Our last stop on our way home was at the Knoxville Zoo. One really nice perk of a zoo membership is reciprocal agreements with other zoos. Most either offer free admission or give a signficant discount to members of other zoos. In Knoxville, all we had to pay for was parking. Our museum membership has a similar network–definitely a great way to support local institutions and at the same time save money on vacation.
It was, however, a somewhat grey day, with showers on and off. There were very few other attendees, as the animals were also taking it easy. The river otter, however, was having a good time doing back flips.
They have a striking profile.
My daughter has been taking up the photo habit as well.
There were a pair of non-releasable bald eagles hanging out.
The red wolf is a very endangered species. The core wild population is actually in my old neck of the woods: southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas.
I think we woke the lion.
We went to go see the Malayan tigers, where a keeper was just wrapping up a talk.
We spoke with the keeper. Tam, and his brother, were cubs five years ago in the Cincinnati Zoo. They were some of my first cat photos! I showed them a few baby pics, with a lot of “awwws.” They looked at my favorite shot of them, below, and they thought it might be Tam.
The drizzle picked up, and Tam got bored of us.
The centerpiece of the Knoxville Zoo is their Red Panda Village.
In fact, more red pandas have been born in Knoxville, 101, than any other zoo in the Western Hemisphere. Only a Dutch zoo has had more.
Red pandas are the only remaining true panda species. The giant panda–the black and white kind–are actually bears.
Red pandas were actually discovered (and named) first.
They also happen to be my daughter’s favorite animal.
We had a lot of fun wrestle and chase each other.
We could have spent a long time watching the firefoxes, as red pandas are also known, play. However, we had to make our way back to Cincinnati.