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Black Bear Falls

Black Bear Falls logoBlack Bear Falls

Black Bear Falls 

Black Bear Falls, a multi-level exhibit, brings visitors as close as they should get to a black bear. The three-fourths of an acre, open-air exhibit houses the zoo's three black bears and is designed to simulate the Great Smoky Mountains.

Quick Facts:

  • Located in the East Tennessee Plaza
  • Opened in September 2002
  • Made Possible by The Lucille S. Thompson Family Foundation
  • Home to three black bears

Special Features:

  • 40-foot life size log tunnel that visitors can walk into to see the exhibit and bear dens
  • Water pool with glass for visitors to watch the bears swim
  • Natural looking trees
  • Flowing stream
  • Four tumbling waterfalls, each with more than a 20-foot drop
  • Bear dens with visitor viewing portals
  • Misters in the East Tennessee Plaza

About the Bears:

Knoxville Zoo has one female and two males. At least two of the bears are in Black Bear Falls for viewing.  Both males arrived at Knoxville Zoo in May 2001. They were both orphaned black bears and have been raised together since they were young.  The female, an orphaned bear cub, is the newest bear to join the zoo's family. She was found by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) at a young age and will never be able to be reintroduced into the wild.

Tips When Visiting:

Take a few minutes to discover the exhibit from three different viewing areas. Bears like to relax during the heat of the day and find shade for napping, so visitors often have to look a little harder to find them. The exhibit is a network of trees and branches, so don't be surprised if one is resting on a branch or playing in one of the three pools.