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Best Zoos in the US

The world has a total of 240 accredited zoos and aquariums spanning over 13 countries. Out of which, USA boasts of 217 accredited zoos!
Raksha Kulkarni
USA is one of the largest countries and has a very diverse flora and fauna. It’s not possible every time to see the animals in the wild. Hence, the perfectly well kept zoos come in the picture. We have come up with a list of the best zoos in the USA.
Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (Omaha, Nebraska)
It is a beautiful 170-acre zoo which has trams and the Omaha Zoo Railroad for a better experience. The zoo takes care of almost 30,000 animals of 962 species.
There are different ecosystem attractions like the Desert Dome, Kingdom of the Night (largest nocturnal exhibit), and the Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium.
There’s a separate petting zoo but you can also feed lettuce to the giraffes. There’s a Children’s Adventure Trails exhibit and you can also enroll them for a sleeping bag safari which lets them spend overnight at the zoo.
San Diego Zoo
The 100-acre zoo boasts of open air and cage free exhibits, re-creating natural habitats for 3,500 animals of more than 800 species.
The Panda Trek had Pandas for 2 decades (which are sent back to China now) but is renowned for successfully breeding and saving red pandas from extinction.
Don’t miss the exhibits like Northern Frontier to see the polar bears, Lost Forest to see gorillas and flamingos, and Outback to see kangaroos and koalas. It also has a petting Paddock and you may also feed some giraffes.
Brookfield Zoo (Chicago, Illinois)
The 216-acre zoo is renowned in 5 of the Chicago zoos because of its unique indoor exhibits home to 2,300 animals from three continents.
Check out the Big Cats exhibit to watch endangered snow leopards, Amur leopards, and African lions.
You can see spider monkeys at the South American exhibit, gibbons & orangutans from Asia, and kangaroos at the Australian House.
You can also feed parakeets, reindeer, pandas, wallabies, llamas, and also meet the Humboldt penguins. The zoo also has Sleepover Safari for kids.
Bronx Zoo (Bronx, New York)
It is the largest metropolitan zoo in the USA, boasting of 265 acres of natural habitats and park lands. It opened in 1899, one of the oldest zoos which was renowned as it was the first to have an in-house animal hospital.
The zoo houses over 6,000 animals of 650 species. Don’t miss the exhibits like World of Reptiles, Congo Gorilla Forest, Tiger Mountain, Butterfly Garden, and JungleWorld.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (Powell, Ohio)
The Zoo and the Aquarium take up a whopping 588 acres, which makes it the largest zoo in the country. It includes a 22-acre Zoombezi Bay water park, A Safari Golf Club, and a theme park.
The former director of the zoo was the renowned Jack Hanna (Jungle Jack), featured in numerous talk shows. He started replacing the cages with habitat environments.
There are almost 9,000 animals pertaining to over 800 species. Do check out the exhibits like Adventure Cove, North America’s Bear Exhibit, Congo Expedition African Forest; and you can get up close with the koalas and kangaroos in the Australian section. The aquarium here features a huge 100,000 gallon coral reef exhibit.
Cincinnati Zoo (Ohio)
It opened in 1875 and is one of the oldest in the USA. The zoo is renowned because of some unique animals like the fastest cheetah in captivity, largest Komodo dragon, longest living American alligator in captivity. It also gained attention, being the first to successfully breed California Sea Lions.
There are a total of 1900 animals of 500 species in the 75-acre zoo. The Elephant House, Reptile House, Africa exhibit, and the beautiful garden exhibits can’t be missed!
You can also see the clouded leopards, bearded dragons, and meet the two-toed sloth, macaws, and six-banded armadillo.
Smithsonian's National Zoo (Washington)
The 163-acre zoo is open to public, free of charge. Half of it is saved for conservation purposes and the other half can be visited. The zoo boasts of 2 cute Giant Pandas and the best thing is that you can even watch them on a camera from wherever you are, 24/7.
There are a total of 1,800 animals of 300 species. Check out their exhibits like the Great Ape House, The Cheetah Conservation Station, Lion and Tiger Hill, and the Reptiles Discovery Center.
Philadelphia Zoo
It is the first actual zoo in the US. The 42-acre zoo houses 1,300 animals of more than 340 species. The zoo is popular for its Zoo360 Animal Exploration Trails where apes and tiger walk high up in huge steel tube cages.
Don’t miss the Rare Animal Conservation Center where there are many endangered animals. Other attractions are the Keybank Big Cat Falls, McNeil Avian Center, and Penguin Point.
Indianapolis Zoo
The beautiful zoo houses 1,400 animals. It also boasts of great activities like swimming with dolphins, underwater dolphin-viewing dome, and even touching sharks.
Animal Art Adventures include paintings by elephants, penguins, and other animals. A must go place is the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, which is renowned for their studies in orangutan vocalization.
Saint Louis Zoo (Missouri)
Located within the Forest Park of Gateway City, the 90-acre zoo houses about 18,700 animals of 600 species. The zoo is accessible to public for free. The zoo is renowned for its 850-pound polar bear named Kali.
Other attractions include the African Savannah habitat, the Wild zone for red pandas, and the daily sea lion shows.
Miami Zoo (Florida)
The 750-acre zoo is home to almost 3,000 animals such as the Malayan sun bears, clouded leopards, and many more.
Get an unforgettable experience of feeding 2 huge Indian rhinos and other animals like giraffes and parakeets.
Memphis Zoo (Tennessee)
The 76-acre zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals of almost 500 species. The zoo definitely provides a very interactive experience for visitors as there are natural habitats, regular zookeeper interactions, and feeding programs.
Don’t miss their ‘Animals of the Night’ exhibit where you can see lorises, naked mole rats, etc. Others are Cat Country, Primate Canyon, Zambezi river, Hippo Camp, etc.
Fort Worth Zoo (Texas)
The 64-acre zoo is home to almost 5,000 animals of 435 different species. Some of the famous exhibits are the Flamingo Bay, Raptor Canyon, World of Primates, Asian Falls and Parrot Paradise. The zoo also has a museum of living art and runs several conservation programs.
Denver Zoo (Colorado)
The 80-acre zoo is located in City Park in Denver. It houses 3,500 animals of almost 550 species. The zoo is famous for their interactive events like feeding the African penguins and the llamas.