Zoo Friday Safari

Safari Fridays at the Nashville Zoo include 10-15 minute Keeper talks, where you can find out interesting facts about featured animals like this hyacinth macaw.

Safari Fridays are back at the Nashville Zoo!

And if you want to go to the Zoo, this is your best bargain deal because it is a buy-one, get-one free offer for Kroger Plus card holders on Fridays in July and August.

“We know Kroger shoppers love a great deal,” said Jim Bartoo, marketing director for the zoo, noting that the Safari Friday partnership has been a popular staple for more than a decade.

To get the two-for-one Safari deal, just show your Kroger Plus card at the zoo’s ticket building. It means you could get two adult/teen tickets for $20 or two children’s tickets for $16.

Or a family of four for $36 – instead of twice that on other days. Definitely a Ms. Cheap deal.

To make the most of your visit, be sure to check the nashvillezoo.org for a schedule for the day you plan to visit because the zoo has an assortment of super engaging “Keeper Talks” where visitors can learn all about select zoo animals.

Keeper talks, which last 10-15 minutes, vary from day to day. Featured animals include the alligators, flamingos, guinea pigs, hyacinth macaw and more. And you can find out all kinds of fun facts about what they eat, how they sleep, etc.

A great example is the popular Kangaroo Keeper Talk where the keeper explains to visitors how the females use their pouch to carry their babies (called joeys) and that kangaroos are plant-eaters, that can go for long periods of time without drinking water by eating moisture-filled succulent plants.

You will learn that kangaroos are the largest marsupials and the largest mammals in Australia.

Oh, and kangaroos can run 40 miles per hour, jump 30 feet long, and 10 feet high!

The keeper talk schedule for each day is posted on the zoo website, along with times for the wonderful (and interactive) daily Animal Shows, which are held in the amphitheater. The amphitheater capacity is still just 50 people, so the advice is to arrive about 20 minutes before showtime to get a seat.

All of these programs are free with admission. Regular admission to the zoo is $16-$23, depending on age and which day you visit.

Mallory Immel, communications specialist for the zoo, says some of the most popular areas to visit include Tiger Crossroads, Expedition Peru: Trek of the Andean Bear, the rope bridge over to spider monkey; Lorikeet Landing and Kangaroo Kickabout.

The zoo’s popular jungle gym playground is set to reopen this fall, and will include a new all-inclusive section designed for children of all abilities and disabilities.

The Safari Friday promotion is one of the few bargain deals offered by the zoo.

The other – maybe even better- way to enjoy the zoo is by buying a membership. The price is affordable and not only do you get unlimited admission to our zoo, but members receive free parking, discounts in food and gift outlets and reciprocal memberships (or discounted admission) to 170 other zoos and attractions including the Memphis Zoo, Zoo Atlanta, Birmingham Zoo, Knoxville Zoo and the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. Members also get member rates to special events and educational programs at the Nashville Zoo.

Membership rates range from $75 for a single membership to $150 for a household membership to $220 for a “safari set” membership, a biggie, which includes two adults, two guests and up to six children.

The Nashville Zoo currently has about 38,000 household members.

The Nashville Zoo is at 3777 Nolensville Pike. It is currently open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and you no longer need to reserve advance tickets. You can just show up.

Zoo officials claim to be the No. 1 family attraction in Nashville with an annual attendance (in 2019 pre COVID) of 1.2 million.

Mary Hance, who has four decades of journalism experience in the Nashville area, writes a weekly Ms. Cheap column. She also appears on Thursdays on Talk of the Town on NewsChannel5. Reach her at mscheap@mainstreetmediatn.com and follow her on Facebook as Facebook.com/mscheap

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