The state-of-the-art Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Campus (ARC), an $18 million, 2.5-acre expansion featuring 85 species of reptiles and amphibians, opened Monday, April 12, 2021, at Zoo Knoxville.
“It is unlike any experience we have been able to offer our guests before,” said CEO and President Lisa New. “The entire building is immersive — you are close to the animals, you can see our herpetologists at work, you can feel the climate changes in the Conservatory and Greenhouse and you can use the dynamic interactives to appreciate these incredible animals. Zoo Knoxville is respected internationally for our expertise with many critically endangered species. The ARC is one of the top conservation centers in the country working to save reptiles and amphibians from extinction.”
The ARC is home to 38 endangered species of reptiles and amphibians, notably native bog turtles, Rote Island snake-necked turtles, Ploughshare tortoises, Radiated tortoises and Cuban crocodiles. Working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plans, Zoo Knoxville is part of the largest conservation movement on the planet.
The ARC Center building will also feature a free-roaming Linnaeus's two-toed sloth overhead, and digital STEM interactives that allow visitors to get hands-on to create their own species, follow the life cycle of a frog and learn how snakes hunt, eat and move. Marshland habitats on the campus can be explored as part of the zoo’s education programs and zoo camps.