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Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
Hospitality, Recreation, Zoos & National Parks
Founded in 1990, Nashville Zoo's mission is to promote environmental and species conservation through education and recreation. Drive to create a world-class zoo for Nashville, the staff and board of directors are transforming the Grassmere property on Nolensville Road into a gorgeous zoological garden lined with natural habitats for some of the most amazing creatures on earth. In the last five years alone, the Zoo created no less than a dozen habitats and features including the 'Jungle Gym,' the Unseen New World, a new entrance, a restaurant and gift shop and 'Critter Encounters,' a children's petting zoo. The Zoo has refurbished the Historic Home and built a beautiful barn to go with it. Nashville Zoo has also opened Gibbon Islands, a Hyacinth Macaw exhibit along with meercats, Manchurian cranes and saddle-billed storks. In 2003, Bamboo trail opened introducing guests to clouded leopards, red pandas, Schmidt's guenons, rhinoceros hornbills, cassowary and ring-tailed lemurs.
This year, Nashville Zoo has had a very ambitious development year marked most recently with the opening of the Lorikeet Landing, an interactive walk-in exhibit for guests to have up close interaction with beautiful Australian parrots. The Wild Animal Carousel also opened this fall and features 39 hand-painted, hand-carved wooden animals representing species currently residing at Nashville Zoo or animals that may be making their entrance soon. The carousel is a detailed exhibit of artistry, with hand-painted scenes depicting animals in their geographical locations and magnificent sculptures on four of the wood pavilion beams.
The most notable accomplishment for Nashville Zoo in 2005 was marked by the opening of the African Elephant Savannah. This 3-acre habitat closely resembles the grasslands of Africa complete with a 150,000 gallon wading pool, mud hole and tall trees to shade our three elephants. The habitat is also landscaped with more than 7,000 plants to present a feeling of being in an exotic environment. Because of the beautiful natural setting, large open spaces, attention to detail and unique design of this exhibit, zoological experts from around the country have visited Nashville to learn how their habitats can be improved to resemble a more natural environment for these amazing animals.
The African Elephant Savannah is the start of an entire representation of Africa with the next step being the arrival of giraffes to Nashville Zoo. Not only is Nashville Zoo going to acquire these graceful animals, but we have managed to reserve three Masai giraffes. This particular species of giraffe is identified by an oak-leaf shaped spot pattern. There are currently only 54 Masai giraffes in North American Zoos and we are proud to say that we will be creating a home for three of these 54. This is a significant milestone for Nashville Zoo since giraffes are the focal point of the Nashville Zoo logo. Because this milestone is so important to Nashville Zoo and in turn, the city of Nashville, the Zoo is asking that the community embrace the exciting new species and help achieve the fundraising goals necessary to build the state-of-the art giraffe barn, create a natural habitat that replicates the elephant exhibit, acquire the giraffes, transport the animals and maintain the exhibit for years to come.
In January, Nashville Zoo will launch a community-wide effort asking everyone to support the project. The effort will include major individual donors, corporate sponsors and a grassroots effort that will be highly visible and intensely marketed to Nashville and the surrounding areas. It is this effort that we would like to be able to recognize by incorporating a donor recognition wall or structure that would be permanently placed at the giraffe exhibit. Because this is a community effort, we would like the recognition structure to be designed by a Tennessean as well and be reflective of the grace and beauty that giraffes will bring to our city.
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