The Best Zoos in America to consider when selecting a travel destination, considering the top zoological parks in the United States can serve as a useful starting point for planning.
We have compiled a comprehensive list of each of these locations and identified their most noteworthy attractions.
The United States of America boasts exceptional zoological institutions and wildlife reserves that consistently captivate their guests.
These zoological institutions have curated remarkable assemblages of fauna from various regions of the planet with the aim of commemorating and safeguarding the Earth’s ecosystems.
Providing a concise list of the top zoos in the United States can be challenging, although feasible, when attempting to address the frequently asked question of which zoo is considered the best.
Best Zoos in America 2023
The United States boasts a diverse array of zoological institutions, varying in size from small urban zoos to wide-ranging safari parks.
The United States is home to nearly 400 zoological institutions that are dedicated to the conservation and exhibition of rare and exotic animal species.
The optimal zoos are easily accessible for families of varying sizes, exhibit a diverse array of fauna, and offer interactive experiences suitable for individuals of all ages.
The following list comprises the best zoos in the United States of America.
1. Audubon Zoo (Best Zoos in America 2023)
In 1914, the Audubon Nature Institute established a zoo in New Orleans, Louisiana. Subsequently, the facility has acquired a collection of more than 2,000 living organisms and features numerous exhibitions. The swamp exhibit showcasing indigenous creatures from the bayou region is widely favored.
Audubon offers visitors the opportunity to safely approach animals at a closer proximity than what is typically permitted at other zoo facilities.
The Audubon Aquarium is an adjunct facility to the zoo and can be accessed through a packed entry fee.
For individuals with children, this zoo is an excellent destination as it offers an adequate number of exhibits to explore and a variety of activities and opportunities to engage in.
The price for entry for the zoo is $25 for adults and $20 for children, with periodic instances of free entry offered throughout the year.
2. Kansas City Zoo, Kansas City, Missouri
The Kansas City Zoo, which has been operational for over a century, is widely regarded as one of the premier zoos in the United States.
The African wildlife exhibited at the zoo are considered to be one of the primary attractions.
The African Exhibit spans an area of approximately 100 acres and showcases a diverse range of wildlife including elephants, cheetahs, lions, rhinoceroses, and various other species.
There exist multiple modes of transportation for navigating the zoo during a visit.
A sky tram is available for visitors to traverse the African exhibit, providing an aerial perspective of the animals.
Visitors have the opportunity to partake in additional activities such as riding the carousel, taking a train ride, and embarking on a boat ride through the Africa exhibit.
3. Bronx Zoo (Best Zoos in America 2023)
The Bronx Zoo, situated in New York City, is among the most extensive urban zoos in the United States.
The facility is located adjacent to the Bronx River and houses a diverse collection of more than 4,000 animals. The Bronx Zoo is a highly regarded landmark in New York City.
It is important to note that the zoo in question is of significant size should one desire to visit. The zoo spans an area of over 250 acres, necessitating a considerable amount of time to visit in its entirety.
In the event that one is accompanied by children or has a restricted schedule, it is advisable to strategize and prioritize the exhibits that are of utmost interest.
The price of entry for the Bronx Zoo are $40 and $30 for adults and children, respectively. On Wednesdays, a restricted number of complimentary tickets are obtainable (it is recommended to make arrangements in advance if one intends to avail this opportunity).
4. Brookfield Zoo (Best Zoos in America 2023)
The Brookfield Zoo, situated in the suburban areas of Chicago, is a vast metropolitan zoo. The establishment is renowned for its diverse range of exhibits, notably the prominent display of animatronic dinosaurs and interactive programs designed for younger audiences.
It can be challenging to cover all the exhibits at the Brookfield Zoo within a single day. It may be prudent to allocate time for visiting select exhibits or consider extending the visit to a weekend to fully explore the zoo.
The price to enter for individuals aged 13 and above is $25, while children aged 12 and below are charged $18 for entry.
5. Oklahoma City Zoo, Oklahoma
The Oklahoma City Zoo is widely regarded as a top-tier zoo within the state of Oklahoma. The zoo boasts a collection of nearly 2,000 animals, and attracts an annual visitation of over one million individuals.
The zoo boasts a collection of renowned wildlife, comprising pachyderms, simians, lepidopterans, and a diverse array of exotic creatures such as chelonians and serpents.
The zoo offers a plethora of captivating attractions and events on a daily basis, providing visitors with ample opportunities for engagement. The facility allows for the feeding of various animals such as flamingos, giraffes, rhinos, and birds by its visitors.
The zoo offers various modes of transportation for visitors, such as the ‘Centennial Choo Choo train’, a replica train from 1863, a carousel showcasing exotic species, and a tram system for convenient navigation throughout the premises.
Observing aquatic creatures in motion can be achieved by going to a sea lion performance or engaging with stingrays through tactile interaction.
6. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is a prominent zoological institution located in the Northwestern region of the United States, which features a diverse collection of animals indigenous to the Western American region.
The city of Colorado Springs in Colorado is home to Cheyenne Mountain, which boasts a distinctive display dedicated to the fauna inhabiting the Rocky Mountains.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo features a diverse range of animal species beyond those indigenous to the local area. The zoo provides a diverse range of animal habitats representing all the major continents. The entry fee encompasses a designated area for primates and a limited-scale aquatic exhibit.
The entry fee for Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is $15 for minors and $25 for adults.
7. Oregon Zoo, Portland, Oregon
Established in 1888, the Oregon Zoo holds the distinction of being the most ancient zoo in the United States.
The zoo’s initial collection comprised solely of two bears, has since expanded to encompass a diverse array of nearly 1,800 wild animals, representing over 200 distinct species.
The zoo features a total of 24 exhibits that are organized according to the respective habitats of the animals. During the summer season, the zoo offers a variety of educational and entertaining shows and concerts that are designed to provide an abundance of enjoyment.
Additional features available at the zoo encompass a vintage locomotive for patrons to embark upon and a merry-go-round suitable for individuals of all ages.
Additionally, there exists a designated agricultural zone where families may engage in interactive experiences with select animals.
8. Cincinnati Zoo (Best Zoos in America 2023)
The Cincinnati Zoo, which has been in operation since 1875, is the second-oldest zoo in the United States and is widely regarded as Ohio’s most popular zoo.
It has been a popular destination for visitors seeking entertainment for many years. The cost of entry encompasses a delightful botanical garden and a diverse range of exhibits sourced from various global locations.
The Cincinnati Zoo encompasses conventional zoo features and a distinctive insect exhibit, a unique feature among urban zoological parks in the United States.
The price of entrance for adults is $28 while children are charged $22 for entry. Upon arrival, a fee of $10 per vehicle is required for parking. Notwithstanding, the zoo permits the entry of external food in diminutive receptacles.
9. Memphis Zoo, Memphis, Tennessee
The Memphis Zoo has been recognized as one of the top zoological parks in the United States. Annually, the zoo attracts a staggering number of over one million visitors who come to observe a diverse collection of 3,500 animals belonging to 500 distinct species.
The China exhibit, housing giant pandas, is the most frequented attraction at the zoo.
The Memphis Zoo is among the limited number of zoological parks in the United States that possess pandas. The China exhibit encompasses a variety of wildlife, including langurs, pheasants, and deer.
The zoo organizes various events that showcase the creatures inhabiting the premises. The zoo offers a mode of transportation for visitors through the use of a tram, while the China exhibit features a carousel for entertainment purposes.
The zoo offers a variety of activities for children, including amusement rides, educational events, and summer camps.
10. Indianapolis Zoo, Indianapolis, Indiana
The Indianapolis Zoo ranks last on our list of the top zoological parks in the United States. The location of the zoo is situated within the confines of White River State Park, which is situated in the central business district of Indianapolis, Indiana.
The zoo houses a diverse collection of wildlife, comprising more than 300 distinct species, with a total population of approximately 4,000 animals.
The zoo attracts an annual footfall of over a million visitors who come to observe the diverse range of exhibits featuring marine, woodland, and arid wildlife.
The Dolphin Pavilion is a notable attraction at the zoo, featuring both dolphin shows and various viewing areas for visitors to observe the dolphins outside of show times.
The orangutan center stands out as a distinctive point of interest. The extensive display is widely regarded as one of the most prominent zoo exhibits globally, providing a habitat for a multitude of orangutans that are housed in their indigenous surroundings.
The establishment serves as a learning hub for both scholars and guests.
11. Columbus Zoo (Best Zoos in America 2023)
Although the Cincinnati Zoo is widely recognized, the Columbus Zoo consistently garners admiration from its annual visitors.
This particular zoo boasts a multitude of exhibits and activities, as well as a vast collection of over 10,000 animals, providing a highly engaging and interactive experience for visitors. The zoo provides boat and train transportation options as components of their admission packages.
The cost of entry for the Columbus Zoo are $17 and $22 for children and adults, respectively. A concession is offered to residents of Franklin County, Ohio.
The cost of the ticket for entry does not encompass the aquarium; however, it is possible to procure it at a reduced price by availing a ticket package.
12. Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Orlando, Florida
The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida is home to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
The Animal Kingdom attracts a significant number of visitors annually, who are drawn to explore the park’s seven distinct regions.
The habitats of Africa and Asia are home to a variety of creatures indigenous to those respective regions. The Oasis is home to a diverse range of wildlife, comprising of various species such as boars and deer.
The park prioritizes the well-being of the creatures and the environment through measures such as noise reduction and exclusive use of biodegradable materials in dining zones. The use of plastic items such as straws and balloons is prohibited.
The zoo features a dinosaur exhibit that showcases informative displays pertaining to the existence of dinosaurs.
The park offers a variety of attractions, including rides such as a carousel and a rollercoaster, as well as games and live stage performances.
13. Dallas Zoo (Best Zoos in America 2023)
Despite the presence of several zoological parks in Texas, the Dallas Zoo is considered to be the most accommodating to visitors.
Although comparatively smaller than several other zoos on the list, this particular zoo boasts a diverse range of animal species. The shading provided by the paths is essential to mitigate the effects of the intense solar radiation in Texas.
Dallas provides variable pricing options that are contingent upon the level of seasonal attendance. The entry fee for adults ranges from $8 to $21.
The cost of tickets for children varies between $8 and $16, contingent upon the season. In the event that one is situated in the vicinity and possesses an inclination towards visiting an alternative zoological establishment, it is noteworthy that the Fort Worth Zoo presents a remarkable opportunity and is deserving of a visit.
14. Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is among the limited number of zoological institutions in the United States that features a contiguous aquarium. The zoo is home to a population of over 4,000 animals.
The aquarium boasts a vertical expanse of two levels and features displays that accurately depict diverse aquatic environments.
The zoo offers interactive animal exhibits featuring a variety of animals such as hippos, leopards, and cheetahs, allowing visitors to actively engage with these creatures.
The aquarium offers comparable exhibitions featuring elasmobranchii and other aquatic creatures. The zoo features a zipline attraction that enables patrons to soar above the animal exhibits.
The zoo is presently hosting a variety of events, such as parades and designated days for visitors to drive through the premises.
15. Denver Zoo (Best Zoos in America 2023)
The Denver Zoo is a remarkable destination for observing rare and unusual creatures from various regions across the globe.
Nonetheless, it also serves as an excellent venue for dining, familial bonding, and education on the subject of animal welfare.
The Denver Zoo is widely recognized as a highly ethical institution within the zoo community and is also a popular destination for visitors.
Due to the zookeepers’ dedication to animal welfare, the animals are not compelled to remain in their enclosures for extended periods.
It is recommended to visit the zoo during the morning hours for an increased opportunity to observe a greater variety of animals. The Denver Zoo offers a standard cost of entry of $14 for children and $20 for adults.
16. Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Rock Creek Park, Washington D.C.
One of the undiscovered gems of our nation’s capital, Rock Creek Park, is home to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. It is one of the top zoos on the east coast and is more frequently referred to as the National Zoo.
The zoo is the only one in the US to host giant pandas and gives the general public free entrance.
There are 2,000 more creatures in addition to the well-known pandas, some of which are rare and endangered species including sarus cranes, Sumatran tigers, and golden lion tamarins.
The zoo hosts a variety of events all year long, including food and drink tastings, family-friendly educational programs, and occasional overnight sleepovers where you can see your favorite animals at night.
17. Henry Doorly Zoo
In Omaha, Nebraska, there are just under 1,000 distinct types of animals at the Henry Doorly Zoo. The Zoo features several exhibits, including those on Asia, Africa, and the South Pole. Even though you are allowed to carry food, Henry Doorly has affordable rates for the food sellers and carts.
The aquarium and zoo are included in a Henry Doorly ticket package. Children’s tickets are $13 each, while adults’ tickets are $19 each, with a $2 discount for seniors.
The zoo is typically simple to explore, and there are many of free parking spaces available.
18. Miami Zoo (Best Zoos in America 2023)
Technically speaking, Zoo Miami is a zoological park and garden rather than just a zoo. There are more than 500 plant and animal species there.
The largest zoo in Florida, Zoo Miami is spread across over 300 acres. Their Floridian species in species of the Everglades are their most distinctive display.
Animals from the Amazon, Asia, Africa, Australia, and a children’s zoo are among the attractions at Zoo Miami.
The children’s zoo is the best option if you are bringing young children since it has a variety of fun activities, some of the most well-known zoo animals, a playground, and a fountain where you can cool off.
Zoo Miami tickets cost $23 for adults and $19 for kids. Annual Zoo members are admitted free.
19. Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, Illinois
One of the oldest zoos in the country, Lincoln Park Zoo is a popular tourist destination in Chicago, Illinois. Except for special events, the zoo is open to the public without charge.
The zoo houses about 1,000 wild creatures from 200 different species, including huge cats, seals, penguins, and sealions.
In the middle of the zoo, there is a carousel. Beer tasting evenings, food sample days, and the renowned Zoolights are all popular zoo activities.
During the holiday season, the zoo is illuminated by millions of lights. Winter trips to the zoo are made simple by the fact that it is open all year and has numerous indoor exhibits.
The several lovely gardens and a tree from 1830, when Chicago was even a city, are among the zoo’s further highlights.
20. National Zoo (Best Zoos in America 2023)
Washington, D.C. is home to the Smithsonian National Zoo, sometimes referred to as the National Zoo. The giant pandas Tai Shan and Bei Bei, who have resided there since 2005, are its most well-known residents. The zoo is home to a wide variety of different creatures, including inhabitants of Africa, Asia, America, and the Arctic.
The Smithsonian National Zoo is well known for its work in animal conservation and research. The zoo doesn’t charge admission because it is a part of the Smithsonian Institution.
But each visitor needs a ticket that has been booked in advance. Do not overlook a trip to the national zoo while you are in the capital city!
21. Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley, Minnesota
With walking routes accessible to explore each habitat, the Minnesota Zoo is a unique zoo where animals are housed in accordance with their natural environment.
Each trail has a unique theme, such as creatures from the north, wildlife from the tropics, or species from Minnesota.
The Minnesota path stands out because it includes natural wildlife to the state, including wolves, coyotes, otters, bears, and eagles.
The zoo also includes an aquarium with about one million gallons of water total in all the tanks for its aquatic species.
The zoo hosts a variety of events, including Farm Babies, which showcases the zoo’s newest infant animals, and several summer programs for kids.
Children may also ride the carousel and climb on the play structures found around the zoo.
22. Philadelphia Zoo (Best Zoos in America 2023)
The Philadelphia Zoo has the distinction of being America’s first recognized zoo. It has included some of the most fascinating animal species and displays since it first opened in 1874. This zoo offers activities for both adults and kids, making it a true family outing.
However, the Philadelphia Zoo is renowned for more than simply its wide array of animals. Additionally, it offers a wide range of dining alternatives, from fast food to vineyards.
The zoo is open more frequently in the summer and has less hours in the fall and winter. Adult tickets cost $24 and child tickets cost $19.
23. Saint Louis Zoo, St. Louis, Missouri
More than 12,000 animals are housed at the Saint Louis Zoo, which focuses on preserving its endangered species.
Various environments, including woods, lakes, the desert, and a birdhouse, are used to separate up the animal exhibits.
Although the zoo is free to enter, other activities like riding the carousel or the train need separate tickets.
Sea lion exhibitions and performances at the zoo’s 4-D theater are available. Visitors may pet stingrays in an interactive stingray display as well. Annual activities like a holiday light display are also held in the zoo.
24. San Diego Zoo (Best Zoos in America 2023)
The most popular zoo in the United States may be the one in San Diego. It would be negligent to leave this zoo out of any list of the top US zoos. This zoo, which covers 100 acres and has 3,500 animals, provides unique experiences, rides, and live entertainment that you won’t find at other zoos.
The price for adults to the San Diego Zoo is $62 and child entry is $52. Parking will probably cost you as well because there isn’t much of it available for free. You may, however, spend the entire day awestruck by the wonders of the wonderful wildlife contained here once you enter the zoo.
25. San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio, Texas
Over 3,500 creatures from more than 700 species may be found at the San Antonio Zoo.
Every year, the zoo receives over a million visitors. The zoo’s exhibits are separated by habitat and country of origin. Africa Live is the most recent exhibit. African creatures including giraffes, monkeys, elephants, zebras, and many other birds are included in the display.
A children’s park and a trip on a locomotive are among the zoo’s attractions. The oldest amusement park with a carousel and several other rides is the kids’ park.
Animal Encounters are available at the zoo, where guests may talk to zookeepers, learn about the animals, and ask any questions they may have.
Education Encounters include educational seminars as well as up-close encounters with creatures like pythons and gibbons.
The zoo also hosts a number of yearly seasonal activities including a family Halloween celebration and a winter lights display.
26. Saint Louis Zoo (Best Zoos in America 2023)
The largest free zoo in the country is the Saint Louis Zoo. Additionally, it is regarded as one of the most moral and reputable facilities for animal research in the country.
The Saint Louis Zoo, which runs entirely on donations, aims to inform and amuse the public while doing research on and caring for animals.
Even if certain attractions and activities have a fee, you may visit the zoo for free all day long! You can give your family the most thrilling free experience they’ve had in a while by packing food and drinks.
27. Fort Worth Zoo, Fort Worth, Texas
One of the top zoos in the country to see a variety of native Texas animals as well as some exotic species is the Fort Worth Zoo.
Over 7,000 species are housed in the zoo’s 11 exhibits, which are divided into habitat types. Some displays, such as the primate section and Parrot Paradise, concentrate on a particular species. Australian and African animals are among the further exhibitions.
Visitors to the zoo can take a trip on the western-themed carousel, cross a long, marshy bridge, engage in target shooting, or experience farm life in the Playbarn.
To make exploring the zoo more convenient, a train runs between two sections. A rock-climbing wall and a tornado and hurricane simulation area are also included.
28. Oakland Zoo, Oakland, California
One of the top zoos in California, Oakland Zoo is home to approximately 850 native and exotic animals. In 2022, the zoo commemorated its 100th birthday.
At the zoo’s lower entrance, there is a Wayne and Gladys Valley Children’s Zoo with a number of displays designed especially for kids.
The Children’s Zoo aims to promote learning through play and discovery. Goats and lambs are a couple of the creatures youngsters may feed, and there are also playgrounds and a live animal interaction theater.
At the zoo, guests may take a gondola ride that provides a view of both the zoo and the neighborhood of San Francisco.
The California walk, a zoo-built area with bears, eagles, and wolves that you may observe along the walk, is located at the top of the gondola.
29. San Francisco Zoo, San Francisco, California
Over 1,000 animals call the San Francisco Zoo, which is located right close to the beach, home. The zoo also features magnificent gardens with various indigenous flora that are accessible all year long.
At the zoo, there are more than 20 exhibits that are divided by geography or environment.
You may view all your favorite creatures, such as penguins, lions, bears, eagles, and even insects, in these exhibitions.
Take a guided walking tour around the zoo to learn interesting things about the animals, the zoo’s past, or the garden plants to get a fresh perspective on the creatures.
Additionally, there are unique bike rides and a behind-the-scenes visit of the homes of the animals.
30. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Tampa, Florida
More than four million people visit Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, a renowned animal theme park, each year.
Numerous animals may be seen in the zoo, including 500 birds that reside in a free-flight habitat. African species including lions, hyenas, lemurs, and hippos are also present.
You will also enjoy thrilling activities including roller coasters, water park rides, a train, and a high drop tower in addition to the animals.
The park organizes a lot of activities all year round, including seasonal festivities around Halloween and Christmas. A cuisine and wine festival and several musical performances take place in the summer.
31. Bear Country USA, Rapid City, South Dakota
An outdoor mammal-based nature park, Bear Country USA is a unique zoo located in Rapid City, South Dakota.
The zoo breaks tradition by having 3-mile drives around the park, rather than displays where visitors may wander around and observe the species.
Elk, reindeer, cougars, goats, sheep, and buffalo are among the displays you pass through on the journey.
The park is home to the world’s biggest privately owned black bear collection. You may tour a nature area in addition to the driving.
FAQs about the Best USA Zoos
What is the most visited zoo in the US?
The San Diego Zoo is the U.S. zoo that receives the most visitors. It is situated in Balboa Park, which also houses the renowned San Diego Zoo Safari Park, as well as galleries, parks, and museums.
The zoo is open all year and has more than 3,700 animals from more than 650 different kinds. The zoo receives more than 3.2 million visitors each year.
What is the largest zoo in the USA?
The biggest zoo in the country is the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Over 7000 animals, representing over 800 species, live at the zoo.
Over 580 acres are taken up by the zoo. There are several different exhibits and attractions in the zoo, such as the polar bear display, the Asia Quest section, and the Congo Expedition.
The zoo also offers a variety of educational activities including tours of the backstage areas and workshops for enriching the animals.
What are some of the most popular zoos in the USA?
Some of the most popular zoos in the world are found in the United States. The San Diego Zoo is one of the biggest and most popular zoos in the country.
A well-known zoo that welcomes tourists from all around the world is Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. Tourists who wish to observe animals up close frequently visit the Bronx Zoo in New York City.
31 Best Zoos in America 2023 [United States of America, USA] – Newshub360.net
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