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Nashville Zoo In The Running To Be The “Beary” Best

Nashville Zoo is proud to report the Expedition Peru: Trek of the Andean Bear exhibit has been nominated as one of the top 20 zoo exhibits in North America as part of USA Today’s annual 10Best Contest.

The 74,000-square-foot Expedition Peru exhibit opened in March 2018 and won the 2018 Excellence in Construction Award from the Greater Tennessee Chapter of the Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. During a visit to Nashville Zoo, Jack Hanna praised the beautiful foliage that decorates the exhibit landscape, as well as marveled at the authentic architectural design of the structures.

“One of our goals is to build the absolute best habitats for our animals and this exhibit is arguably the finest in the country for this species,” stated Rick Schwartz, Nashville Zoo President and CEO. “When guests enter the exhibit they are immediately immersed into an authentic Peruvian Village with wonderful viewing areas of the bears and numerous other species within the exhibit. Nashville Zoo is becoming nationally recognized for the quality of our exhibits and I am extremely proud of our entire team in capturing the level of detail so indicative of Peruvian culture.”

The Peruvian village, which has welcomed hundreds of thousands of guests, is also the home of pudu (the world’s smallest deer), guinea pigs and freshwater stingrays. Exclusively for the Zoo’s female guests, there is a floor-to-ceiling exhibit of cotton-top tamarins in the women’s restroom.

USA Today gathered a panel of five seasoned travel and family experts who nominated their favorite zoo exhibits based on guest engagement and high level of animal care. The top 20 nominees range from zoos in California to Missouri to Pennsylvania.

People are encouraged to vote daily for their favorite zoo exhibit until the contest ends Monday, April 22 at 11 a.m. (CST). The top 10 winners will be announced Friday, May 3.

The Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) is South America’s only bear species. Often referred to as the spectacled bear, this omnivorous species is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Nashville Zoo houses two of only 36 Andean bears currently residing in 19 Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions across the United States.

Nashville Zoo is a strategic partner of the Andean Bear Conservation Alliance to address the remaining wild population of Andean bears. The Zoo financially supports Andean bear conservation through the Wildlife Conservation Network. We also participate in the AZA’s Andean Bear Species Survival Plan® to ensure the genetic diversity in the captive population.

To vote for Nashville Zoo’s Expedition Peru: Trek of the Andean Bear exhibit visit here.

About Nashville Zoo
Nashville Zoo is a nonprofit organization and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, assuring the highest standards of animal care and husbandry. The Zoo is actively engaged in conservation research, habitat protection, breeding programs and education initiatives around the globe as well as in our own backyard. The Zoo attracts more than 1,000,000 visitors annually and is considered one of the top attractions in Nashville. Nashville Zoo is located at 3777 Nolensville Pike and is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information about Nashville Zoo, visit

About USA Today 10Best provides users with original, unbiased and experiential travel content of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world. No business pays to be listed. At its core is the team of local travel experts: a well-traveled and well-educated group who are not only experts in their fields – and their cities – but discriminating in their tastes. These local experts live in the city they write about, with constantly updated content.