You don’t have to be Dr. Doolittle to want to talk to the animals. From lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) to goats, alpacas and mini cows, there are critters galore you can visit in Middle Tennessee. Why not gather your herd and take them to meet some of the other species that share our planet? 


Image:  Tennessee Safari Park

“Why be on the outside looking in like a typical zoo,” asks the Tennessee Safari Park, “when you can drive right in and join them?” Find out for yourself with a 7.5-mile drive-through safari, then you can park and stroll through 20 additional acres of animal exhibits and encounters. Be sure to check out the sloth barn!  Open daily. Times and ticket info here.


Image:  Noble Springs Dairy

If you’re free this Saturday (7/8), head over to Noble Springs Dairy for Goats & Guitars, billed as a fun night of “live music and goat farm entertainment.” Or book an educational farm tour to learn about farm animals (not just goats) and the cheese-making process. Or stop by on a Saturday for baby goat petting and a tour. What’s not to love? Especially when you can go home with some delightful goat milk products. Learn more.


Image:  Mistletoe Farm Alpacas

If ever a real-life animal looked like one of Dr. Seuss’s creations, it would be an alpaca, don’t you think? They’re a bit like a smaller, friendlier version of a llama. They’re eco-friendly and people-friendly, too, so why not schedule a private tour to meet the adorable herd at Mistletoe Farm Alpacas? Open weekends May to December. Booking information here.


Image:  MOOsic City Minis

Mini cows. Can you imagine the cuteness? You don’t have to imagine it; you can go to MOOsic City Minis and see the little guys for yourself. According to their website, mini cows grow about a little over three feet tall. They’re smart, affectionate, make great pets and excellent lawnmowers for small acreage hobby farms. Mini steers Hayden and Basil (pictured) have another job, though: they’re “cows for a cause” raising money to support the non-profit No Kill Williamson County, TN in their mission to house un-adoptable dogs and cats. Private events available for up to 5 people per party. Details here.


Image:  Nashville Zoo

While dinosaurs are not normally part of a zoo’s lineup, the Nashville Zoo has some (life-sized animatronic versions, that is) through July 30. They also have many, many living, breathing critters of all kinds, a zip line, a backstage tour, and more. In fact, there’s so much to see and do that you’ll probably want to plan a whole day to experience it all. After all, the Zoo was named the Best Regional Attraction and Best Day Trip by The Tennessean. Note:  Advance tickets required; online purchase strongly recommended. Learn more.

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