Drive down North Mclean Boulevard when it’s warm outside, and you’ll often see throngs of cars, school buses and families pushing strollers in anticipation of viewing pandas and other wild animals at the Memphis Zoo. Many adults return without their kids in tow to the highly ranked zoo at night for signature events such as Zoo Brew and Zoo Rendezvous.

Located at 2000 Prentiss Place in Overton Park, the zoo isn’t just a place for sipping craft beers, wine and cocktails, trick-or-treating and viewing Christmas lights. You can also rent several of their stunning venues to exchange vows or host a wedding reception or rehearsal dinner.

A wedding ceremony in the Northwest Passage at the Memphis Zoo

A wedding ceremony in the Northwest Passage of the Memphis Zoo

Nearly every weekend, at least one wedding takes place at the zoo. In fact, Memphis Zoo Marketing and Communications Manager Laura Doty confirms that 62 weddings took place at the zoo in 2014.

If you, too, would like to get married at the zoo, there are four main options to choose from, depending on the size of your wedding and whether or not you want indoor or outdoor access. Additionally, the zoo can help plan your big day by reserving your caterer, florist, entertainment and rental equipment. Here are your four options for exchanging vows at the Memphis Zoo:

Teton Trek

Teton Trek is the largest enclosed zoo venue in which to hold a ceremony, reception or rehearsal dinner with a 1,000-person capacity (300 to 400 seated). The grand, outdoorsy venue has a full catering kitchen and includes a two-story lodge with a pair of large fireplaces overlooking a 25-foot waterfall. It’s perfect for indoor and outdoor events.

Teton Trek includes a two-story lodge.

Teton Trek includes a two-story lodge that offers a beautiful, rustic setting.

Teton Trek is perfect for indoor and outdoor events at the Memphis Zoo.

Teton Trek is perfect for indoor and outdoor events.

Northwest Passage

If you host a wedding or ceremony at the Northwest Passage, you and your guests can engage in a destination wedding without leaving Memphis. Your wedding ceremony, reception and/or rehearsal dinner can take place in view of polar bears and sea lions. It has a 1,000-person capacity, and includes an amphitheater, a climate-controlled underwater viewing room, waterfall garden and two courtyards.

An elegant setting for the cake in the Teton Trek lodge at the Memphis Zoo

An elegant backdrop for the wedding cake on the first floor of the Teton Trek lodge

For weddings on the east end of the zoo (Teton Trek and Northwest Passage), there is a special gate where your wedding guests can enjoy the convenience of a separate entrance into the zoo. There are also trams available to run guests to and from the event.

Zoo Courtyard and Cat House Café

The space on the banks of the “Nile River” at the grand Egyptian zoo entrance can serve as an outdoor ceremony, reception or rehearsal dinner location for up to 3,000 people. The space includes lush gardens, fountains and beautiful lighting. The Cat House Café can be rented in conjunction with the Zoo Courtyard. The café holds 500 people (150 seated) and offers immediate access from the zoo entrance.

A picturesque corner of the Teton Trek exhibit

A picturesque corner of the Teton Trek exhibit

China Exhibit

The China exhibit is the smallest zoo venue in which to get married or host a reception or rehearsal dinner. The picturesque pagoda—with its showstopping red walls and doors— accommodates up to 500 people. It includes a courtyard, climate-controlled theater room that converts into a dining, dance or reception hall, teahouse and Chinese gardens.

The tables are set for a wedding soirée outdoors at Teton Trek.

The tables are set for a wedding soirée outdoors at Teton Trek.

To learn more about booking an event, visit memphiszoo.org/eventinquiry.

Photography by Annabella Charles

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