When you’re picking your next travel destination, planning around the best zoos in the world is a great place to start. We’ve rounded up each of these and listed their best sights.
Going to the zoo is a childhood delight. However, it’s not only exciting for children. All humans are fascinated with the animal world, especially the more exotic animals, which shows in the sheer number of zoos worldwide.
15 Best Zoos in the World
If you love zoos, you might want to incorporate a zoo visit into your travels, whether domestic or worldwide. Here are some of the best zoos in the world to improve your travel experience in alphabetic order. You could even make a zoo passport to mark where you’ve been!
1. Beijing Zoo
The oldest zoo and public park in China, the Beijing Zoo, has an extensive collection of pandas. The panda house is the main draw for this zoo, but it’s not the only thing to see. There are almost 1,000 different species of animals in the large zoo.
The Beijing Zoo has a base cost of 15 yuan (a little over $2) for entrance. However, you pay more for various events, including their panda house and aquarium. Altogether, you won’t spend more than $15 per ticket at the Beijing Zoo. There are also food vendors and gift shops for souvenirs.
2. Berlin Zoo
The Berlin Zoological Garden in Germany has been around since the nineteenth century and has an incredible, if war-torn, history. The zoo covers just under 90 acres and has a polar bear exhibit, an aquarium, African and Asian mammals, and many other exhibits.
Tickets to the Berlin Zoo cost about $19 for adults. There is free parking outside the zoo on the weekends, but you might have to pay extra to park during the week. However, there is plenty of public transportation in Berlin that makes stops at the zoo.
3. Bronx Zoo
One of the largest zoos in America is snuggled within the confines of New York City. Find that hard to believe? Then you will be surprised by the variety and spacious enclosures of the Bronx Zoo. It’s difficult to see everything in the park in one day, so plan on starting early or only hitting the most important exhibits.
The Bronx Zoo costs $25 for adults and $17 for children. However, the zoo also offers an unlimited access option which includes extra rides and attractions in the park. This package costs $35 for adults and $25 for children.
4. Chester Zoo
England’s largest zoo, the Chester Zoo, has more than 35,000 animals tucked away into the English countryside. Chester Zoo specializes in endangered animals, including the near-extinct black rhinos.
They have some of the last black rhinos globally and have played a significant role in repopulating the species. There are many more animals to see than just the rhinos, however!
The zoo also has a parrot breeding center, animals from every continent, and a butterfly garden. The zoologists specialize in endangered species from tropical islands and feature several Komodo dragons. Tickets to the Chester Zoo are ￡16 each, or about $22.
5. Henry Doorly Zoo
Located in Omaha, Nebraska, the Henry Doorly Zoo focuses on research, preservation, and education. They have just under 1,000 animal species from all over the world. The Henry Doorly Zoo also has several food vendors with reasonable prices, although you can also bring your food.
Tickets to Henry Doorly are $19 for adults, $17 for seniors, and $13 for children. They offer special events and discounts throughout the year, especially during the off-season. The Lozier Giant Screen Theater is an Imax theater that shows educational and nature movies in 2D and 3D.
6. Japan National Zoo
Yokohama Zoological Gardens, Japan’s national zoo, is more commonly known as Zoorasia. The zoo is known for its exotic bird exhibit, featuring African, Asian, and South American birds of different varieties. There is a stunning walk-through bird enclosure that allows visitors to come even closer to the animals!
The other animals in the park are excellent as well. Zoorasia’s enclosures are wide open and give the animals an almost natural habitat. The free environment makes the animals more lively and keeps them healthy. Tickets cost a little over $7 for Zoorasia.
7. National Zoo
Known as the National Zoo, the Smithsonian National Zoo is one of Washington DCs premier free attractions and one of the oldest zoos in the United States. The zoo is owned by the Smithsonian Institution and offers completely free tickets. However, guests are required to make a reservation to enter the park.
The National Zoo is known for its pandas but also has multiple other exhibits and attractions. The elephant trails are also popular. Open almost every day of the year and constantly full of visitors, the National Zoo is truly a zoo of America.
8. Pretoria National Zoo
When you think of South Africa, you might not immediately think of a zoo. However, the National Zoological Garden in Pretoria, South Africa, is a place you don’t want to miss if you’re visiting the country! With over 200 acres, the zoo has all of the classic safari attractions and animals from other areas of the world.
Pretoria National Zoo was founded in 1899 to save the endangered species in Africa due to big game hunting. In the years since its founding, the zoo has preserved several species from Africa and other continents. Tickets to Pretoria National Zoo cost under $8 per person.
9. San Diego Zoo
Perhaps the most famous zoo in America, the San Diego Zoo spans 100 acres in California, USA. The zoo focuses on animal preservation and has played a pivotal role in repopulating the giant panda population.
San Diego’s pandas are the most visited attraction in the park and have helped raise money for conservation. Pandas are not the only exciting part of this zoo, though!
There are also rides, movies, concessions, and other attractions within the San Diego Zoo (not to mention the 650 species of animals besides pandas). Tickets for the San Diego Zoo are $62 for adults and $52 for children.
10. Schönbrunn Zoo
If you are traveling to see wild animals and history, look no further than the Vienna Zoo (or Schönbrunn Zoo) in Austria. This zoo is the oldest continually operating zoo in the world, having opened in 1752.
It has a vast array of animals, ranging from chimpanzees to zebras. Tickets for the Schönbrunn Zoo are $26 per person. It’s open year-round and has seasonal specials and many special events.
11. Singapore Zoo
The Wildlife Reserve of Singapore, also known as the Singapore Zoo, is home to one of the most outstanding varieties of rainforest animals outside the actual rainforest. It’s one of the world’s only “open-concept” zoos, so the animals are almost entirely in their natural habitat.
When visiting Singapore, the zoo is a must-see. Tickets to the Singapore Zoo are $27.50 a person. This price includes admission to all of the exhibits in the zoo, including the rainforest exhibit and the children’s zoo.
12. Taronga Zoo
If you’re in Sydney, Australia, be sure to make a stop at the Taronga Zoo! It’s impossible to miss, sitting right on the harbor. Although it’s in a busy suburb of Sydney, Taronga makes room for over 5,000 animals from various nations and continents. The zoo’s seal show is a huge attraction for visitors.
Taronga offers everything a zoo should, from elephants to lions to penguins. Whether you live in Australia or are just visiting, take a day to visit this lovely menagerie. Tickets to the Taronga zoo are $32 per person.
13. Toronto Zoo
Toronto Zoo is the largest zoo in Canada. It’s one of the only zoos globally with a Canadian exhibit featuring moose, elk, and other species native to Canada.
However, the zoo also has Indo-Malaya, Tundra Trek, Australasia, Africas, America, and Eurasia exhibits over its 710 acres. General admission to the Toronto Zoo is $22 (or 29 Canadian dollars).
Parking is $12 per car. They offer plenty of live events and animal shows, so make sure you see what’s going on when you plan on attending!
14. Wellington Zoo
The Wellington Zoo, in Wellington, New Zealand, is over a hundred years old and has 500 different animals. This zoo was the first zoo in the country and flew in most animals from other countries. It is a conservation society and features several species native to New Zealand and Australia.
The Wellington Zoo is small, but that doesn’t mean it’s not unique! Visitors will be able to see everything the zoo has to offer in a single day. An adult ticket is $19 ($27 New Zealand dollars), and a child’s ticket is $8.50 ($12 New Zealand dollars).
15. Welsh Mountain Zoo
The Welsh Mountain Zoo is a hidden gem in the mountains of North Wales. It’s one of the smallest zoos on this list and features the most miniature animals.
While there are no huge animals (elephants, giraffes, etc.) at the zoo, they have an extraordinarily healthy and well-cared-for population of chimps, exotic birds, and a tiger.
Welsh Mountain Zoo costs $22 for children and $30 for adults. If you are in Wales or the United Kingdom in general, you won’t regret spending an afternoon at this lovely little zoo!
Things to Consider
When you’re visiting a zoo, there are several things to consider. This is especially true if you’re in a foreign country or planning to visit a foreign zoo.
Here are some factors to research when you’re planning your zoo trip:
- Find out the zoo’s COVID policy and requirements.
- Find out the zoo’s ticket prices.
- If you’re going to a zoo in another country, convert the cost to your currency.
- Research any special deals or events.
- Find out whether there are exhibits that are closed at certain times of the year.
- Research what time of the day animals are usually active.
- Find out whether the zoo allows outside food and drink.
- Print off a map of the zoo (especially if the signs are in a foreign language).
- Make a plan for which exhibits are most important for you personally to see.
- Research transportation and parking in the area.
- Bring sun protection.
- Pack snacks and water.
- Bring a wagon or a stroller (especially if you have small children).
So, What Are the Best Zoos in the World?
When we’re traveling, we want to be able to see everything we can in a new area. If you’re in any of these major cities abroad, the zoo is a must-see! We hope that you’ll visit one of the world’s best zoos. And be sure to let us know what you thought!