Take a look at the below list of Top 10 Largest and Best Zoos in USA 2017. Zoos have greatly evolved in the U.S ever since the first ones were erected over a century ago in New York and Philadelphia. Last year alone, more than 100 million people visited the zoos across the United States and hence, proving their importance to the economy and society at large. It is a fact that in this modern age, the wilderness is under siege with human beings and animals are competing for limited space. With this, the importance of zoos as essential conservation and learning hubs cannot be overstated. However, which are the best zoos to visit in the U.S? As always, we have you covered with our top ten lists.
List of Top 10 Largest and Best Zoos in USA 2017
It is not doubt that the United States has some of the best zoos in the world and in fact, roughly five out of the best ten in the world are in the U.S of A. Here is a list of the top ten best zoos in the land of milk and honey.
10. The Miami Metro Zoo
While Miami is best known for its white sandy beaches and glamorous resorts, the city also plays host to the only wildlife conservation park in the U.S in a subtropical climate. The Miami metroZoo offers a wide variety of exciting wild animals, alongside interesting open-air exhibitions to keep you engaged all day long. The weather here is hot and hence, explaining why most of the wild animals such as Komodo Dragons, Asian river otters and tigers feel at home at the Miami MetroZoo. It has an Ecology Theatre within its boundaries where kids can get up-close and candid with popular reptiles including Florida’s own American crocodile and alligators among others.
9. Bronx Zoo, New York
Regarded as the largest urban zoo in the U.S, the Bronx zoo plays host to more than 6,000 animals within its 265 acres of land. Of course, you will need all day to go through all the interesting displays at your disposal. The zoo has grown immensely over the years, building natural forest-like habitats in the process for the betterment of the animals and conservation efforts. It even has a dedicated Butterfly Zone where visitors get to catch a glimpse of the beautiful insects on display. Note that it would be in your best interest to wear bright colors if you want them to land on you.
8. National Zoo, Washington D.C
If large reptiles are your thing, visiting the National Zoo in the country’s capital would certainly be in your best interest. It has a Reptile Discovery Center complete with huge Komodo dragons that can swallow a whole goat with ease. It is well-planned with tree-shaded trails meandering through a wide variety of wild animals including fan favorite; Hsing-Hsing – the only Panda along the entire East Coast. While here, take a ride on the popular Orangutan Transport System – 400 ft. long cables meandering through the ape’s habitats. The National Zoo is also home to a colony of golden lion tamarinds and the Think Tank – a fully-fledged research center where apes get to use touch screen devices as scientists gauge the comprehension skills – awesome, huh?
7. St. Louis Zoo, Missouri
The St. Louis Zoo is one of the most popular zoos in the U.S, with over 2.5 million visitors every year. It is quite unique in its own right with a dedicated children’s zoo for the young nature lovers, who get to mingle with koalas and lorikeets as they sip nectar from cups. The children’s zoo comes complete with a “Just Like Me” play ground designed to allow your kids to play in the wild as they mimic animals such as monkeys embarking on vines. As if that’s not interesting enough, the zoo also has a transparent tube meandering through the otter’s swimming hole and the best part is, your kid can slide down the tube to emerge at the viewing area. No adults are allowed on the slide, though – a bummer for the young at heart obviously.
6. Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield, Illinois
You would expect a top ten zoo in Illinois to be somewhere within Chicago, right? Well, it’s clearly not. 14 miles from downtown Chicago is Brookfield zoo – one of the largest indoor exhibitions there is and for good reason. It can get really chilly during the winter in Illinois and hence, justifying the need for large indoor exhibitions as only polar bears would survive outside. Brookfield zoo is more of a marine-like zoo, designed for those interested in sea creatures. It plays host to several marine-oriented exhibitions such as the Peruvian, the Rainy Tropical World, The Swamp: Wonders of our Wetlands and the Seven Seas Panorama where you get up-close views of trained dolphins, seals and sea lions. This is one of the Top 10 Largest and Best Zoos in USA 2017.
5. The Audubon Zoo, New Orleans
The Audubon zoo is one of New Orleans brightest spots, especially after Katrina seemed to keep away visitors from roaming the city. It plays host to more than 1500 wild critters living in a park made popular by Paul Schrader in “Cat People,” alongside alligators, nutrias and elephants just to name a few. The best part, though, is the delicious cuisines found within its boundaries – among the best in all zoos countrywide. Located within the zoo’s Louisiana Swamp exhibition is a popular cottage restaurant known for its extra spicy Cajun dishes.
4. Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence
The Providence-based zoo makes our cut for being the third-oldest zoo in the U.S, with over 1000 wild animals to show for. Expect to bump into a wide variety of wild cats and animals such as cheetahs, snow leopards and bears among many others. If you are the bug-type, it is worth noting that the Roger Williams zoo plays host to an interesting display of bugs including the rare giant Brazilian roaches. Once you are done checking out the “bug-collection,” meander through the large Victorian park as you stroll by exciting wild cats, before relaxing on the lakefront benches next to other duck-feeding visitors.
3. Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson
While the name implies that the 15-acre protected conservancy is a museum, it is one of the best zoos in the U.S. It is home to a number of interesting safari and desert animals tucked away in the bushy/rocky habitats. It shouldn’t come as a shocker when you notice a huge mountain lion checking you out from a far – they are all kept behind a thick glass so fear not folks. The beautiful conservancy defined by breath-taking mountain woodlands, cactus and bushy grassland, sits adjacent to the Saguaro National Park, meaning the animals are well integrated into the surrounding ecosystem. Touring the desert should leave you wanting more of the rattle snakes, bighorn sheep, Gila monsters and prairie dogs among others.
2. Minnesota Zoological Garden, Apple Valley
Located twenty miles south of the city of Minneapolis is the Minnesota Zoological Garden, which also renowned for its hiking adventures along the Northern Trail and Minnesota Trail. It comes complete with an indoor tropical display consisting of lagoon sea creatures such as rays, dolphins and tiger sharks just to name a few. As you stroll along the aforementioned trails, you should spot most of the state’s hardy animals including wolverines, caribou, fishers, sandhill cranes and lynx just to name a few.
1. Zoological Society of San Diego
If strolling through the wilderness isn’t your thing, the Zoological Society of San Diego is probably your safest bet. It hosts both a park and zoo within its boundaries, meaning it should take you two full days to get fully acquainted to the over 800 species of animals including a pair of Pandas from China. The comprehensive conservancy consists of an enormous 2,200-acre Wild Animal Park and an extra 100 acres of refreshing tropical grounds. Since it opened its gates to the masses in 1972, the Zoological Society of San Diego has played a huge role in breeding endangered species, with over 20000 animals including 120 rhinoceroses being born there. For this reason, it ranks as the best zoo in the U.S.
These are the Top 10 Largest and Best Zoos in USA 2017. It would certainly be in your best interest to join the 100 million visitors annually to catch a glimpse of the wild creatures we mostly see on National Geographic. Most of the zoos above have an affordable admission fee, meaning you have no reason not to visit at least one of the ten above conservancies.