Memphis Zoo looking at ways to better control crowds

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis zoo officials are looking at ways to keep crowds under control after a flash mob and gun shots occurred Tuesday on the zoo's free admission day.

Tuesday at the Memphis Zoo, 25,314 people walked through the front gates.  Only 2,414 showed up in the early morning and afternoon hours, while 22,900 showed up in the three hour span between 2 and 5 p.m., designated free Tuesday hours.

The capacity of the FedEx Forum is only 18,119.

Memphis Police said even more people showed up at Overton Park.  They estimate there were some 60,000 people in the immediate area around the entrance to the zoo.

Police arrested a 17-year-old for trying to punch a cop.  A 21-year-old was locked up at 201 Poplar for ignoring police instructions, while another man was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident.

Two teenagers were also sent to juvenile court for disorderly conduct.

Zoo officials said free Tuesdays typically include family guests, though this one was different in that the crowd was mostly teenagers out of school on spring break.

The Memphis Zoo said it has no plans to cancel free Tuesdays but is working with the city and Memphis Police Department to better handle crowd control in and around the zoo.

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