It’s June and here at AnimalPlex, we are celebrating National Zoos and Aquariums Month, and we are doing so in a number of different ways. We know how important our zoos and aquariums are to the future different animal species. Some species would not stand a chance if it was not for the research and conservation efforts of the world’s zoos and their talented and specialized researchers. And, there is still so much to learn. There are so many animals that we have little to no research on- we do not understand their behaviors, their preferences, or (most importantly for the purpose of conservation) their reproductive behaviors. Every opportunity to safely study these creatures could make a world of difference as to whether or not our children and grandchildren will ever see them. As children, we learned about seemingly distant animals such as the Dodo, with no real concept of what that bird was or what it was like. Hopefully, our children and grandchildren don’t speak of lions, and elephants, and panda bears with the same tone adults speak of the Dodo.
This research though, is funded mainly by the zoo visitors. The exotic foods, the space needed, the resources required, the scientists, and zoo keepers, and animal poop sweepers, all of those crucial components to keeping a zoo functioning is based on ticket sales. In essence, the public interest drives the vehicle of conservation.
We’d like to highlight the top ten American zoos, based on yearly attendance.
There are a number of factors that make a great zoo, but today we are looking at the numbers. These zoos, with the most attendance in the country, must be doing something right to drive the crowds, because the people keep coming and coming. Not surprisingly, many of these zoos often make other top ten lists- top in exhibits, top in creativity, top in research- and it’s pretty easy to see why. With the number of people coming through the gates, there is more money that can be utilized to provide the best exhibits. And great exhibits and great research leads to more people and more money. In the end, we hope that it’s about the animals and the science, not about the profits. But, these zoos definitely live up to their hype.
The #1 Most Popular Zoo in the Country in Terms of Number of Visitors is…
The San Diego Zoo in California, with 3.2 million visitors annually. It’s no surprise to anyone who knows about zoos why this one is at the top. It’s the largest zoo in the country and its on the forefront of research and discovery. With curriculum, and tours, and educated keepers, with live cams, 24 hour camera feeds, and some of the widest variety of creatures in the world in one location, San Diego Zoo has it all. They even grow their own eucalyptus and bamboo to feed their koalas and pandas. Nothing is spared in order to provide a healthy environment for its animals and an amazing experience to its visitors. And, at least 3.2 million people every year seem to agree. The San Diego Zoo is where it’s at!
Following San Diego we also have…
#2 Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago with 3 million#3 St Louis Zoo with 2.9 million#4 Columbus Zoo with 2.3 million#5 Brookfield Zoo with 2.2 million#6 Smithsonian Zoo with 2.2 million#7 Como Part Zoo with 2.2 million#8 Bronx Zoo with 2 million#9 Denver Zoological Gardens with 1.9 million#10 Houston Zoo with 1.8 million
So wherever you are this June, get out and show some love to the wildlife. Whether you visit a zoo, a sanctuary, a wildlife refuge, or just an animal shelter, you can be a part of the difference in the life of an animal.