Zoos and Animal Attractions near Gatlinburg, Tennessee

If you’re looking for the best zoos near Gatlinburg TN, we’ve got you covered! The Gatlinburg area is a great place to visit with the whole family because it offers so many fun attractions. Families who are searching for an unforgettable experience with exotic and live animals are in for a treat.

We have narrowed down the best animal attractions near Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and Pigeon Forge. So, if you’re an animal lover planning a trip to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, you’ll want to check out our list below of the best zoos near Gatlinburg!

1. Ober Gatlinburg’s Wildlife Encounter

Ober Gatlinburg in downtown Gatlinburg offers a wildlife experience where visitors can view all kinds of animals. Some of the different animal species you will find at the Wildlife Encounter include black bears, bobcats, raccoons, and owls.

two baby black bears

Guests can also see river otters in an underwater viewing area and birds of prey in an aviary. This Gatlinburg animal attraction is open year-round; although, some of the animals hibernate in the winter.

2. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is the top aquarium in the Gatlinburg area. Visitors can view all sorts of marine animals, including sting rays, sharks, fish, and more. Ripley’s Aquarium also offers a special penguin viewing area called the Penguin Playhouse. Additionally, the aquarium features a penguin encounter for an additional fee where guests can even pet a penguin. 

two black bears with text overlay Best Animal Attractions Gatlinburg Tennessee

3. Smoky Mountain Deer Farm 

The Smoky Mountain Deer Farm and Exotic Petting Zoo is located in Sevierville, TN just outside of Gatlinburg. This farm features a petting zoo with exotic animals like elk, zebras, baby goats, miniature horses, camels, pigs, and more! Smoky Mountain Deer Farm also offers pony rides for little ones along with horseback riding experiences.

4. Parrot Mountain and Gardens

red parrot and blue with yellow parrot

Parrot Mountain and Gardens is located in Pigeon Forge and is home to tropical birds like toucans, macaws, parrots, and more. This beautiful garden also features a gift shop and deli. Parrot Mountain offers a bird encounter where visitors are allowed to feed and pet the exotic birds. This experience makes a great photo op!

5. Rainforest Adventures Zoo

The Rainforest Zoo is located in Sevierville, Tennessee and is open year-round. It features animals from rainforests around the world, including snakes, lemurs, parrots, turtles, and more.

6. Dollywood’s Eagle Mountain Sanctuary

Visitors to the Dollywood Theme Park can enjoy its very own animal attraction, the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary. This Dollywood attraction is one of the largest Bald Eagle exhibits in the United States.

7. Zoo Knoxville

elephants at Zoo Knoxville

Located just over an hour’s drive from Gatlinburg, the city of Knoxville features one of the best zoos in the state of Tennessee. Some of the amazing animals you’ll see at Zoo Knoxville include lions, elephants, giraffes, chimpanzees, tigers, rhinos, and gorillas. This zoo also offers fun activities like animal encounters, zip line ride, carousel, splash pad, and kiddie train.

8. Chattanooga Zoo

Sitting southwest of Gatlinburg, the city of Chattanooga, TN offers its own zoo for visitors. The Chattanooga Zoo is much smaller in size than Zoo Knoxville, but it’s really easy to tour. Some of the animals you’ll find at the Chattanooga Zoo include giraffes, jaguars, spider monkeys, and cougars.

giraffes at chattanooga zoo

This zoo also features fun activities like a petting zoo, kiddie train, and a carousel. Animal lovers visiting the Chattanooga area should also check out the Tennessee Aquarium, which is located right in the heart of downtown Chattanooga.

Final Thoughts on Zoos near Gatlinburg, TN

The Gatlinburg, Tennessee area is home to all sorts of fun zoos and animal attractions. Visitors can always visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for views of wildlife like black bears, birds, etc. However, the places listed above allow guests to experience some of their favorite animals in more structured environments.

Whether this is your first time visiting the East Tennessee area or you are a regular, we highly recommend checking out the animal attractions on our list. You’ll be surprised at how many beautiful creatures you get to see! So, what do you think? What are the best zoos near Gatlinburg, TN? Comment below to share with us!

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two black bears with text overlay 8 Best Zoos Gatlinburg

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