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12 Best Zoos In America For Kids and Family Tours

Updated on May 1, 2014

Welcome to this article on '12 Best Zoos In America For Kids and Family Tours', I hope that you will be able to choose the right zoo to take your kid's/family members and enjoy the nature this vacation. Here in this article I have listed my personnel top 12 zoos in USA, America is home for the best zoo's in the world, and each one has its own features. Each of the zoo listed here has a picture of the entrance to the zoo and also a link to official website of the zoo.

San Diego Zoo

San Diego zoo has a vision to work against extinction of endangered species. Zoo San Diego is spread over 100 acres, the zoo has more than 2600 animals together representing about 650 plus species, it is one of the top zoos in America. To meet their vision, one of the noticeable things is that about half of the San Zoo Diego area is maintained as natural habitat for the animals living inside. It boasts of having more than half a million members that includes households and kids. The smoke-free zoo also has a safari park with some unique features like overhead rope cars which is popular by the name ‘Skyfari’ that gives an ariel view of the San Diego zoo.


Phoenix Zoo

Accredited by the ‘Association of Zoos and Aquariums’, the Phoenix zoo is one of the biggest zoos in America among the privately-owned zoo that is situated in Phoenix, Arizona. This non-profit Phoenix Wildlife Zoo is spread over an area of 125 acres (51 ha) in the Papago Park area of Phoenix. With more than 1,400 animals on display, the zoo features a Sanctuary that takes care of the endangered and wanted animals. The wildlife zoo in Phoenix contains walking trails of over 2.5 miles, divided into 4 main themed trails- The Arizona trail, The Africa trail, The Tropics trail and the Children’s Trail that includes a petting zoo.


Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

With a mission to connect people and wildlife, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium displays marvelous animals of diverse nature. Presented by Nationwide Insurance, the tourists from all over the world find the wilderness and wonders of prairies, wetlands and the forests that are present throughout the North America. Get beautiful encounters with Alaskan brown bears, majestic polar bears, bald eagle, rare fishes and many more exotic animals. Whether it is African grey parrot, American bison, Asian elephant or Arctic fox, there is always much more to learn about their habitat and the habits. The Columbus zoo and aquarium is situated in Powell, Ohio, just north of Columbus. USA travel guide named it no. 1 zoo in year 2009, and ‘Besties Readers Choice’ gave it 1st rank in year 2012. The zoo represents a collection of over 9,000 animals with more than 700 species. The aquarium is full of exotic fishes, not to miss the opportunity to watch stingray Bay.


Bronx Zoo

Welcome to the Bronx Zoo at Southern Blvd, New York. The Zoo is located within the Bronx Park, and it is the largest metropolitan zoo in the world. Built on 265 acres of park land as well as naturalistic habitat, it features around 6000 animals that represent more than 650 species brought from all over the world. One can find a variety of mammals, reptiles, birds and insects. Take a round trip on Dinosaur safari or get indulged in other events happening in the park. The Bronx zoo is accredited by ‘Association of Zoos and aquariums’, and represents an integral part of four zoos and one aquarium that is managed by ‘Wildlife conservation Society’.


Lincoln Park Zoo

Welcome to the Lincoln Park Zoo that is situated at Lincoln Park, Chicago in America. With a mission to connect people to the wonders of nature, the park provides free entry to the people. A privately managed institution that runs on the support and donation given by the members, visitors and the donors, the Lincoln Park is spread over 35 acres of land and hosts over 1100 animals with 200 species. It is one of the oldest parks that is accredited by the ‘Association of Zoos and Aquariums’. Lincoln Park zoo displays the beautiful assembly of Penguins, Gorillas, Polar bears, Big cats, reptiles and many more other animals.


Brevard Zoo

Accredited by the ‘Association of Zoos and Aquariums’, the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida is a non- profit zoo that is spread over 75 acres and is a host to over 650 animals from 165 species. The zoo area is divided into 4 loops i.e. Expedition Africa, Wild Florida, Australia/ Asia and La Selva. Since its establishment in year 1994, the zoo is a home to many exotic species, reptiles, birds, mammals and endangered animals. It is wonderful to see white-tailed deer, African spurred tortoise, golden Conure, Red- crusted Cardinal, Blue and Gray Macaw, Gray fox and many more amazing animals.


Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Smithsonian National Zoological Park is a major component of Smithosonian Institution that is the largest museum as well as the research complex in the world. This park exhibits a large, diverse and complex organization that take utmost care in the conservation of animals. The park is spread in 163- acre area in the centre of Washington D.C. More than 2000 animals of around 400 species are the major attractions of this Zoological Park. Every year, this popular tourist destination is visited by over 2 million visitors from the local area, from the country as well as from all parts of world, and the entry is free of charge. Some of the famous resident animals are- Giant Panda, Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and Bao Bao.


Houston Zoo

Zoo in Houston is on a mission to provide fun and inspirational experience that helps in manifesting knowledge, care and appreciation of the natural world. The zoo is home to more than 6000 animals representing 900 plus species and is visited by about 2 million visitors each year. It is spread on 55 acres located within Hermann Park in Texas.


St. Louis Zoo

Beautifully located at One Government Drive in Missouri is zoo St Louis, the St. Louis Zoo is a famous tourist place all over the world. The zoo inhabits over 19,800 wild animals with 600 species of animals, and most of them are endangered as well as rare. Nationwide, it is one of the free zoos that is spread extensively over ninety acres. Since 1910, the zoo has been a host to more than 3,000,000 visitors and is well known for its amazing naturalistic exhibits.


Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

Located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is owned by the City of Saint Paul besides being a division of ‘Saint Paul Parks and Recreation’. Over 1.9 million tourists from all over the world come there annually to see the marvelous zoo, the conservatory, Lake Como, an amusement Park, a golf course, a Carousel, a pool and many more attractions. With a mission ‘To inspire the public to value the presence of living things in their lives’, the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory provides free entry to the visitors. This park is accredited by the ‘Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ and is spread over 759 acres of land. The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is full of natural living beings, such as Arctic fox, Bison, Cougar, Flamingo, giraffe, Gorilla, Saki monkey, Snow leopard, a few to name.


North Carolina Zoo

Since its establishment in year 1974, the North Carolina Park has grown into ‘one of the largest natural habitat zoos’ in United States. It is located in Asheboro, in Randolph County, North Carolina and covers almost 2,200 acre of land. The distinct feature of the zoo is that the cages of animals are not made from concrete and steel, but they have provided the enclosures that are duplicates of their natural habitats i.e. ponds, trees, grass, rocks and dirt. The North Carolina zoo is ‘the largest walk- through zoo in the world’ that represents more than 1600 animals of over 250 species, with a major collection from North America and Africa. More than 700,000 tourists from all over the world come to see the beautiful zoo and the zoo welcomes its visitors 364 days of the year.


Miami Zoo

The Miami Zoo is situated at Miami, Florida, and gives its support in the conservation and protection of natural habitat. Zoo in Miami is beautiful display of more than 700 animals that are kept secured in cage less subtropical environment. Some of the world famous projects held by the zoo are- Florida Panther Recovery Program, ‘discovering our Endangered Neighbor’, ‘Florida Flamingo Program, Pine Rockland Preservation, Happy Eagle project, Cheetah Ambassador Program and many more to name.



I hope that you have liked the pictures and brief description about each zoo mentioned here. This list of 12 best zoos in America, it is not in anyway rating or ranking of zoo America, these are just my choice. As I have mentioned earlier America is the home for the best zoos in the world, please try to visit most of the zoos with your kids and family members.


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    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      We are members of the SD Zoo, my children think that makes me a monkey.

      Great hub


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