COVID Protocols

COVID Policy Update:

Masks Now Required for Entry to Zoo Knoxville To Comply With Emergency Executive Order No. 19 Issued By The Mayor of the City of Knoxville

Effective July 1, 2020, masks or cloth face coverings will be required for ages 12 and up to enter Zoo Knoxville to comply with the Emergency Executive Order No. 19 issued by City of Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon.

Mayor Kincannon mandates masks be worn inside City-owned buildings, which includes zoo public indoor areas such as restrooms, indoor viewing areas, restaurants and the Zoo Shop.

Masks are NOT required for outdoor areas or for children under the age of 12.

The Zoo asks visitors to show their masks at the time of entry and the zoo will be offering disposable masks for purchase at the zoo’s cost ($1 each) for any guests who do not have one.  The Zoo is requiring them at entry to make sure all guests are equipped to comply with the order should they need or want to enter an indoor area during their visit.

Zoo Knoxville appreciates guests’ assistance to follow the order and asks guests to help them stay open by:

  • Maintaining 6 feet of physical distance between groups
  • Using ground markings and directional signs to maintain safe distancing in areas where people may gather
  • Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer stations throughout the zoo frequently
  • Staying home if you are sick or in a high risk group


The way we do things has changed for all of us over the last few weeks. Here is what you can expect on  your zoo visit.

  • Advanced purchase for general admission tickets online or by phone is recommended.
  • One-way traffic only on the Gorilla Valley/Chimp Ridge Trail and on the path from Gibbon Trails to Langur Landing in Asian Trek to allow physical distancing.
  • Indoor seating will be available at Aldo’s and Beastro Cafe, following Knox County Health Department Phase 2 guidelines.
  • Clayton Safari Splash water play area will be open
  • Kids Cove will be partially opened as safe physical distancing allows.
    -Night Club and Aviary will remain closed at this time.
    -Kids Cove water play stream will be open.
    -Animal contact yard will be open.
    -Sand box and playground will remain closed.
  • The Fuzzy-Go-Round Carousel and Zoo Choo Train are open.
  • Giraffe feedings will be available as a “mask required” experience for ages 3 and up.
  • Wee Play Adventure indoor play area will remain closed.
  • Elephant indoor viewing and Langur indoor viewing are open with one way traffic and doors propped open.
  • Kids Cove Barn Loft is open as a nursing station.
  • Camel Feedings will begin to be offered as a “mask required” experience as schedule permits.
  • Asian Trek Treehouse open but tiger viewing at bottom level will be restricted.
  • Strollers and electric scooters are not allowed on the Asian Trek swinging bridge, and access is limited to one group on bridge at a time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I purchase tickets when I arrive at the zoo?

  • Yes, but we strongly encourage purchasing tickets onlineat or by phone at (865) 637-5331 to minimize contact for safety.  You may be asked to delay entry if we are at capacity.

What if I am a passholder or member?  Do I need a reservation?

  • No, you may show your pass at the front gate for entry.

What areas are closed?

  • To make sure we are in compliance with the Knox County Health Department’s guidelines, all indoor areas and any outdoor areas that make it difficult to maintain physical distancing will be closed.  Some areas of the zoo will operate in a “one-way” direction along pathways for safety.

Am I required to wear a mask?

  • Masks are required to enter the zoo, but are only required to be worn in INDOOR areas per the City of Knoxville Emergency Ordinance No. 19. They are NOT required for outdoor areas.  Don’t have one? We have inexpensive ones available for purchase at the zoo.

Will the restaurants be open?

  • The Beastro and Aldo’s Grill will be open.

Will hand sanitizer be available?

  • Yes, hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the zoo and restrooms will be open for handwashing.

How often are you cleaning in guest areas?

  • Our cleaning protocols currently include scheduled wipe-downs and cleaning of benches, railings and other public contact points three times daily with a deep-clean sanitation spray before reopening daily.