Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Nashville, TN

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Nashville, TN

Happy July! Hope that everyone is enjoying their summer! We certainly are here at Ocean4!

This month’s articles comes to you from the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Nashville, TN. Thank you so much to Jim Bartoo for working with us. It was a pleasure doing this article with the Nashville Zoo!

Zoo Entrance - Courtesy of Jim Bartoo

Zoo Entrance – Courtesy of Jim Bartoo

Q: How many different species do you have at the Nashville Zoo? Which species is the most rare/unique?

 A: Nashville Zoo currently has 401 different species representing 2,516 animals. We have several animals that are highly endangered including clouded leopards, hellbenders and bongo.

hellbender - Courtesy of Christian Sperka

hellbender – Courtesy of Christian Sperka

 

Q: What was the most challenging exhibit to design and install?

A: While all had their challenges, Bamboo Trail was particularly tricky because it involved a tremendous amount of work in a very small space during adverse weather conditions.

 

Q: What is the most popular exhibit with your visitors and why?

A: That would be difficult to determine. Everybody has their preferences. Some of our most popular include Bamboo Trail, African Elephant Savanna, the meerkat habitat, Gibbon Islands, Flamingo Lagoon, Unseen New World and Alligator Cove.

Elephant - Courtesy of Christian Sperka

Elephant – Courtesy of Christian Sperka

Elephant Savannah - Courtesy of David Bailey

Elephant Savannah – Courtesy of David Bailey

Flamingo Lagoon - Courtesy of David Bailey

Flamingo Lagoon – Courtesy of David Bailey

 

Q: How much food does the aquarium go through in one week for all of the species?

A: Nashville Zoo’s weekly food bill for our animal collection is around $4,500.

 

Q: Who is the newest addition to the Nashville Zoo family?

A: On February 5, Nashville Zoo welcomed the birth of a female Eastern bongo…named Hidaya.

 

Bongo calf and mom - Courtesy of Amiee Stubbs

Bongo calf and mom – Courtesy of Amiee Stubbs

Q: The Nashville Zoo is approaching the grand opening of their new exhibit, Kangaroo Kickabout? What inspired the zoo to add it?

A: Our guests enjoy close encounters with animals so we wanted to give them an opportunity to not only see a new animal but actually go into the exhibit. We have seen walk-though exhibits with kangaroos at other zoos and wanted to try it here.

Kangaroo - Courtesy of Amiee Stubbs

Kangaroo – Courtesy of Amiee Stubbs

Q: The Nashville Zoo is highly involved with many conservation efforts. Could you tell us some of the amazing work the Nashville Zoo has done in this area?

A: In 2012 we became the first to breed Eastern hellbenders in captivity and the first to breed any hellbender using biotechnology. We send staff to Thailand to work on clouded leopard conservation. Reptile experts from the Zoo visit Haiti to establish proper habitat ranges for giant galliwasp. Closer to home, Nashville Zoo experts make significant improvements to the Mill Creek watershed protecting threatened Nashville crayfish.

 

Q: Since education is an important component to the Nashville Zoo, what is the most important info you’d hope visitors walk away with?

A: Ideally, we want our guest to be inspired by our natural world. Inspired enough to seek more knowledge, make environmentally sound decisions, and take steps to protect the planet’s disappearing treasures.

Lorikeet Landing - Courtesy of Allan Hunt

Lorikeet Landing – Courtesy of Allan Hunt

Q: What is your personal favorite aspect of the aquarium?

A: My favorite part of Nashville Zoo is watching a child discover something they’ve never seen before. Their expressions of excitement and joy are priceless.

Meerkats - Courtesy of David Bailey

Meerkats – Courtesy of David Bailey