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Review of the Memphis Zoo and the American Museum of Science & Energy in Oak Ridge TN
So it was mothers day and we decided to go to the Memphis Zoo, as we still were in the city. We had heard that the Zoo was worth seeing.
So we headed into a pleasant part of Memphis with giant trees that line streets, shadowing huge southern style mansions.
Started in 1906 with one animal. the Zoo now spans over 70 acres with over 3500 animals. They have over 500 species with great theme exhibits and an aquarium. The admission cost when we went was only $15.00 a relative bargain we discovered in the end.
So we parked right next to the zoo, and the cost was only $5.00. The day was a little hot and humid but we got there fairly early.
There was not a huge line to get tickets and we got right in to a nice courtyard with a big monolith with hieroglyphics and a fun splash pond.
The zoo was nicely laid out according to the map and everything was on a nice circle and it even has a tram if you want it.
ANIMALS OF THE NIGHT
This was a cool exhibit that had many animals I had not seen before like an aardvark, and vampire bats flying in a tunnel.
I enjoyed this exhibit, in a dark room, although some of the animals you wanted to really see were not out.
This was spread out a little and I got to see some gibbons, orangutan, and gorillas. The gorilla exhibit was cool as you can get pretty close and see them eating and moving around.
I missed the baboons and I wish I found them.
A hike up some ramps. We saw some cool white wolves, one really up close. We also saw some Grizzly bears but missed the Elk as they were not in the enclosure.
Next we headed over to the stand to get some water as it was very hot. This helped out a lot and is a good recommendation to remember to always keep hydrated.
Here we got to see some sea lions and cooled off in the inside exhibit. The polar bear was swimming, the black bears were sunning, but the real stars of this was the bald eagle exhibit.
There were three of them up close and personal and well worth the price of admission.
This was a good exhibit and had one single Panda in the enclosure who was not very big. The one thing I wanted to see was the Komodo dragons.
They had three of them and two of them were quite large.
This was well worth it as they were very intimidating. I wished I had seen the otters, but I missed them. The Komodo dragons are in the Dragons Lair.
EXHIBITS WE SKIPPED
ONCE UPON A FARM - We skipped this farm exhibit mostly because we don't like the smell of farm animals and we wanted to see other exhibits.
But they have horses, donkeys, hogs, and chickens.
TROPICAL BIRD HOUSE - we skipped this so I don't have much to report here but has toucans and other exotic birds.
PELICAN POOL - a pool with a couple of very large pelicans. I dont like pelicans so I kept my distance and looked at them from afar.
They have a couple of fun things to do if you are a little more adventurous. You can feed the giraffes in an up close and personal encounter. Of you can take a ride on the back of a camel. Both cost an extra $5.00 but may be worth the experience.
We rushed through this and missed some of the animals here. Mainly because it was kind of a cut through the park.
We did see the elephants and they were impressive. One even trumpeted. We also saw the ostrich.
This was a cool but small exhibit, It is indoors so you can get out of the heat and you can see an eel, a large soft shell turtle, and other aquatic animals.
Some outdoor exhibits with flamingos, a rather large herd, some red river hogs, and Klipspringer. Worth a quick look.
The sting ray bay was is setup in a tent and was something we wanted to see. But it is not a free exhibit, it costs another $4.00 and so we decided it was not worth it since we have petted and seen a ton of them. But if you have not petted sting rays then this is probably worth it.
This is basically a huge spire rock with a bunch of penguins on it or swimming in the moat like pool surrounding it.
Great place to see reptiles and amphibians. We saw a couple of crocodiles, a lot of turtles and some large boas. A couple of highlights was an up close view of diamond back rattle snakes, and some miniature spider tortoises.
This is an awesome exhibit if you love cats. Besides the lions (these are the least favorite of the exhibit) they had tigers that you could see up close and personal.
We also saw a black leopard and jaguar, a puma, two cheetahs, and a weird looking Egyptian cat. The star that I saw was a red panda, we caught only a quick glimpse of him running back into his house.
Then it was all done!
Finally the day was done and we were tired anyway. Mostly from the travels and the heat. Expect to take about 3-4 hours to see the whole zoo and longer if you want to revisit other sites or see some of the shows.
This was a lot more than we expected and for the price of $15.00 it was well worth the cost. I highly recommend this zoo as a great place to see while visiting Memphis.
American Museum of Science & Energy in Oak Ridge TN
300 S Tulane,
Oak Ridge, TN 37830
Phone: (865) 576-3200
The museum opened in 1949 in an old wartime cafeteria. It was originally named the American Museum of Atomic Energy. Its guided tours took visitors through the peaceful uses of atomic energy. The present facility, opened in 1975, continues to provide the general public with energy information. The name of the museum was changed to the American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE) in 1978.
This really has a lot to do about the Manhattan Project. Oak Ridge was built under a cloak of secrecy by the United States government during World War II as a major site of the Manhattan Project, the massive wartime effort that produced the world’s first atomic weapons.
In 1942, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers bought an estimated 60,000 acres of rural farm land to construct a "temporary" city and three facilities to develop technology that ended the war.
After the war, Oak Ridge transitioned from a “temporary” military town into an independent city and became self-governing in 1959 as residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of under a modified city manager-council form of government incorporation.
The museum is only $5.00 to get in. And that is a relative bargain. It is not a large museum only two floors and the first floor does not have much.
There is a lot of history about the atomic project, radiation, and the history of the project. This was quite interesting, to learn about the Manhattan Project, see the facility, the women who ran the huge machines.
They even had the flat top home that the people who worked on the project lived in. We spent about two hours there and saw most everything. They have fun and interesting thing for all ages.
So if you are in the area and want a great inexpensive thing to see, this is the place to go.