Even the entrance to this 70-acre gem of a zoo is fun — it mimics an Egyptian temple with colorful hieroglyphics. This zoo has made a name for itself as one of only four zoos in the country to have giant pandas. Indeed, Ya Ya and Le Le are local celebrities! Other animals indigenous to China are on display here as well, including Asian small-clawed otters and Pere David deer.
Northwest Passage focuses on the animals and Native American culture of the Pacific Northwest. The polar bear exhibit here includes a large underwater viewing area, and kids love crawling inside big Plexiglas bubbles on the side of the sea-lion pool, giving them the sensation of being in the water with the playful critters. A large amphitheater here offers regular sea-lion shows.
Teton Trek highlights animals native to Yellowstone National Park, such as grizzly bears, elk, and timber wolves. The entrance to this section of the zoo includes a log cabin reminiscent of the Old Faithful Inn along with a 30-foot geyser.
Be sure to check out Animals of the Night — one of the few nocturnal animal exhibits in the U.S. At Cat Country, lions, tigers, and other big cats roam through the ruins of Asian temples. (By the way, the lion roar heard at the start of MGM movies was recorded at the Memphis Zoo, although the lion himself died in 1944.) Other highlights include the Komodo dragons, an aquarium, a recreation of a 19th-century farm, and a hand-carved, endangered-species carrousel.