Family donates $5M to Zoo Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - The family of the Tennessee Smokies owner, Randy Boyd, donated $5 million to Zoo Knoxville. That’s the largest private gift received in Zoo history.

A new four acre group of habitats will be named "The Boyd Family Asian Trek" in honor of the donation. It will feature tigers, birds, and primates.

"Jenny and our family have always loved the zoo, so it’s personal," said Randy Boyd.  "The economic impact on the region is more than $34 million annually, but what children learn when visiting the zoo about care and love for animals is priceless."

The Zoo said they’re planning to construct a new reptile facility and otter habitat with the donation. Those attractions are expected to open in 2020.

"This takes our zoo to the next level," said Eddie Mannis, Chair of the Zoo Knoxville Board of Directors.  "It is our goal to be the 'must see attraction’ in Knoxville and the 'most talked about’ destination in the region.  The Boyds’ generosity is the catalyst for these aspirations.  We intend to welcome 800,000 visitors annually by 2025, and a majority of those will be tourists contributing to our local economy.  The Boyd commitment benefits not just Zoo Knoxville but our entire community."

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