Hollywild Animal Park's family of animal lovers care for a stable of four-legged, photogenic stars. Dozens of resident critters include lions, a white tiger, and Tank, the white rhino best known for giving its spots to an outcast cow in an act of zoological altruism. Trips on the Outback Safari ride breeze past 70 acres of rolling terrain, and visitors can purchase feed to bestow upon hungry quadrupeds including fallow deer, zebras, and Scottish Highlanders. A specialized feeding area provides additional opportunities to bottle feed the next generation of mammalian stars, and a picnic area gives humans chances to gloat about opposable thumbs as they nosh nimbly on sandwiches.
The days of dragons, princesses, and magic wands are revived at MagiQuest, an interactive medieval quest experience for all ages. The course takes visitors through a live-action game that creeps through dungeons, a village, and a fairy forest as players encounter myriad characters, sneak through secret doors, defeat a goblin king, and return jewels to the princess. The fun doesn’t stop when the game ends, as MagiQuest also has an on-site black light mini golf course, a laser spy challenge, and a mirror maze.
Visitors can explore the museum's various exhibits and the hibernating aircraft taking up residence in its 35,000-square-foot hangar. Sightseers can also feed hungry retinas with several replica aircraft and vintage cockpit displays or browse the exhibit gallery filled with memorabilia, set up along the 52 ft. Wave Wall, which includes the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame and General Jimmy Doolittle's Congressional Medal of Honor. Lucky folks may also hear an eight-ton World War II P-47 D Thunderbolt roar overhead during one of the many unscheduled flight demonstrations; check online for special events throughout the year.
Tucked away in the Smoky Mountains, Rainforest Adventures Zoo nurtures a diverse family of more than 120 tropical and temperate species, many born in captivity. Brilliantly hued macaws and finches share space with eccentric guests such as lemurs, hissing cockroaches, and reclusive business mogul Howard Hughes. Elsewhere, guests get up close with a cuddly collective of mammals such as a giant porcupine, African servals, and coatimundi, as well as cold-blooded crocodiles, lizards, and snakes.
Sprawling across 160+ acres of verdant grounds, Circle G Ranch curates a herd of more than 700+ exotic animals, allowing visitors to cruise down a 3-mile path to get close to the curious creatures. Zebras, emus, deer, and alpaca trot up to vehicles for handfuls of delicious feed, and guided safari-truck and camelback tours impart nuggets of information on the park's wildlife. After treks, visitor head to the petting zoo to visit a rotating gang of cuddly animals, such as baby lambs, goats, and parrots, along with an African crested porcupine and a family of sulcata tortoises.
Ijams Nature Center is committed to outdoor conservation and recreation, supplying members with rugged nature trails, an eco-friendly learning center, and a wildlife sanctuary spread over 300 acres. The visitor's center reduces energy emissions through passive solar heating, and most of the building's surfaces were constructed using materials made from recycled newspaper, cardboard, and grocery bags. New and permanent exhibits fill this space, such as Ijams Family History—which showcases the traditional preserved birds that highlight their passion for ornithology. Inside the forest exhibit, correct answers to questions light up components inside a giant walk-through tree, and glass cases hold specimens such as a hummingbird nest and snakeskin.
Heading outside, guests enter the raptor enclosure—a sheltered structure and small amphitheater housing a red-tailed hawk and turkey vulture, who read excerpts from their favorite Looney Tunes fan fiction during educational demonstrations. From here, all-ages visitors explore a greenhouse and organic garden. Children can frolic in Jo's Grove—an interactive nature play area replete with hidden spaces and materials for building a nature fort. Hikers and mountain bikers can traverse ten miles of surface trails that wind through mature woodlands, as well as Mead's Quarry and Ross Marble Natural Area.