Saturday, September 15, 2012

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere: Historical Home and Zoo Review

Before you read this review, I am going to warn you that it is VERY picture heavy.

 Recently I had the wonderful chance to work with the Nashville Zoo on a review. I was able to have  receive a complementary trip, in return for my honest opinions of the zoo. I had such a wonderful time. I am going to share my trip with all of you. I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoyed visiting.
  About the Nashville Zoo At Grassmere
The Grassmere/Croft home now in 2012. [Click the picture to view it bigger.]

In 1786, ten years before Tennessee attained statehood, the state of North Carolina Granted 640 acres between the Cumberland River and Mill Creek to William Simpson as compensation for his services in the Revolutionary War. He then sold the land to Michael C. Dunn. This home was built by Col. Michael C. Dunn and was completed around 1810. This is the second oldest residence in Davidson County, Tennessee that is opened to the public. Lee Shute ( Michael C. Dunn's son-in-law purchased the farm for $10,000 in 1846. Several years later, Lee sold the 346-acre property to his son, William Dickson Shute, for the sum of $5, as "a loving gift" to William and his new bride, Lavinia. They renovated the home after the Civil War, changing the style from Federal to Italianate and adding the porches between 1876 and 1881. They then added a smokehouse, kitchen and garden too!
The Back of the home. [Kitchen to the right].
William and Lavinia had four surviving adult daughters: Leila, Maggie, Venie and Kate. Kate married her husband, William Croft, at Grassmere in 1888 and had two daughters, Margaret, born in 1889, and Elise, born in 1894. William Croft moved his family to Cuba in 1902 for business, but Margaret and Elise returned to Grassmere every summer to stay with their grandfather and aunts. In 1931, Margaret and Elise returned to Grassmere and stayed until their deaths: Margaret in 1974, Elise in 1985.

In 1964, the Croft sisters entered into an agreement with the Children's Museum of Nashville (now the Adventure Science Center). The agreement stated the museum would pay property taxes and assist with the upkeep of the home while the sisters lived the remainder of their lives at Grassmere. After their deaths, the museum would become owners of the property and buildings. The sisters placed one stipulation in their agreement with the museum - their property would be maintained as a "nature study center," preserved to educate Nashvillians about animals and the environment.

Today the Grassmere home is a part of the Nashville Zoo. Visitors can take tours and visit every part of the property while they are at the zoo. Unfortunately I went on a Thursday and I was not able to go inside the home because they don't give tours inside on Wed or Thurs. I had a chance to visit the property and I am completely in love. I wish I could live in this beautiful home. I am going to share with you some of my favorite parts of the property.
The Back of the home. [click to view it larger]

The kitchen. The kitchen was added post war replacing kitchens elsewhere. It was attached to the home with a covered walkway. Kitchens were build separate due to the unbearable heat and to prevent risks of a kitchen fire from spreading to the entire home.
This is the smokehouse. Meats were cured in salt and smoked to preserve them for future use. The sisters also smoked hams in here and often gifted them to family members and friends!
This is the Slave House.  Workers stayed here until the late 1970's. 
I thought this was neat. Slaves made all of the bricks. I feel so bad for them. It must have been so HARD! :(
The Family Cemetery. Members from four out of five of the generations are buried on site. Michael C. Dunn and his wife lay here along with Margaret and Elise Croft. Margaret and Elise lay toward the front of the cemetery.
The barn is a reconstruction of what it looked like then. This is one part that is NOT original but still beautiful.
 I hope that you enjoyed reading about this history of how this zoo came to be and why the Zoo is named The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. I am now going to show you some amazing pictures from the zoo of animals my husband and I enjoyed looking at.
After we visited the home my husband and I made our way down to the Savannah Loop! We saw the red river hog, Elephants and Giraffes!

This giraffe was born this past June!
We then worked our way down to Zoo Central and seen the meerkats, gibbon island, jungle gym and the unseen new world.
If you get tired of walking, go and take your kids to the jungle gym!
The macow was beautiful!
see how adorable the Meerkats are? 

Relaxing in the sun!
We then went into the "Unseen World.". We saw many amazing creatures, snakes and more. Enjoy these pictures!

There were many creatures to see in the Unseen World. I don't want to spoil it too much for you, so I am limiting the number of pictures that I post for that part.
 After we went to the unseen world, we went to the Jungle Loop! There were many awesome things to see there too! Zebras, Alligators, Tigers, Flamingos and More!

Pretty Zebras

Pretty Tigers!

A Random Turtle I found Chillaxing.

These Flamingos are SO LOUD! LOL
On the way out of the Jungle Loop there was a small petting zoo. We visited that too.

Overall, we had a completely wonderful time at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. I had a ton more pictures but I felt that the ones I posted were what I see fit for this blog post.
 The hours at the zoo vary depending on the time of the year!
March 15 - October 13: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
October 14 - March 14: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Nashville Zoo will close early on the following dates:
Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012 - Closing at 2 p.m. for Sunset Safari

Admission is not that expensive neither! Adults are $15 and Children ages 2- 12 are $10. You can view more about admission here. Parking for non members is $5. Membership at the zoo varies too. You can view more about Membership on their website.

If you want a great experience as a couple or a family visit the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. You will not regret it. The place is beautiful and clean. We really enjoyed it completely! View more about the zoo on their website as well, they have alot of events coming up soon too! Be sure to check out their Facebook and Twitter!

**The Small Things was not paid to review the Zoo, I was provided complementary tickets in return for my honest opinions.**


  1. Wow! That looks like such an amazing zoo! So bright and clean, and the animals are fantastic. Thanks for sharing! xo, Kimberly

  2. That zoo looks fantastic! I really wish we had one around here - I'd be taking my kids all of the time. Looks like you had a great time, and your pictures came out wonderful! Thanks for sharing your trip. :)

  3. Wow awesome pictures, it makes me feel like I am at the zoo. I wish I loved closer I would defiantly go!

  4. Oh wow! Looks like so much that a regular zoo I'm used to! I'd love to visit if I'm ever in the area.

  5. What great pics! I love the fact that you got to experience history and enjoy the animals. Looks like a really fun time!

  6. Wow! It looks like they have a really great set-up going on! Wish I lived closer...a lot closer (I'm on the West Coast in the Central Valley).

  7. This looks so fun! I love zoos and so do my kids it would be great to visit this one someday!!

  8. Two experiences in one. The house reminds me of the plantations in Louisiana.


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