East Tennessee is welcoming Hurricane Florence evacuees with open arms, including Zoo Knoxville.
To get free admission, evacuees have to provide a valid, state-issued ID from North Carolina or South Carolina at the zoo’s ticket window.
“We know that there’s quite a lot of them moving through Knoxville and so we thought as a gesture of good will and to let them know we’re thinking about them, we would offer free admission,” said Lisa New, the president and CEO of Zoo Knoxville.
Spending time with the animals is just one of the ways Cody Griffin and his family are trying to keep their mind off of what’s happening back at home. They left Jacksonville, North Carolina Tuesday evening before the storm.
“I’m out, see you later. I’m just not going to roll the dice on that. Possessions can be replaced, my 3-year-old cannot be replaced so I’m out of here,” said Cody Griffin. “Some of my neighbors didn’t evacuate so they’re patrolling the neighborhood for weather, giving people updates like seeing roofing coming off. Some trees that fell. Fences were knocked down.”
On Friday, those worries were put aside, at least for a couple of hours. The Griffin’s were pleasantly surprised they didn’t have to pay admission at the zoo.
“Definitely a blessing in disguise. There’s been a lot of them. Little blessings here and there that have materialized over the last few days,” said Griffin.
Zoo Knoxville is located near exit 392 – off interstate 40.