KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Zoo Knoxville has a long and interesting history. Originally, what would eventually become the city’s zoo, started as an initiative to start a park for the areas poorer children in 1923.

According to the zoo’s website, eventually, that initiative would lead to the acquisition of a 4-acre parcel of land near Chilhowee Park in 1935. At the time, the area was called the Birthday Park.

The park would close in 1948 but through efforts by the News Sentinel and the city. The Municipal Zoo, as it was known, was created on the same piece of property in 1951. As a matter of fact, the zoo’s first main attraction was an alligator named Al.

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Since that time, Zoo Knoxville has become an accredited member of the National Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is known for having more red pandas born at the zoo than any other zoo in the world.