Maybe, you don’t have a plan to visit some of the world’s best national parks and wildlife sanctuaries yet. No worries! You can still see wildlife, closer to home, at some of the most popular cities for tourists. Add a trip to the zoo, when you visit Singapore, London, NYC, Berlin, Melbourne, and some of the other world cities. There is a zoo in almost all major cities in the world. But of course, some of them deserve special mention. Here is our guide to the top 10 zoos in the world.
Gone are the days when a zoo was just a place to hold an animal in captivity. Many modern-day zoos breed animals, protect endangered species, carry out scientific research, and even have adoption programs where you can participate in protecting wildlife and looking after their wellbeing.
Of course, the zoos are fun places to visit for the entire family as well. You can feed giraffes, elephants, birds, and take snaps with them from a close range. Many zoos also have safari programs where you can experience the life of Serengeti, Maasai Mara, and South Africa’s Kruger National Park. You can buy memorabilia at the store, have your meals, and relax at a café. It’s a complete experience.
Top 10 Zoos in the World
Here is our list of the top 10 zoos in the world. They are from all over.
San Diego Zoo, USA
It is one of the largest in the world. You can see a variety of animals like cheetahs, musk cows, and red bears. Pandas from China draw the biggest crowds. The park at the zoo resembles the savannahs, with animals running in all directions.
Take a bus for a complete tour. Visit the tropical rainforest, where you can see more than 30 African and Asian species. Hear the lions growl from the safety of your vehicle, during a night safari.
- Number of animals – Almost 4000
- Number of species – More than 650
- Annual visitors – 4 million
- Open times – 9 AM to 6 PM, all 7 days
It’s a drive away from the Central Area but a visit to the Singapore Zoo is certainly worth it. Spread over 64 acres, it has a rainforest setting. It is also the first open-plan zoo. The animals have much more space. They are uninhibited by fences and boundary walls. They are kept in their natural surroundings with a focus on wellbeing. The zones include Rift Valley, Primate Kingdom, Fragile Forest, Treetops, Wild Africa, and others. There are splash zones and animal shows for the kids.
It was also the first zoo in the world to start the night safari. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see the nocturnal animals. They will always behave differently in the day and night. Singapore Zoo also has the River Safari, where you can ride a boat on the Seletar Reservoir and see many water animals. Read our travel guide for Singapore.
- Number of animals – More than 2500
- Number of species – 315
- Annual visitors – 2,132,270
- Open times – 8:30 AM to 6 PM, all 7 days
It is the world’s first scientific zoo. Currently, housing over 750 animals. Walk into the bird’s paradise, without any barrier separating the two of you. Check out all the babies at the breeding center. The Reptile pavilion and Penguin pavilion are a must-visit. You can see zebras, giraffes, okapis, meerkats, and more. Stay overnight at the Zoo Lodge if you want.
London Zoo is divided into the Pink route, Orange route, and the Blue route for easy navigation. You can also become a keeper of the zoo for a day. There is a zoo school that organizes workshops. There are also behind-the-scenes tours where you can see the animal-care areas. London Zoo offers prime facilities to study animals. It boasts of many firsts. Like the first aquarium, the first insect house, and many more.
- Number of animals – Almost 20,000
- Number of species – 673
- Annual visitors – 1,078,519
- Open times – 10 AM to 6 PM, all 7 days
Vienna Zoo, Austria
It started from an animal menagerie at Schönbrunn Palace. It is the world’s oldest continuously operating zoo. The Vienna Zoo is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can see many exotic cats, giraffes, polar bears, and much more. Yang, a mother panda draws the largest crowds. Spot the batagur turtle at the conservation center.
Visit Tirolerhof, a farmhouse located at the far end. The zoo has been named Europe’s top zoo, five times in a row. There are more than 700 animal species, from anteaters to zebras. The giant pandas are a huge attraction. You can visit during feeding time and watch them up close.
- Opened in – 1752
- Number of species – More than 500
- Open times – 9 AM to 6:30 PM, all 7 days
Spread over 55 acres, this is also an old zoo. The Melbourne Zoo opened in October 1862 and is located north of the city center. It has many trails housing your favorite animals. The zoo is committed to fighting the extinction of animals and carries out many welfare programs.
You can see more than 250 varieties of animals here, some of them rare. Stroll through the rainforest, bushlands, and there is also an underwater section here. See the Orangutan eye-to-eye. The zookeepers can help you understand the animals better. You can attend their daily lectures. Have plenty of fun in the Butterfly House. The highlights are wombats, emus, and kangaroos.
- Number of animals – More than 5000
- Number of species – 320
- Open times – 9 AM to 5 PM, all 7 days
Bronx Zoo, USA
The Bronx Zoo of NYC is focused on saving wildlife and the wild places. It is also one of the biggest zoos in the United States. Spread over 265 acres, the Bronx Zoo offers many exhibits, experiences, wild encounters, and educational programs.
There are animal feedings, rides, interactive events, and in-person experiences where you can learn from the zookeepers and find out more about their work. Some of the zones include the Congo Gorilla Forest, Madagascar, African Plains, Butterfly Garden, Himalayan Highlands, and the World of Birds among others. There are nine premium exhibit centers. Go for a treetop adventure climb or zip line.
- Number of animals – 4000
- Number of species – 650
- Annual visitors – More than 3 million
- Open times – 10 AM to 5 PM, all 7 days
Berlin Zoo, Germany
Germany’s oldest zoo is in Tiergarten. The 35-acre site houses more than 20,000 animals. The zoo supports breeding programs for near-extinct animals. Knut, the polar bear, and Bao Bao, the giant panda have contributed to the zoo’s attractive image. Visitors flock from all parts of the globe to see them. The zoo also keeps many domestic animals. It has the Alfred Brehm Animal House, which is one of the world’s largest zoo buildings.
You can see one of the most comprehensive collections of animals in the Berlin Zoo. There are animal feeding and training sessions. You can even become an animal sponsor. The zoo is linked with Tierpark of East Berlin and Aquarium Berlin, which is one of Europe’s best aquariums.
- Number of animals – 20,219
- Number of species – 1,373
- Annual visitors – More than 3.5 million
- Open times – 9 AM to 6:30 PM, all 7 days
Wellington Zoo, New Zealand
Penguins, sea lions, and Kaka find the most exotic animals and birds in Wellington Zoo, New Zealand. Run by a charitable trust, Wellington also focuses on conservation. It is also the world’s first Carbon-zero certified zoo.
Connect with the animals at the breeding centers and interact with the keepers. There are close encounters with red pandas, giraffes, lemurs, and other animals. The Nest Te Kōhanga center treats many wildlife patients every year.
- Number of animals – More than 500
- Number of species – More than 100
- Open times – 9:30 AM to 5 PM, all 7 days
Zoorasia is located in the Japanese city of Yokohama. It is one of the best maintained and modern zoos in the world. It is run on the theme of “harmony with nature” and “symbiosis of life” and thus has very few fences. You can engage with the animals closely. Roam the various ecological zones that include the Asian Tropical Forest, Subarctic Forest, Japanese Countryside, Amazon Jungle, African Tropical Rainforest, Oceanian Grassland, Central Asian Highland, and the African Savannah.
It is more like a safari, within a zoo. Watch the zebras, giraffes, and pandas in their personal spaces, minus the barriers. You even get a chance to feed them.
- Opened in – 1999
- Open times – 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM, closed on Tuesdays
Toronto Zoo, Canada
Spread over 710 acres, it is the country’s largest zoo. It houses many popular as well as lesser-known species like the black-footed ferret and the Wyoming toad. You can send your kid to the zoo camp where they can meet the zookeepers and learn about wildlife care. The zoo has seven zones – the Indo-Malaya, Africa, Americas, and the Tundra among others. Toronto Zoo connects people, animals, and conservation projects. Take a scenic safari or roam around in your own vehicle. It is your choice.
- Number of animals – More than 5000
- Number of species – More than 460
- Annual visitors – 1,462,910
Prague Zoo, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, the Chester Zoo of England, Beijing Zoo, Loro Parque of Spain, and the Smithsonian National Zoological Park are some of the other places you can visit.
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