from living with their parents and adults.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 26th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Avian Awareness Day

    Jun 26th, 2016
    10:00am - 3:00pm

    Nashville Zoo’s Birds Get All the Attention on June 26

    Nashville Zoo will spotlight its feathered residents during Avian Awareness Day on Sunday, June 26. From 10am - 3pm Zoo guests can participate in activities that focus on the importance of birds throughout the world, Nashville Zoo avian conservation projects and how you can help birds in your own backyard.  

    Avian Awareness Day highlights the journey of migratory birds as they make passage between their breeding grounds in North America and their wintering grounds in Central and South America. Educational stations will be set up throughout the Zoo that explore how birds navigate their way through various daily and annual challenges, and both kids and adults can enjoy comparing their “wing spans” to our feathered friends. Other activities include egg and feather displays, keeper talks and docent stations at many of our bird exhibits.

    Educational stations will be set up throughout the Zoo that explore how birds navigate their way through various daily and annual challenges. Kids and adults will also be able to compare their “wing spans” to our feathered friends. Other activities include egg and feather displays, keeper talks and docent stations at many of our bird exhibits.  You can even make your very own bird house to take home courtesy of Home Depot.

    Other activities include Macaw flights at 10am and 4pm,  a bird themed show at the Amphitheater at 11am and a bird encounter at 1:30pm. Animal Ambassador staff will be out on the trial throughout the day with various birds. 

    Avian Awareness Day celebrates International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD), an event founded in 1993 by a coalition of bird-minded organizations that recognized the need for a unified focus on the conservation of migratory birds. Zoos across the country celebrate IMBD, raising awareness for the nearly 350 species that travel between nesting habitats and non-breeding habitats each year. 

    Avian Awareness Day is free with Zoo admission or membership.

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  • Snowy Owl Keeper Talk

    Jun 26th, 2016
    10:30am - 10:45am
    Critter Encounters

    These large ghost-like owls have white feathers to match their snowy arctic habitat. The males have mostly white feathers while females can also have brown or black markings. Snowy owls will usually breed in the arctic area of North America and Europe and migrate to warmer climates in the winter. Snowy owls like to spend the summer hunting in the nearly endless daylight of the arctic.

    Snowy owls build their nests on the ground and will return to the same site year after year. They fiercely protect this nest from other owls and even wolves! Females will lay up to 11 eggs which hatch about 32 days later. Snowy owls live to about 10 years of age.

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  • Meerkat Keeper Talk

    Jun 26th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Zoo Central
    Meerkats are small mammals related to the mongoose. They live in underground burrows with up to 40 meerkats in groups called mobs. This large social group is key to the meerkats survival. You will see at least one individual on “sentry duty” looking out for predators while others will spend time grooming and playing together to maintain their tight bond. Meerkats are made for digging and can excavate huge burrow systems with many different rooms that provide protection from predators. These burrows can have 15 entrances and they stay a constant cool temperature even in the hot African sun. Be on the lookout for our meerkats near Zoo Central.
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 26th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    Jun 26th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Red River Hog Keeper Talk

    Jun 26th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    African Savannah
    Red river hogs are very social animals who will live in groups of up to 20. Groups are usually made up of 1 adult male, several females, and their piglets. They are mostly active once the sun sets where they will use their shovel like snouts to dig up roots or bulbs to eat, though red river hogs will eat most anything they find. Female hogs will give birth to about 1-4 piglets. Male offspring are forced out of their group at about one year of age. Male red river hogs will fight by butting heads, whipping each other with their tails, and will fluff their facial hair when threatened. You can see our red river hogs on the African Savannah.
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 26th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 26th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Dwarf Caiman Keeper Talk

    Jun 27th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Dwarf caiman are the smallest species of crocodile.  They like to live in flooded forests with clean and fast-flowing rivers in South America.  They will be found alone or in pairs.  Breeding can occur throughout the year depending on the habitat and the female will lay 10-25 eggs in a nest that was built.  The sex of the eggs are determined by the temperature of the nest during the incubation period.  The eggs hatch after a 90 day incubation and the young will stay with the mother for several weeks.  Dwarf caiman are mainly nocturnal, spending the day in a burrow while going out at night to hunt.  You can see our dwarf caiman in Unseen New World.        
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 27th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Barn Owl Keeper Talk

    Jun 27th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Grassmere Historic Home and Farm

    Barns owls are the most widespread of any owl species and can be found in any habitat that meets their needs. As with other owls they swallow their prey whole and then cough up pellets which contain all the non-digestible parts of their prey such as bones and fur.

    Barn owls have great eyesight but they are renowned for their ability to hear extremely soft noises. A barn owl hunting in complete darkness can still locate and capture prey using sound alone. Barn owls have been known to nest in hollow trees and artificial nest boxes but earn their name by often taking up residence in old buildings such as abandoned barns and silos. You can see our barn owls at the Croft House barn.

     

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  • White-cheeked Gibbon Keeper Talk

    Jun 27th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Gibbon Islands
    Gibbons are not monkeys, but are considered lesser apes due in part to their lack of a tail and ability to walk bipedally on their back legs. Gibbons move through the trees by a process called brachiation which involves swinging using only their arms. Gibbons live in a family unit of an adult male and female and their offspring. The adult female is the dominant member of the group. White-cheeked gibbons are born blonde to camouflage with their mother and then turn black as juveniles. Females finally turn back to a blonde color at sexual maturity while the males stay black. You can see our gibbons on Gibbon Island near Entry Village. 
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 27th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Cassowary Keeper Talk

    Jun 27th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop

    Double-wattled cassowaries are solitary birds that live in some of the oldest rainforests in the world known as the “wet tropics.” They are the second largest birds in the world after the ostrich. They can be distinguished by their helmet-like casque atop their head and red wattles on their neck.

    Cassowaries are important to the diversity of the rainforest. They consume over 78 different species of plants. Their poop helps to germinate new plants by spreading the seeds of the consumed plants. Female cassowaries will lay their eggs and leave the males to do all the incubating and raising of the chicks for up to 9 months. You can see our cassowaries across from Kangaroo Kickabout.

     

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  • Africa Field Keeper Talk

    Jun 27th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm

    Africa field is home to several species including Ostrich, Eland, Bontebok, and other antelope species. 

    The ostrich is the largest flightless bird in the world. They can run about 40 miles an hour covering 10-16 feet with a single stride. The ostrich will often use their wings as rudders to help change direction quickly while running. Ostriches will live in groups of about 12 birds. All the females of the group will place their eggs in the nest of the dominant female. A single ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs! Ostriches can often be found around other grazing animals like antelope and zebras. Ostriches have great eyesight and will often alert other animals of predators in the area. It is myth that ostriches head their heads in the sand. They will put their necks close to the ground to try and hide from predators, from a distance it appears that their head is in the sand.

    Eland are one of the largest hooved animals in the world. They are very adaptable animals with the ability to live in all environments except deserts, forests, and swamps. They are some of the slowest antelope, running only 25 miles per hour. Eland will live in herds of up to 25. There may be more than one male but only the dominant male will have access to females for breeding. Calves are born after a 9 month gestation period and hide after they are born for protection. 

    The bontebok was nearly extinct in the wild but the creation of Bontebok National Park and breeding on game farms led to the current population of over 2,000 existing throughout southern Africa. Their current conservation status includes the closely related blesbok of which 250,000 exist. They graze during the day on grasses in small groups of about 10. Males will mark their territory with dung and participate in challenge rituals with neighboring males. Both males and females will grow horns. 

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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    Jun 27th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 27th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Tarantula Keeper Talk

    Jun 28th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Unseen New World

    The Goliath Bird-eating Tarantula got its name from an explorer who spotted one eating a hummingbird, but their diet rarely consists of birds. Bird-eating tarantulas are the heaviest of all spiders and the second largest. They have inch long fangs which they use to infect venom into their prey. A bite would feel like a wasp sting to a human but it paralyzes its small prey. The tarantula then secretes digestive juices into its prey that turns its insides into liquid. Everything the tarantula eats must be in liquid form. Bird eating tarantulas do make webs, but they are not used to catch prey. They are used for shelter and protection. 50% of males are killed or injured during mating, which explains the dramatic difference in lifespans.

    You can see our Goliath Bird-eating Tarantula in Unseen New World.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 28th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Flamingo Keeper Talk

    Jun 28th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Flamingo Lagoon
    Caribbean flamingos are one of 6 species of flamingos which can be found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. During breeding season they gather in colonies of 5,000 - 100,000 birds. After attracting a partner through an elaborate mating dance a pair of flamingos will begin to build a mud mound on which the female will lay her egg. Both males and females will help incubate the egg and they share responsibilities in caring for the chick.  Flamingos are born gray and do not get their pink feathers until 1-3 years of age. Their diet contains carotenoid pigments which will give them their characteristic pink color. Flamingos are filter feeders and hold their head upside down in shallow water to strain out their food. Flamingos very rarely lay down and even sleep standing up, often only on one leg. You can see our flamingos in Flamingo Lagoon.
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  • Siamang Keeper Talk

    Jun 28th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Gibbon Islands
    Commonly mistaken for monkeys, siamangs are actually the largest of the lesser ape species. Like all apes, they lack tails and have the ability to move bipedially on their back legs only. Siamangs spend most of their day in trees moving through a process called brachiation meaning they move from tree to tree using only their arms. Siamangs live in a family group consisting a breeding pair and their offspring. Females will give birth every 2-3 years. Siamangs have an enlarged throat sac which can swell to the size of their head to amplify their vocalizations you can hear throughout the zoo!
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 28th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Yellow-backed Duiker Keeper Talk

    Jun 28th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Yellow-backed duikers are the largest of all 15 species of duiker.  Adult duikers have black coats with a white face.  The yellow hair begins to appear on their back at 5-9 months and will stand up when the duiker feels threatened or becomes agitated. Little is known about the behavior of yellow-backed duikers due to their shy nature and the thick forests they call home.  Duikers will be solitary or live in a monogamous pair.  They can breed anytime during the year and typically have offspring twice a year.  Young duikers are hidden by their mothers in underbrush for the first several weeks of their life for protection from predators.   Due to their size duikers have to forage for much the day.  While foraging, duikers need to lookout for painted dogs, lions, and leopards.  One of their main defenses is to dive into the underbrush to evade predators.   Yellow-backed duikers have large scent glands underneath their eyes and in between their toes which they rub on trees to mark their territory.  Duikers will also use these glands to rub on their mates during courtship, familiarize young with their parents scent, and males will rub them on other males during competition.   You can see our yellow backed duikers on Bamboo Trail.        
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  • Rhinoceros Hornbill Keeper Talk

    Jun 28th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm

    The rhinoceros hornbill is one of 54 species of hornbill that exist. The rhinoceros hornbill can be distinguished by its banana-shaped casque on the top of its beak. It is thought that this is used to amplify the sound of its call. It is made out of keratin, just like our fingernails and hair and is very strong and lightweight.

    Rhinoceros hornbills chose a nest high in a tree cavity. With The female inside a breeding pair works together to cover the opening with mud and scat, leaving only a small slit to pass food through. The female stays inside the nest for 3 months incubating and caring for the eggs. You can see our rhinoceros hornbill on Bamboo Trail.

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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    Jun 28th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 28th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Hellbender Keeper Talk

    Jun 29th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Unseen New World

    The largest salamander in Tennessee, hellbenders can be found in the eastern two thirds of the state. Hellbender populations have gone through dramatic declines across their range over the last 20 years and are now a candidate species for endangered status listing. Hellbenders will spend their entire lives in water. They prefer cold fast moving water with high levels of oxygen due to the fact that 95% of their oxygen is absorbed through their skin. Their tiny eyes can detect light but are not very good at forming images. Hellbenders are solitary nocturnal animals who spend the daytime hiding under rocks. A meeting between two hellbenders will usually result in a fight between them. You can see our hellbenders in Unseen New World.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 29th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Red Panda Keeper Talk

    Jun 29th, 2016
    10:30am - 10:45am
    Bamboo Trail
    The red pandas were once thought to be relatives of raccoons and bears but research has now put them in their own animal family Ailuridae. Red pandas are solitary and they rarely interact with another red panda outside of mating season. Breeding season is in the early winter with most births being in June. Similarly to their giant panda relatives red pandas have a wrist bone that acts like a thumb to help them grip bamboo. You can see our red pandas on Bamboo Trail.
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  • Saddle-Billed Stork Keeper Talk

    Jun 29th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Zoo Central

    Saddle-billed storks are the tallest of all storks. The pointed beak of the stork is used to repeatedly stab in open water or marshlands looking for prey. Recognized by the yellow skin, or lappet, that covers the front of the bill like a “saddle.” Saddle-billed storks mate for life and each pair will build their nest away from other birds and will defend their territory from other birds. Their nests are large enough to hide the bird completely while in the nest. Female saddle-billed storks will lay up to 5 eggs and both the male and female incubate the eggs and raise the chicks in the nest. Storks are a symbol of fertility and good luck. You can see our saddle-billed storks across from the meerkats.

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  • Porcupine Keeper Talk

    Jun 29th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Jungle Loop

    African crested porcupines are the largest porcupine in the world and the third largest rodent.  Despite popular beliefs no porcupine can shoot their quills.  If they feel threatened they will raise their quills to seem larger, stamp their feet and click their teeth, and rattle their quills.  If all of that fails the porcupine will ran backward and ram their attacker with their quills.  Porcupines form monogamous pairs, meaning they breed together for long periods of time.  Females will have 1-3 offspring called porcupettes who only stay with the mother for a few months.

    You can meet our three porcupines, Kiazi and his two offspring, Dave Sharpell and Jake Quillenhall (yes, those are their real names) on the Jungle Loop between Tapir and Cougar.

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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 29th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Tapir Keeper Talk

    Jun 29th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop
    Baird’s tapirs are one of five species of tapirs. Four species live in Central and South America and one species lives in Asia. The upper lip of the tapir forms a proboscis similar to an elephant’s trunk.  This is used to help them collect their food as they browse. Tapirs are born brown with white stripes and spots to help with camouflage and turn solid brown with age. 
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 29th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • Rhinoceros Hornbill Keeper Talk

    Jun 29th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm

    The rhinoceros hornbill is one of 54 species of hornbill that exist. The rhinoceros hornbill can be distinguished by its banana-shaped casque on the top of its beak. It is thought that this is used to amplify the sound of its call. It is made out of keratin, just like our fingernails and hair and is very strong and lightweight.

    Rhinoceros hornbills chose a nest high in a tree cavity. With The female inside a breeding pair works together to cover the opening with mud and scat, leaving only a small slit to pass food through. The female stays inside the nest for 3 months incubating and caring for the eggs. You can see our rhinoceros hornbill on Bamboo Trail.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 29th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • River Tank Feeding

    Jun 30th, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World

    Some of the largest rivers on Earth travel through tropical rain forests. The Amazon has 1,100 tributaries, carries over 500 billion cubic feet of water per day, and has a mouth that is nearly 300 miles wide. Rivers that size have tremendous diversity within them and along their banks, including insects, reptiles, invertebrates, fish, and mammals.

    Within the river tanks in Unseen New World you can see some of this diversity including several species of cichlids. There are over 1600 species of cichlids making them one of the largest vertebrate families in the animal kingdom. You can spot Silver Arowana which can trace their ancestors back to dinosaurs from the Jurassic period. The white-blotched river stingray, one of the rarest in the world, is also visible in the river tanks. You can also spot some of the reptile diversity of tropical rivers such as the green basilisk which is known for its ability to run across water to escape danger. 

    Visiting the river tanks in Unseen New World allows you to get a small glimpse of the great diversity found in tropical rivers. 

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 30th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Docent-led Walking Tour

    Jun 30th, 2016
    10:00am - 11:00am

    Each Thursday and Saturday 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. There are two themed tours for you to enjoy. (Duration: less than an hour)

    “NASHVILLE ZOO AROUND THE WORLD” TOUR
    THURSDAY AT 10AM

    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.

    “WE ARE FAMILY” TOUR
    SATURDAY AT 10AM

    Many animals live in families or social groups just like we do. Animal families can be made up of just one or two parents, or even a large herd! This tour will teach you about the different strategies animals use when raising a family and the benefits animals get from living with their parents and adults.
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jun 30th, 2016
    10:30am - 10:45am
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • Flamingo Keeper Talk

    Jun 30th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Flamingo Lagoon
    Caribbean flamingos are one of 6 species of flamingos which can be found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. During breeding season they gather in colonies of 5,000 - 100,000 birds. After attracting a partner through an elaborate mating dance a pair of flamingos will begin to build a mud mound on which the female will lay her egg. Both males and females will help incubate the egg and they share responsibilities in caring for the chick.  Flamingos are born gray and do not get their pink feathers until 1-3 years of age. Their diet contains carotenoid pigments which will give them their characteristic pink color. Flamingos are filter feeders and hold their head upside down in shallow water to strain out their food. Flamingos very rarely lay down and even sleep standing up, often only on one leg. You can see our flamingos in Flamingo Lagoon.
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jun 30th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Africa Field Keeper Talk

    Jun 30th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm

    Africa field is home to several species including Ostrich, Eland, Bontebok, and other antelope species. 

    The ostrich is the largest flightless bird in the world. They can run about 40 miles an hour covering 10-16 feet with a single stride. The ostrich will often use their wings as rudders to help change direction quickly while running. Ostriches will live in groups of about 12 birds. All the females of the group will place their eggs in the nest of the dominant female. A single ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs! Ostriches can often be found around other grazing animals like antelope and zebras. Ostriches have great eyesight and will often alert other animals of predators in the area. It is myth that ostriches head their heads in the sand. They will put their necks close to the ground to try and hide from predators, from a distance it appears that their head is in the sand.

    Eland are one of the largest hooved animals in the world. They are very adaptable animals with the ability to live in all environments except deserts, forests, and swamps. They are some of the slowest antelope, running only 25 miles per hour. Eland will live in herds of up to 25. There may be more than one male but only the dominant male will have access to females for breeding. Calves are born after a 9 month gestation period and hide after they are born for protection. 

    The bontebok was nearly extinct in the wild but the creation of Bontebok National Park and breeding on game farms led to the current population of over 2,000 existing throughout southern Africa. Their current conservation status includes the closely related blesbok of which 250,000 exist. They graze during the day on grasses in small groups of about 10. Males will mark their territory with dung and participate in challenge rituals with neighboring males. Both males and females will grow horns. 

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  • Red River Hog Keeper Talk

    Jun 30th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    African Savannah
    Red river hogs are very social animals who will live in groups of up to 20. Groups are usually made up of 1 adult male, several females, and their piglets. They are mostly active once the sun sets where they will use their shovel like snouts to dig up roots or bulbs to eat, though red river hogs will eat most anything they find. Female hogs will give birth to about 1-4 piglets. Male offspring are forced out of their group at about one year of age. Male red river hogs will fight by butting heads, whipping each other with their tails, and will fluff their facial hair when threatened. You can see our red river hogs on the African Savannah.
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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    Jun 30th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • Cassowary Keeper Talk

    Jun 30th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:00pm
    Jungle Loop

    Double-wattled cassowaries are solitary birds that live in some of the oldest rainforests in the world known as the “wet tropics.” They are the second largest birds in the world after the ostrich. They can be distinguished by their helmet-like casque atop their head and red wattles on their neck.

    Cassowaries are important to the diversity of the rainforest. They consume over 78 different species of plants. Their poop helps to germinate new plants by spreading the seeds of the consumed plants. Female cassowaries will lay their eggs and leave the males to do all the incubating and raising of the chicks for up to 9 months. You can see our cassowaries across from Kangaroo Kickabout.

     

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jun 30th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Rhino Iguana Keeper Talk

    Jul 1st, 2016
    9:30am - 9:45am
    Unseen New World
    The rhinoceros iguana gets its name from the bumps on its snout which are most pronounced on male iguanas.  Breeding will happen at 2 to 3 years of age with males using head bobs and their spines along their back to attract females.  Females will dig burrows to incubate the eggs, there is no parental care after the eggs hatch.  Rhinoceros iguanas are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day.  They spend their nights in rock crevices, caves, or burrows they have dug.  Rhinoceros iguanas are threatened by habitat destruction, invasive species, and illegal hunting.  You can see our iguanas inside Unseen New World.        
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  • Bat Keeper Talk

    Jul 1st, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World

    Bats are the only mammals with wings that can fly.  Bats are very important to the ecosystems in which they live as they help to pollinate many of the plants that are found in each habitat.  The short-tailed leaf nose bats will enter into a state similar to hibernation called torpor when food is lacking.  They will roost in two distinct groups; harems with one adult male and several adult females, and bachelor groups of sub-adult males.  Mating can occur twice a year and females will give birth to one baby.  Short-tailed lead nose bats also love to eat mosquitoes!  You can thank them for that when you see them in the Unseen New World.   

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jul 1st, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Saddle-Billed Stork Keeper Talk

    Jul 1st, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Zoo Central

    Saddle-billed storks are the tallest of all storks. The pointed beak of the stork is used to repeatedly stab in open water or marshlands looking for prey. Recognized by the yellow skin, or lappet, that covers the front of the bill like a “saddle.” Saddle-billed storks mate for life and each pair will build their nest away from other birds and will defend their territory from other birds. Their nests are large enough to hide the bird completely while in the nest. Female saddle-billed storks will lay up to 5 eggs and both the male and female incubate the eggs and raise the chicks in the nest. Storks are a symbol of fertility and good luck. You can see our saddle-billed storks across from the meerkats.

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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jul 1st, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Barn Owl Keeper Talk

    Jul 1st, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:45pm
    Grassmere Historic Home and Farm

    Barns owls are the most widespread of any owl species and can be found in any habitat that meets their needs. As with other owls they swallow their prey whole and then cough up pellets which contain all the non-digestible parts of their prey such as bones and fur.

    Barn owls have great eyesight but they are renowned for their ability to hear extremely soft noises. A barn owl hunting in complete darkness can still locate and capture prey using sound alone. Barn owls have been known to nest in hollow trees and artificial nest boxes but earn their name by often taking up residence in old buildings such as abandoned barns and silos. You can see our barn owls at the Croft House barn.

     

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  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    Jul 1st, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Blue-billed Curassow

    Jul 1st, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    Critter Encounters

    The blue-billed curassow is the world’s most threatened species of the cracid family of crested game birds found primarily in Latin America. This curassow is the only example with distinctive blue bill ornaments, earning the species its common name. Very little is known about this bird in the wild due to its rarity; while at one time its range stretched 106,700 square kilometers, it’s now restricted to only a fragmented 2,090-square-kilometer forest area in northern Colombia. The blue-billed curassow has been severely harmed by losing nearly 99% of its habitat over the past decade due to agriculture and other habitat-destroying industries.

    You can meet our blue-billed curassow in Critter Encounters.

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  • Yellow-backed Duiker Keeper Talk

    Jul 1st, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Yellow-backed duikers are the largest of all 15 species of duiker.  Adult duikers have black coats with a white face.  The yellow hair begins to appear on their back at 5-9 months and will stand up when the duiker feels threatened or becomes agitated. Little is known about the behavior of yellow-backed duikers due to their shy nature and the thick forests they call home.  Duikers will be solitary or live in a monogamous pair.  They can breed anytime during the year and typically have offspring twice a year.  Young duikers are hidden by their mothers in underbrush for the first several weeks of their life for protection from predators.   Due to their size duikers have to forage for much the day.  While foraging, duikers need to lookout for painted dogs, lions, and leopards.  One of their main defenses is to dive into the underbrush to evade predators.   Yellow-backed duikers have large scent glands underneath their eyes and in between their toes which they rub on trees to mark their territory.  Duikers will also use these glands to rub on their mates during courtship, familiarize young with their parents scent, and males will rub them on other males during competition.   You can see our yellow backed duikers on Bamboo Trail.        
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jul 1st, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jul 1st, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Komodo Dragon Keeper Talk

    Jul 2nd, 2016
    9:30am - 9:45am
    Critter Encounters

    Komodo dragons change drastically throughout their lives. When they hatch they are about 10-13 inches long and yellow, green, and black. By the time they reach about 10 years of age they will be 7-9 feet and can weigh almost 300 pounds and be a dull gray or brown. As juveniles the Komodo dragons will live in trees and roll in fecal matter to protect themselves from getting eaten by adults.

    You can see our Komodo dragons in Unseen New World.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jul 2nd, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Galapagos Tortoise Keeper Talk

    Jul 2nd, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Critter Encounters
    The Galapagos Tortoise is the world's largest tortoise and can only be found in the Galapagos Islands west of South America. The tortoises will spend the cooler parts of the day low on the islands where it is dry and grassy, as the day warms up the tortoises will head to higher elevations where the vegetation is more lush. They usually travel the same path to these locations and will wear a path in the ground. Breeding season is January through August and the female will lay up to 10 eggs. You can find our Galapagos Tortoises in Critter Encounters.
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  • Snowy Owl Keeper Talk

    Jul 2nd, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Critter Encounters

    These large ghost-like owls have white feathers to match their snowy arctic habitat. The males have mostly white feathers while females can also have brown or black markings. Snowy owls will usually breed in the arctic area of North America and Europe and migrate to warmer climates in the winter. Snowy owls like to spend the summer hunting in the nearly endless daylight of the arctic.

    Snowy owls build their nests on the ground and will return to the same site year after year. They fiercely protect this nest from other owls and even wolves! Females will lay up to 11 eggs which hatch about 32 days later. Snowy owls live to about 10 years of age.

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  • Ring Tailed Lemur Keeper Talk

    Jul 2nd, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Bamboo Trail
    Ring-tailed lemurs live in southern areas of Madagascar in social groups of up to 25 members. These are mixed groups with males and females. Female ring-tailed lemurs are always dominant over males and there is one dominant female in each group. When the group travels together they will raise their long ringed tails to act as flags to locate other members of the group.  They will mark their territory by rubbing their scent glands on trees.  Breeding usually takes place between April-June with babies being born August-September.  Females will usually have 1-2 offspring. You can see our ring-tailed lemurs along the Bamboo Trail.
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  • Alligator Feeding

    Jul 2nd, 2016
    1:00pm - 1:15pm
    Alligator Cove
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jul 2nd, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Farm Keeper Talk

    Jul 2nd, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:45pm

    Many different animals have lived at Grassmere since the house was built in 1810. Many of the animals that you will see at the Grassmere Historic Farm are “heritage breeds,” traditional livestock breeds raised by farmers of the past but whose numbers have since fallen.

    Cattle grazed over much of the land that is now Nashville Zoo and at the Grassmere Historic Farm you can see Belted Galloway cattle which originally came from Scotland. They are known for high quality meat and milk while consuming less feed. 

    Sheep were raised at Grassmere during the 1860’s and 1920s-1930s. On the farm you can currently see Cotswold Sheep which originated in England. These sheep produce “long wool” which is popular with wool spinners. 

    You can also see American Milking Devon cattle which are used for meat, milk, or farm work; barn owls; and a Clydesdale whose feet are the size of your dinner plate! 


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  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    Jul 2nd, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Tapir Keeper Talk

    Jul 2nd, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop
    Baird’s tapirs are one of five species of tapirs. Four species live in Central and South America and one species lives in Asia. The upper lip of the tapir forms a proboscis similar to an elephant’s trunk.  This is used to help them collect their food as they browse. Tapirs are born brown with white stripes and spots to help with camouflage and turn solid brown with age. 
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jul 2nd, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jul 2nd, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Seahorse Keeper Talk

    Jul 3rd, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World
    The seahorse is one of the most unique looking fish found in the ocean. It has a prehensile tail used to hold on to sea grass and coral. Seahorses have a voracious appetite and will eat for up to 10 hours a day; consuming more than 3,000 crustaceans during that time. Seahorses are monogamous, and will usually have one mate during their lifetime. During a mating dance the female will pass eggs to the male. He will then hold the fertilized eggs in his pouch until they emerge about 20 days later as miniature versions of an adult. Juvenile seahorses will reach maturity in 8-10 months. Seahorses are at risk due to overfishing and habitat degradation. 
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  • Docent-led Walking Tour

    Jul 3rd, 2016
    10:00am - 11:00am

    Each Thursday and Saturday 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. There are two themed tours for you to enjoy. (Duration: less than an hour)

    “NASHVILLE ZOO AROUND THE WORLD” TOUR
    THURSDAY AT 10AM

    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.

    “WE ARE FAMILY” TOUR
    SATURDAY AT 10AM

    Many animals live in families or social groups just like we do. Animal families can be made up of just one or two parents, or even a large herd! This tour will teach you about the different strategies animals use when raising a family and the benefits animals get from living with their parents and adults.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jul 3rd, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Snowy Owl Keeper Talk

    Jul 3rd, 2016
    10:30am - 10:45am
    Critter Encounters

    These large ghost-like owls have white feathers to match their snowy arctic habitat. The males have mostly white feathers while females can also have brown or black markings. Snowy owls will usually breed in the arctic area of North America and Europe and migrate to warmer climates in the winter. Snowy owls like to spend the summer hunting in the nearly endless daylight of the arctic.

    Snowy owls build their nests on the ground and will return to the same site year after year. They fiercely protect this nest from other owls and even wolves! Females will lay up to 11 eggs which hatch about 32 days later. Snowy owls live to about 10 years of age.

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  • Meerkat Keeper Talk

    Jul 3rd, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Zoo Central
    Meerkats are small mammals related to the mongoose. They live in underground burrows with up to 40 meerkats in groups called mobs. This large social group is key to the meerkats survival. You will see at least one individual on “sentry duty” looking out for predators while others will spend time grooming and playing together to maintain their tight bond. Meerkats are made for digging and can excavate huge burrow systems with many different rooms that provide protection from predators. These burrows can have 15 entrances and they stay a constant cool temperature even in the hot African sun. Be on the lookout for our meerkats near Zoo Central.
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jul 3rd, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Giraffe Keeper Talk

    Jul 3rd, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    There are at least six different types of giraffes. You can see two here at Nashville Zoo: Layla is a reticulated giraffe; and Congo, Margarita, and Bahati are Masai giraffes. Giraffes are the tallest of all land mammals. Giraffes have a neck that is 6 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs 25 pounds. They eat about 75 pounds of food each day which they gather with their 18 inch long tongue. Due to this massive size giraffes do not really need to hide from predators, they do need to be worried about lions, but giraffes have a powerful kick that they will use to defend themselves. You can find our giraffes on the African Savannah.
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  • Red River Hog Keeper Talk

    Jul 3rd, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    African Savannah
    Red river hogs are very social animals who will live in groups of up to 20. Groups are usually made up of 1 adult male, several females, and their piglets. They are mostly active once the sun sets where they will use their shovel like snouts to dig up roots or bulbs to eat, though red river hogs will eat most anything they find. Female hogs will give birth to about 1-4 piglets. Male offspring are forced out of their group at about one year of age. Male red river hogs will fight by butting heads, whipping each other with their tails, and will fluff their facial hair when threatened. You can see our red river hogs on the African Savannah.
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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    Jul 3rd, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jul 3rd, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jul 4th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Dwarf Caiman Keeper Talk

    Jul 4th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Dwarf caiman are the smallest species of crocodile.  They like to live in flooded forests with clean and fast-flowing rivers in South America.  They will be found alone or in pairs.  Breeding can occur throughout the year depending on the habitat and the female will lay 10-25 eggs in a nest that was built.  The sex of the eggs are determined by the temperature of the nest during the incubation period.  The eggs hatch after a 90 day incubation and the young will stay with the mother for several weeks.  Dwarf caiman are mainly nocturnal, spending the day in a burrow while going out at night to hunt.  You can see our dwarf caiman in Unseen New World.        
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  • Barn Owl Keeper Talk

    Jul 4th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Grassmere Historic Home and Farm

    Barns owls are the most widespread of any owl species and can be found in any habitat that meets their needs. As with other owls they swallow their prey whole and then cough up pellets which contain all the non-digestible parts of their prey such as bones and fur.

    Barn owls have great eyesight but they are renowned for their ability to hear extremely soft noises. A barn owl hunting in complete darkness can still locate and capture prey using sound alone. Barn owls have been known to nest in hollow trees and artificial nest boxes but earn their name by often taking up residence in old buildings such as abandoned barns and silos. You can see our barn owls at the Croft House barn.

     

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  • White-cheeked Gibbon Keeper Talk

    Jul 4th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Gibbon Islands
    Gibbons are not monkeys, but are considered lesser apes due in part to their lack of a tail and ability to walk bipedally on their back legs. Gibbons move through the trees by a process called brachiation which involves swinging using only their arms. Gibbons live in a family unit of an adult male and female and their offspring. The adult female is the dominant member of the group. White-cheeked gibbons are born blonde to camouflage with their mother and then turn black as juveniles. Females finally turn back to a blonde color at sexual maturity while the males stay black. You can see our gibbons on Gibbon Island near Entry Village. 
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jul 4th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Cassowary Keeper Talk

    Jul 4th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop

    Double-wattled cassowaries are solitary birds that live in some of the oldest rainforests in the world known as the “wet tropics.” They are the second largest birds in the world after the ostrich. They can be distinguished by their helmet-like casque atop their head and red wattles on their neck.

    Cassowaries are important to the diversity of the rainforest. They consume over 78 different species of plants. Their poop helps to germinate new plants by spreading the seeds of the consumed plants. Female cassowaries will lay their eggs and leave the males to do all the incubating and raising of the chicks for up to 9 months. You can see our cassowaries across from Kangaroo Kickabout.

     

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  • Africa Field Keeper Talk

    Jul 4th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm

    Africa field is home to several species including Ostrich, Eland, Bontebok, and other antelope species. 

    The ostrich is the largest flightless bird in the world. They can run about 40 miles an hour covering 10-16 feet with a single stride. The ostrich will often use their wings as rudders to help change direction quickly while running. Ostriches will live in groups of about 12 birds. All the females of the group will place their eggs in the nest of the dominant female. A single ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs! Ostriches can often be found around other grazing animals like antelope and zebras. Ostriches have great eyesight and will often alert other animals of predators in the area. It is myth that ostriches head their heads in the sand. They will put their necks close to the ground to try and hide from predators, from a distance it appears that their head is in the sand.

    Eland are one of the largest hooved animals in the world. They are very adaptable animals with the ability to live in all environments except deserts, forests, and swamps. They are some of the slowest antelope, running only 25 miles per hour. Eland will live in herds of up to 25. There may be more than one male but only the dominant male will have access to females for breeding. Calves are born after a 9 month gestation period and hide after they are born for protection. 

    The bontebok was nearly extinct in the wild but the creation of Bontebok National Park and breeding on game farms led to the current population of over 2,000 existing throughout southern Africa. Their current conservation status includes the closely related blesbok of which 250,000 exist. They graze during the day on grasses in small groups of about 10. Males will mark their territory with dung and participate in challenge rituals with neighboring males. Both males and females will grow horns. 

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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    Jul 4th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jul 4th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • Tarantula Keeper Talk

    Jul 5th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Unseen New World

    The Goliath Bird-eating Tarantula got its name from an explorer who spotted one eating a hummingbird, but their diet rarely consists of birds. Bird-eating tarantulas are the heaviest of all spiders and the second largest. They have inch long fangs which they use to infect venom into their prey. A bite would feel like a wasp sting to a human but it paralyzes its small prey. The tarantula then secretes digestive juices into its prey that turns its insides into liquid. Everything the tarantula eats must be in liquid form. Bird eating tarantulas do make webs, but they are not used to catch prey. They are used for shelter and protection. 50% of males are killed or injured during mating, which explains the dramatic difference in lifespans.

    You can see our Goliath Bird-eating Tarantula in Unseen New World.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jul 5th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Flamingo Keeper Talk

    Jul 5th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Flamingo Lagoon
    Caribbean flamingos are one of 6 species of flamingos which can be found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. During breeding season they gather in colonies of 5,000 - 100,000 birds. After attracting a partner through an elaborate mating dance a pair of flamingos will begin to build a mud mound on which the female will lay her egg. Both males and females will help incubate the egg and they share responsibilities in caring for the chick.  Flamingos are born gray and do not get their pink feathers until 1-3 years of age. Their diet contains carotenoid pigments which will give them their characteristic pink color. Flamingos are filter feeders and hold their head upside down in shallow water to strain out their food. Flamingos very rarely lay down and even sleep standing up, often only on one leg. You can see our flamingos in Flamingo Lagoon.
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  • Siamang Keeper Talk

    Jul 5th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Gibbon Islands
    Commonly mistaken for monkeys, siamangs are actually the largest of the lesser ape species. Like all apes, they lack tails and have the ability to move bipedially on their back legs only. Siamangs spend most of their day in trees moving through a process called brachiation meaning they move from tree to tree using only their arms. Siamangs live in a family group consisting a breeding pair and their offspring. Females will give birth every 2-3 years. Siamangs have an enlarged throat sac which can swell to the size of their head to amplify their vocalizations you can hear throughout the zoo!
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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    Jul 5th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Yellow-backed Duiker Keeper Talk

    Jul 5th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Yellow-backed duikers are the largest of all 15 species of duiker.  Adult duikers have black coats with a white face.  The yellow hair begins to appear on their back at 5-9 months and will stand up when the duiker feels threatened or becomes agitated. Little is known about the behavior of yellow-backed duikers due to their shy nature and the thick forests they call home.  Duikers will be solitary or live in a monogamous pair.  They can breed anytime during the year and typically have offspring twice a year.  Young duikers are hidden by their mothers in underbrush for the first several weeks of their life for protection from predators.   Due to their size duikers have to forage for much the day.  While foraging, duikers need to lookout for painted dogs, lions, and leopards.  One of their main defenses is to dive into the underbrush to evade predators.   Yellow-backed duikers have large scent glands underneath their eyes and in between their toes which they rub on trees to mark their territory.  Duikers will also use these glands to rub on their mates during courtship, familiarize young with their parents scent, and males will rub them on other males during competition.   You can see our yellow backed duikers on Bamboo Trail.        
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  • Rhinoceros Hornbill Keeper Talk

    Jul 5th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm

    The rhinoceros hornbill is one of 54 species of hornbill that exist. The rhinoceros hornbill can be distinguished by its banana-shaped casque on the top of its beak. It is thought that this is used to amplify the sound of its call. It is made out of keratin, just like our fingernails and hair and is very strong and lightweight.

    Rhinoceros hornbills chose a nest high in a tree cavity. With The female inside a breeding pair works together to cover the opening with mud and scat, leaving only a small slit to pass food through. The female stays inside the nest for 3 months incubating and caring for the eggs. You can see our rhinoceros hornbill on Bamboo Trail.

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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    Jul 5th, 2016
    3:00pm - 3:15pm
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jul 5th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    Jul 6th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!