The Memphis zoo is really one of the top zoos in the nation. It may not be as big as some of the others, but it is extremely well-maintained. The first thing you will notice when arriving is the huge main entrance, which resembles an ancient Egyptian monument (since Memphis is named after a city in Egypt). There are plenty of safe and secure parking areas, and it is handicapped-accessible.
Once inside, you will find that the Egyptian theme is continued. There is a river going down the main walkway that resembles a scale model of the Nile. There is an abundance of plants and large trees, so there should be more than enough shade even for the hottest of days.
The animal exhibits themselves are fantastic. Most are accurate recreations of that particular animal’s real environment. The exhibits are also quite large, and the animals all seem very active, so viewing them is quite easy. The zoo is set up in different zones, and each one has its own decorations or theme. There is a wide variety of animals and fish to view here and many different areas to sit and rest. There is also a playground and train for the kids to ride on.
The premier exhibit at the Memphis zoo is the new "China" exhibit. The Memphis zoo is one of the few zoos in the country to have the giant pandas on display. This exhibit is amazing and only 2 years old. They have done an entire section of the zoo up to look like a Chinese village and have a variety of animals from S.E. Asia there, in addition to the pandas. There is also a carousel there with animals from Chinese folklore for kids to ride. They also show you a 15-minute movie before entering the exhibit to show the two pandas' trip from China to Memphis. There is a small additional fee to see the China exhibit, but it is really worth it, as it is one of the best parts of the zoo.
It’s a great time for everyone, especially families. Be warned, though, on 70- to 80-degree weekends, that this place is packed. During the week, it's not bad at all, or if it's 80+ degrees, people don’t come in droves. You can find the zoo's website here.