Looking for something to do this weekend? Why not head over to the Nashville Zoo!
Situated on what used to be prime Tennessee farmland, the Nashville Zoo is now a centrally-located, expanding resource for fun and learning, for families both in Nashville and across the state. The land was originally willed to what was then the Children’s Museum of Nashville (now the Adventure Science Center) by the last two members of the family that had lived on and worked the land at Grassmere throughout Nashville’s history, Margaret and Elise Croft.
The Croft sisters expressed in their wills the wish that their beloved home would be used as a “nature study center,” where the people of Nashville could come to enjoy and learn about animals and the environment. In 1996, the Nashville Zoo took over the property that had been Grassmere Wild Animal Park, and they began a journey that would truly honor the sisters’ wishes.
Sporting the largest community-built playground in the United States, the Crofts’ Historic Home available for seasonal tours, and several dynamic and interactive exhibits with a diverse population of animals, the Zoo continues to up the ante of its offerings. Newer exhibits such as spider monkeys, the interactive Kangaroo Kickabout, and cassowary enclosures continue to be popular among Zoo-goers of all ages.
Most recently, on March 15th, the Zoo cut the ribbon on a large addition. Expedition Peru is a village of enclosures featuring Andean bears, guinea pigs, and a southern pudu (a tiny South American deer!) named Carol. And check out the women’s restroom in this area for a special surprise!
In the month of April, the Zoo will be offering several unique opportunities for family springtime fun, and that’s what we will highlight in this post. Consider making plans to attend one or more of these awesome community events at the Nashville Zoo!
Week of the Young Child Kick-Off!
The Week of the Young Child, a focus week sponsored and coordinated by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), will kick-off its Nashville Area celebrations with a special event at the Nashville Zoo, April 15th from 2-5 PM.
Zoo admission on the weekends is $13 for a child, and $18 for an adult, or free with a zoo membership. This weekend admission fee grants you access to all the zoo’s animal exhibits, shows, and even some close-up encounters. On this special occasion, the Zoo will have bounce houses, obstacle courses, live music, and other activities geared towards our little ones set up in addition to their everyday offerings!
As part of this event, the Nashville Zoo will also be hosting booths that will provide information and resources for parents of young children in the Nashville Area.
Party for the Planet
On Friday April 20th, two days before Earth Day, the Zoo will host its third annual Party for the Planet! This will include games and activities, interactive experiences, special keeper talks, and visits and education from local conservation organizations. There will even be a recycled art contest for kids, from Pre-K to 12th grade in three age categories, in which the 1st place winners will receive a free family membership to the Zoo! See the event page on the Nashville Zoo website for details, as the contest requires pre-registration.
The Zoo is a leader in conservation efforts and environmentally-conscious education. Their participation in the Species Survival Plan is just one of many programs at the Zoo which focus on the preservation of all our Earth has to offer us.
The Party for the Planet will be a fun-filled way to join the conversation about what we can do to celebrate and protect Mother Nature, and to start that conversation with our children.
Meet Me at the Zoo
Here’s something we bet you didn’t know. On special days, your children can meet beloved Disney characters at the Nashville Zoo!
The Meet Me at the Zoo program features meet-and-greets with your children’s favorite characters, including Disney princesses and Star Wars personalities! Past Disney princess visits have included the illustrious names of Snow White, Cinderella, and Belle!
Although the next Disney princess meet-and-greet is scheduled on faraway August 18th, this month brings characters from a long time ago and a galaxy far far away to our very own backyard! The Star Wars themed Meet Me at the Zoo takes place on Saturday April 28th, from 10 AM to 3 PM, and is free with your zoo admission or membership.
The characters will be available for photos, and guests are encouraged to dress up as their favorite characters from the Star Wars universe!
Autism Awareness Day
Partnering with Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD), the Nashville Zoo will bring you its 5th Annual Autism Awareness Day on Sunday, April 29th!
This event is free with your zoo admission or membership, and will feature family-oriented activities including animal encounters, a zoo-wide scavenger hunt, sensory tours, and more.
The Zoo has gone the extra mile to ensure that this day is accessible to those on the autism spectrum. Through their partnership with TRIAD, they have developed planning materials specifically to enhance the visit of guests on the autism spectrum, including a zoo map that highlights quiet and loud areas, a visual schedule, and social stories about common experiences at the zoo like petting animals or waiting in line. These resources can be found on the Autism Awareness Day event page on the Nashville Zoo website.
But Wait, There’s More…
Here at High Hopes, we are very excited about all the Zoo has to offer our young friends and their families in the month of April. But we’re not done yet!
The zoo is a wonderful place, where it’s fun to learn information and skills. Our therapists have several tips for your family if you intend to take a trip to the zoo. Click the slideshow below to see what they recommend! These ideas can be useful for children of all ability levels, and may enhance your family’s experience at the Nashville Zoo.