MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A metal gate now separates the Greensward, seen by most as a compromise for the ongoing battle over zoo parking.
"I think the zoo is being heavy handed," protestor Cathy Wood said.
Memphis Zoo Official Laura Doty said they pulled back on parking on the entire Greensward on Saturday because of a busy day in the park including a flash literacy mob and a rugby game.
"Did it in the sport of compromise; we're on the original footprint pre-city council decision."
The city council voted for the zoo to have control over two-thirds of the Greensward on March 1. The metal barrier that has been put up by the zoo shows the original one-third of the space controlled by the zoo.
"It's a necessary precaution to make sure anyone out there feels safe walking into the Memphis Zoo," Doty said.
"It was shocking at first; I didn't know what was going on," zoo visitor Shalane Turman said.
Wood said the goal of the protestors isn't intimidation, but providing information.
"We were able to actually mingle with the people parking and do some education," Wood said. "We don't want to do anything threatening."
Wood actually paid to park on the Greensward and was then escorted by police outside the barrier when she started to protest.
Zoo officials said this is a choice when visitors come in and pay for parking. They can say they do not want to park on the on the Greensward and choose instead to drive around until they find a spot. If they find a spot, there is no need to park on the grass.
Some people said street parking and the longer walk is worth avoiding the trouble.
"I knew it was an issue and might as well, there's a nice spot and it's an easy walk through the park," zoo visitor Dan Robertson said.