Best Zoos in the USA

Zoos are one of the most fascinating, educational resources available to us. There’s just nothing quite like seeing wild, exotic animals face-to-face – even having the opportunity to touch and interact with them at some zoos! Whether you have kids or are still wonderfully thrilled with animals as an adult, we are lucky here in America to have some of the biggest and most quality zoos in the world. Here are nine that absolutely must be taken advantage of – the best of the best!

1. Houston Zoo in Houston, TX

Houston Zoo - Best Zoos in the USA

Home to over 900 species with a total of over 6,000 animals in all, Houston Zoo is the second most visited zoo in America. That’s an outstanding variety of species all packed into one 55-acre zoo!

2. Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA

Woodland Park Zoo - Best Zoos In The USA

Woodland Park Zoo is an absolute must in this list as it is second only to the Bronx Zoo in New York City in the number of awards it has received. This zoo has over 300 species and has hugely diverse exhibits, from Tropical Asia to African Savanna to The Northern Trail and more!

3. St. Louis Zoo in St. Louis, MO

St. Louis Zoo - Best Zoos In The USA

St. Louis Zoo is most well-known for its endearing polar bear, Kali. Spectators flock to Missouri just to see the polar bear that was orphaned in Alaska. What’s more – the zoo is free to all!

4. Bronx Zoo in New York City, NY

Bronx Zoo in New York City - Best Zoos in the USA

The Bronx Zoo is one of the largest urban zoos in the world as well as one of the largest zoos in America. The zoo is the perfect escape for New Yorkers to feel like they’re out there in the wild – especially on free Wednesdays! – and also a must-see for any visitors. Its metropolitan beauty and diversity are incomparable!

5. Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert, CA

Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert, CA - Best Zoos in the USA

Living Desert Zoo is so appealing because of the unique desert experience it offers visitors. In fact, it’s more than a zoo; the Living Desert Zoo is also a magnificent botanical garden right in the desert of California! The zoo is dedicated solely to all the desert areas in the world – there’s none other offering anything like the experience you’d get here!

6. Cincinnati Zoo in Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati Zoo in Cincinnati, OH - Best Zoos in the USA

The Cincinnati Zoo may not be the biggest zoo in America, but its appeal lies elsewhere. If you’d love to get a more personal and close-up experience with animals of the wild, you’ll absolutely want to make a trip to this zoo. What sets the Cincinnati Zoo apart are the multiple behind-the-scenes tours it offers in order for you to have a more intimate experience. It’s also home to the last passenger pigeon, Martha!

7. Columbus Zoo in Columbus, OH

Columbus Zoo in Columbus - Best Zoos in the USA

If you’re wanting to spend a day – or ten – in the largest zoo in America, be sure to swing on over to Columbus while you’re in Ohio to stop by the Columbus Zoo, spanning a whopping 580 acres that hold over 7,000 animals!

8. Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, AK

Alaska Zoo in Anchorage - Best Zoos in the USA

What makes this zoo so spectacular is simply the fact that its location offers home to animals of the arctic. Though its much smaller than other zoos on this list, the experience of seeing wolves, reindeer, polar bears, and more in their natural habitat is superbly unique.

9. San Diego Zoo in San Diego, CA

San Diego Zoo in San Diego - Best Zoos in the USA

Last but certainly not least, the San Diego Zoo is extremely well-known for its quality and quantity – over 650 species and 3,700 animals. Visitors especially love close-up encounters with giant pandas as the San Diego Zoo is one of the few zoos in the world to breed them.

*Zoo  images are from the zoo websites. 

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