There's one particular attraction in Sevierville that may not be as well known as some of the other tourist hotspots in the Smokies, but it's certainly not for failing to deliver a quality vacation experience. RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo, located at the Governor's Crossing Development, offers guests an up-close encounter with some of the most fascinating animal species on the planet.
The attraction is home to more than 600 individual live animals, representing more than 130 species, most of which hail from rainforests regions around the world. From reptiles and amphibians to mammals, birds and bugs, the self-guided tour goes beyond the typical zoo experience. It's Indiana-Jones-style motif and ancient-ruins decor were even themed by one of the nation's foremost zoological contractors, who also contributed to Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom theme park.
What's in store for families at RainForest Adventures? Let's start with snakes (This is where Indiana Jones would say, "Why did it have to be snakes?"). Guests will enjoy a safe gander at species like multiple varieties of pythons as well as anacondas, boas and other non-venomous snakes. At scheduled times, zoo handlers will bring some of these slithering residents out of the confines of their habitats for informative, interactive, hands-on sessions with visitors. And yes, these encounters are supervised and safe for guests of all ages.
If snakes aren't your thing, also look for a wide array of turtles and tortoises, crocodiles, alligators and lizards. Meanwhile, several types of frogs and toads are on display, complete with displays that will tell you everything you'd want to know about these hippity-hoppity critters.
Other exotic RainForest Adventures residents include mammals like kinkajous, sugar gliders, hedgehogs and lemurs. Elsewhere at the zoo, macaws, cockatoos, parrots and finches are among the winged animals on display, and kids will especially love the creepy-crawly habitat, home to cockroaches, tarantulas and more.
There's also an outdoor section, where visitors can feed emus, donkeys, llamas, goats and more. The food you'll need to give them is provided when you enter the museum, and it's included as part of your admission price.
Visitors of all ages also enjoy seeing the baby animals that arrive from time to time at RainForest Adventures, and the attraction's gift shop is a great place to find fun and unique souvenirs of your trek through the world's rainforests.
RainForest Adventures is easy to find. At traffic light 13.4 (across from Walmart), turn into the Governor's Crossing development on Collier Dr., and then take the first left onto Hurley Dr. That will take you directly to the attraction, which is adjacent to the Holiday Inn Express in Sevierville.