Not all zoos are created equal. Some of the nation’s zoos, although certified, are lacking the resources to provide safe and comforting habitats or enclosures for their animals. We’d like to highlight just a few of the zoos who are doing it right. These zoos keep in mind both the humans and the animals and show how, with proper care and resources, we can learn a lot and hopefully can give back to the animals that bring us so much joy and interest.
Here are just a few of the country’s top zoos.
1. San Diego Zoo, California
With nearly 4000 animals (more than 650 species), the San Diego Zoo ranks at the top or near the top of every zoo list, and with no wonder why. It is one of the largest zoos in the nation, with memberships in the hundreds of thousands. It’s a must see destination for anyone traveling to south California and it’s easy to see why. San Diego was one of the first zoos to adopt cage free habitats for their animals. Their research and conservation are some of the top facilities in the country. And with live cams and amazing special exhibits, this zoo has many species not easily found elsewhere. Gondolas and trains give visitors a rare look at animals, in habitats that attempt to mimic the animals’ natural environments. And, unlike many other zoos, they are known for their botanical collection- growing their own eucalyptus for their koalas and their own bamboo for their pandas. Whatever animal you want to see, whatever you want to learn, there is an exhibit and a keeper there to educate their visitors.
2. Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, Nebraska
Henry Doorly is another zoo well known and praised for its research and conservation efforts. They are always growing and changing their habitats to offer more natural and expansive exhibits that mimic the animals’ natural environments. Henry Doorly Zoo, nestled in downtown Omaha, Nebraska, is a beautiful and expansive facility that always ranks as one of the best zoos in the country- and even in the world. “Largest” is a word that comes up often- largest indoor rainforest, largest indoor desert, largest nocturnal exhibit. This zoo is definitely not lacking in size and attractions. With a total of over 25 million visitors in the previous 40 years, it is no question that the Henry Doorly Zoo is a main attraction in Nebraska.
3. Bronx Zoo, New York City
With more than two million yearly visitors, the Bronx Zoo rates as the largest metropolitan zoo in the country and one of the largest in the whole world. With over 250 acres of open and welcoming habitat, the zoo is a beautiful and natural escape from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city. Not to leave anyone out, the Bronx Zoo is one of the few zoos that offer special free admission days, so that anyone can come and learn about and see its variety of animals. Also at the forefront of conservation and animal protection, the zoo’s first director (way back in 1905) established the American Bison Society, which has been crucial in the protection of what is now America’s National Mammal. And the conservation has only grown and improved from there. A zoo in the middle of one of the world’s busiest cities gives visitors that may not otherwise have the opportunity, a chance to see some of the most amazing and diverse animals in the world.
We could go on for DAYS… there are so many wonderful and amazing facilities in the United States. We’d love to mention a few more. Comment with your favorite zoo, your favorite exhibit, or your favorite animal and we’d love to feature it on future articles about the country’s best zoos.