Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo

Pet and Learn About Unique Animals at Rain Forest Adventures
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Rain Forest Adventures is an intimate zoo offering interactive experiences, animal feeding and petting areas, and up-close glimpses of rare and nearly extinct species. The zoo includes creatures from rainforests located around the globe.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

Rainforest Adventures is an exciting, interactive zoo located in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. The zoo has over 600 animals from 130 different species from rainforests across the world. One of the newest additions to the zoo is a pair of golden-headed lion tamarins, which are some of the smallest and rarest monkeys in the world. They come from forests in eastern Brazil and other parts of South America.

When you arrive, you’ll receive a bag of feed, which you’ll hang onto until you get to the area with goats, llamas, and donkeys, and they’ll eat right from your hands. Walking through the first part of the zoo feels like being on a safari in the rainforest since the animals roam in this area. When you get past this section, it will feel more like a zoo, with enclosures and nature-inspired habitats for all types of rainforest creatures.

With a wide variety of animals, you’ll learn quite a bit about those that call the rainforest home. In addition to the new gold-headed lion tamarins, the monkey exhibit includes many other species of these fan-favorites. Other mammals that call the zoo home include African crested porcupines, kinkajous, African serval cats, several species of lemurs, hedgehogs, and Egyptian spiny mice. Along with the mammals, you’ll see reptiles, such as turtles and tortoises, snakes, lizards, and crocodiles, as well as many types of rainforest insects and spiders. Visitors especially love the tropical and temperate birds. These include cockatoos, macaws, parrots, finches, parakeets, and cockatiels.

Make sure to stop by the gift shop, which has more than the typical selection of souvenirs. You can pick up crafts and unique items from Africa and other parts of the world, including emu eggs, porcupine quills, pottery, and jewelry. When you shop certain sections of the gift shops, part of your purchase will go to certain funds. For example, if you buy a porcupine quill, the money goes toward a new exhibit for the porcupines living at the zoo.

When we say this zoo is interactive, we mean it! You can hold some of the baby animals in the feeding area and pet-friendly animals in several other areas. The animal show is especially entertaining, and it offers a great opportunity to sit down for a few minutes and watch as a trained animal handler brings out a variety of species. The show also includes a few magic tricks and quite a few jokes.

Although Rainforest Adventures is small, it packs a lot of fascinating exhibits and animals into its quarters. Since much of the zoo is indoors, the smell of wild animals is strong, but most visitors get used to it pretty quickly.

Insider Tips
-Arrive as close to opening time as possible. You’ll avoid some of the biggest crowds by starting early.
-The zoo isn’t huge, so you don’t need to worry about getting through it quickly. Take your time and let the kids enjoy themselves!
-Check out the schedule for the day to see when you can join in singing with the birds. It’s a fun activity for all ages!
-Jungle Jim hosts a fun, interactive animal show that will have you and your kids laughing and learning. Keep your camera at the ready since he’ll come by with wild animals for photo ops!