If you’re looking for a fun and educational day trip near Gatlinburg, RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo is an excellent destination for families with children. Offering a touch of the tropics, the zoo features over 600 tropical and temperate-zone animals as well as educational programs, live shows, animal petting and feeding, and a large gift shop. It’s also indoors, so it makes a perfect rainy-day excursion from the cabin.
This hidden gem of an experience is an educational, entertaining, exotic outing that engages people of all ages, the whole family. It’s known as one of the finest small zoos in the country and it’s a fascinating place that can keep you spellbound for hours.
RainForest Zoo is home to more than 130 animal species, including various types of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, and insects – all with an exotic aspect and with vivid colors. You and your children may recognize many of these species from shows on channels like Discover or Animal Planet.
Many of the animals were born or hatched at the zoo or in some form of captivity, and many of them are very comfortable around humans, and playing with kids. The mammals include a lot of furry and cute creatures including lemurs, wild cats, the African hedgehog, and of course, the Golden-Headed Lion Tamarins, pictured here, some of the smallest and rarest monkeys on Earth.
There are many multi-colored birds, both large and small, as well as amphibians such as frogs with distinctive faces and great personality, and the reptile family which includes various snakes of course, and turtles, crocodiles, lizards (gecko!) and tortoises. And all of them seem to be amazingly more colorful than the domestic creatures we are used to.
One primary focus of the zoo is to disseminate education about rain-forest inhabitants to children and adults alike. Staff members are often on-site in the petting area to answer questions, or else conducting educational programs with hands-on learning.The zoo welcomes school and other groups – up to 250 people! – and knows how to put on a fascinating and engaging show.
Many of the attractions of the Smoky Mountains are perfect for home-schooling parents who want to provide a fun vacation filled with sights that broaden the mind, and RainForest Zoo is certainly one of those.
RainForest Zoo Tickets, Parking, and Getting There
RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo is open year-round and features on-site parking and reasonably priced tickets. Discounts are available for children and seniors. There are also group discounts offered if your party is made up of 10 or more. If you plan on visiting often during the same year, the “Zoo Pass” gives you unlimited visits to the RainForest Zoo for an entire year.
The zoo is located in the fun town of Sevierville, just up the road from Pigeon Forge, and about 15 miles north of Gatlinburg. At stoplight 13.4 in Sevierville, you’ll find the zoo behind the NASCAR Café restaurant and adjacent to the Tanger Outlet Mall. Many other attractions and restaurants are located nearby if you opt to make a day of it.
As you plan for your trip, be sure to pack your camera – photography and video recording is welcomed at the zoo – and find a good place to enjoy lunch or an early dinner, since there are no food offerings in the Zoo itself.
The gift shop, however, is overflowing with attractive items. Amazon Traders offers books, puzzles, games, clothing, furry toys and many other things from around the world, including carvings, animal mementos and gift items. You can buy Iguana Hot Sauce and you can of course get a penny pressed with an animal motif for your keepsake form this distinctive, exotic zoo.
RainForest Adventure Discovery Zoo – Contact Information
Consider planning to make RainForest Adventures a part of your Gatlinburg cabin rental vacation or Pigeon Forge cabin rental vacation. And remember that while cabin living is a great way to have a family reunion, the RainForest Zoo can cater to your group as well: Family Groups at the RainForest Zoo.