London Zoo, London – photo by
The London Zoo, located on the north side of Regent’s Park, has been operating as an animal research facility since 1826. In 1847, the grounds opened to the public. Its success as a family attraction has helped them develop new zoo innovations such as the world’s first reptile house (in 1849), public aquarium (in 1853) and petting zoo (in 1938). Since then, the zoo has retained some of its most notable pieces of Victorian architecture while expanding their animals to include the popular Komodo Dragon, Galapagos Tortoises, a wide range of reptiles, tigers, gorillas and more. Particularly noteworthy is their Penguin Beach, which is a circular 12,000-square-meter pool that holds 450,000 liters of water and offers stunning underwater viewing areas.
National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, Gauteng – photo by
The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, otherwise known as the Pretoria Zoo, was founded in 1916 and has since grown to encompass 216 acres. Half the zoo lies stretched over flat ground, while the other half is hill-side. Streaming between the two areas is the Apies River, but getting around is as simple as crossing its suspension bridges and following the 6 km of trails and walkways on foot, renting a golf cart, or even catching a ride on the cablecar to the upper section. The journey through the zoo winds through exhibits featuring chimpanzees, various waterbirds and lemurs, smaller primate, marmosets, tamarins, kangaroos, emus, red pandas and ample wildlife only native to the South African wildlife. Over 9,000 individual animals of over 705 types of species call this zoo their home.
Visit the Columbus Zoo for Lions, cougars and bears, oh my!
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Ohio – photo by
Those who are unaware that Ohio was capable of having a world-class anything will be delighted to know that one of the largest zoos in the world is in Powell, close to Columbus. With over 9,000 total animals spread over 793 species and attracting over 2.3 million annual visitors, the Columbus Zoo has proven to be quite the menagerie and worthy of note; but what makes this place really shine is its world-renowned conservation facilities and fundraising programs to help outside conservation efforts. That, and, unlike most traditional zoos, the Columbus Zoo houses thrilling rides, coasters, drops, spin rides and even a water park. A home to a diverse range of creatures from all corners of the world, the zoo is easily a full day adventure.
Tiergarten Schönbrunn, Vienna – photo by
The oldest zoo in the world was built in the turn of the 17th century on the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace, a summer palace for royalty during the Hapsburg Dynasty. Apart from being a breeding ground for exotic creatures, the majestic palace offers a keen lens into history, having hosted the likes of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and Mozart. Its ménagerie is no less remarkable, set against the yellow-splashed Viennese answer to Versaille, updated with carefully designed habitats and crawling with beautiful flamingos, pandas, giraffes and a whole host of other animals. Their most popular exhibition by far is the baby panda, the face of which can pretty much blow the brilliant facade of the palace out of the water by comparison.
Taronga Zoo, Sydney – photo by
Located 12 minutes by ferry from Sydney, the Taronga Zoo is a fully sensorial Australian experience, engaging the eyes with a breathtaking view of the Sydney Harbour and Opera House before getting a close introduction to some of the wildlife of the Aussie outback. Winding down the scenic trail with a tour guide, visitors can spot giraffes, koalas, African elephants, Australian sea-lions, Tasmanian devils and over 300 other other species. Their shows offer an insightful look into the activities of seals and birds, educational talks by keepers, as well as a chance to nuzzle koalas, feed giraffes and meet a reptile. This zoo even offers visitors an opportunity to stay a night at the zoo in one of their architecturally-designed tents, alongside lions, snow leopards and meerkats and wake up at sunrise to the roar of a lion.
Uncover huge wildlife and botanical displays at the San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo, San Diego – photo by
San Diego is a great destination for adults and kids who love animals! People who want a little adventure in their marine exploration go to Seaworld; families interested in ocean conservation and a deeper look into the habitats of fish and invertebrates hit the Birch Aquarium. For everyone else, the world-famous, century-old San Diego Zoo is home to exotic creatures such as giant pandas, koalas, leopards, elephants, Chinese alligators and more, divided between their ten bioclimatic zones. Visitors can simply stroll from an arctic tundra to a rain forest and get a fairly leisurely nature lesson on their respective inhabitants. Budding horticulturalists can easily take a tour around their expansive botanical garden of over 700,000 plants. Visitors can also take their Skyfari Aerial Tram to get a better idea of the layout and see all of the magnificent animals from a birds’ eye perspective.
Get up close and purrrrr-sonal with the exotic felines at the Singapore Zoo
Singapore Zoo, Singapore – photo by
Over 2,800 animals representing 300 species of mammals, birds and reptiles are spread over the 64-acre wildlife park that lies snug in the lush Mandai rainforest. Unlike many other traditional zoos, the Singapore Zoo skews towards open-air exhibits: no cages, only meticulously recreated animal habitats that befit the ones natural to the species as well as special viewing features such as elevated platforms, underwater galleries, glass observatories and even deep moats that separate some more dangerous animals from the viewers. And if the lack of cages didn’t make for an interactive enough experience, their regular shows and feedings certainly help visitors get acquainted to their favorite furry, scaly, or supple creatures.
The Beijing Zoo has lots of pandas – one of my favorite animals!
The zoo was in established in 1906 during the late Qing Dynasty and has grown substantially from its relatively humble beginnings as a home to 12 monkeys, two parrots and a blind emu. Today it contains 950 species of animals within its sprawling 219 acres of land, and by far the most popular exhibits in the Beijing Zoo are devoted to rare Chinese animals, most notably the Giant Pandas. Also on display are the South China tiger, Chinese Alligators and Chinese Great Salamander. Visitors can stroll leisurely around the manicured flower gardens, large groves of trees, grassland, streams, lotus pools and small hills atop which sit beautiful turn of the century Chinese pavilions.