Almost every major city in the world has a zoological park for animal conservation, protection, and of course, entertainment. They house animals that we might never see in our lifetime without going to a zoo. Most zoos are also important centers for research. Here we take a look at the top 10 best zoos in the world where wonderful and rare wildlife brings delight to visitors.
Top 10 best zoos in the world
10- Schonbrunn Zoo, Vienna, Austria
This is arguably the oldest zoo in the world. It was built on the grounds of Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna in 1752. The Vienna Zoo has many firsts to its name. The first elephant birth in a controlled environment took place here in 1906. Though the zoo is full of beautiful giraffes, elephants, hippos, sea lions, jaguars, and other animals, its biggest attraction is the baby panda. The zoo is divided into several geographical regions to provide microenvironments and unique habitats for different species of animals. Undoubtedly, one of the top 10 best zoos in the world.
9- Edinburgh Zoo, Edinburgh, Scotland
The Edinburgh Zoo opened in 1913. It has many unique attractions including the UK’s only giant pandas (taken on loan from China). It is the world’s first zoo to breed penguins in a controlled environment. Edinburgh Zoo is also the first in the UK to house koalas. If you ever visit this place, don’t miss the ‘penguin parade’ where penguins are released to walk around among visitors.
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8- National Zoological Gardens, Pretoria, South Africa
Also known as the Pretoria Zoo, it was founded more than a century ago. Spread over 216 acres, this zoo is on both sides of the Apies River. Visitors have to cross suspension bridges to go from one side to another. It houses smaller primates, marmosets, chimpanzees, lemurs, and waterbirds. It has more than 700 types of animals. The zoo is well known for its breeding programs for endangered species.
7- Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia
This award-winning zoo offers one of the best visitor experiences in the world with the stunning views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbor. It is roughly 12 minutes by ferry from Sydney. It’s home to more than 4,000 koalas, giraffes, reptiles, snow leopards, meerkats, and other animals. It also houses dozens of imported animals.
6- Wellington Zoo, New Zealand
This is the oldest zoo in New Zealand. Spread over 32 acres, it’s not as big as many others in the list, but it’s home to extremely rare animals. You’ll spot Sumatran tigers, miniature Sun Bear, caracal, gibbon, baboon, kereru, and many others. The zoo runs many breeding programs for endangered animals in collaboration with several local and international conservation groups.
5- Berlin Zoological Garden, Germany
The Berlin Zoo opened back in 1844 and has more than 1,500 species of animals from around the world. It also boasts the largest aquarium in the world. The Berlin Zoo is home to Bao Bao – the oldest living giant panda – and the famous “knut” polar bear. You’ll spot a wide variety of animals such as elephants, seals, lions, piranhas, sharks, and others. The zoo was almost completely destroyed and more than 90% animals were killed during the Second World War. Today it’s the most visited zoo in entire Europe.
4- Beijing Zoo
The Beijing Zoo was established by the Qing dynasty in 1906. At its beginning, the zoo had only two parrots, a blind emu, and a dozen monkeys. Today it has become the largest zoo in China, spread over 220 acres of land. It’s home to more than 14,500 animals of about 950 different species. The Beijing Zoo focuses on rare Chinese animals such as giant pandas, Chinese alligators, South China tigers, Tibetan gazelles, and Chinese great salamander. It attracts more than six million visitors every year.
3- Bronx Zoo, New York, USA
The Bronx Zoo in New York is spread over 265 acres, and has the Bronx river flowing through it. It’s the first zoo in the Western Hemisphere to host snow leopards. Since its inception, it has been at the forefront of wildlife conservation. The Animal Planet has done a documentary on this zoo. Walking around the zoo, you’ll spot South African wild dogs, baboons, Transvaal lions, big bears, and many other animals in their naturalistic habitat. It attracts millions of visitors every year.
2- Singapore Zoo
The 64-acre Singapore Zoo has nearly 3,000 animals representing 300 different species. Instead of keeping animals in cages, this zoo has recreated habitats that feel natural to the species. Visitors can watch them through deep moats, elevated platforms, glass observatories, and underwater galleries. Through moat and glass, it offers visitors unique experiences.
1- San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo tops our list of the best zoos in the world. The century-old zoo opened with abandoned animals in 1915. Visitors can take the Skyfari Aerial Tram to see all the animals from above in the air. It is home to animals such as Chinese alligators, elephants, pandas, koalas, and more. It is also at the forefront of wildlife conservation and protection.