VACATION IDEAS

29 Unforgettable Zoos Everyone Should Visit

From feeding giraffes in Tampa Bay to spending time with the kangaroos at Steve Irwin's beloved Australia Zoo, our Budget Travel audience shares their all-time favorite zoos and animal encounters.

  1. "Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. Hands down the best. Ferry to the zoo, cable car to the top, with views of the Sydney skyline and the Opera House from every angle. Pet a koala, walk through a kangaroo pen, see a platypus, watch the bird show with huge sea eagles, and everything is downhill back to the ferry. It's brilliant." —Jeff Smith

    (Ralph Lohse/Dreamstime.com)
  2. "St. Louis Zoo. It's always in the top five and it's free!" —Amy Lasaitis

    (Mike Weidman/Dreamstime.com)
  3. "Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs because of their amazing giraffe exhibit and skyride, all with a backdrop of gorgeous mountains." —Nicole Spencer Benge

    (Courtesy chelsyo/myBudgetTravel)
  4. "I recently shot a wedding at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. What an amazing park, attractions, and most of all, the dinosaur exhibit. It's not just a great place for families but for a wedding. They also had a brass band march through the park to the cocktail hour! Unforgettable." —Maggie Stolzberg

    (David Smith/Dreamstime.com)
  5. "Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida. You can feed giraffes and kangaroos." —Alli Rapine

    (Rose Waddell/Dreamstime.com)
  6. "San Diego is my favorite but recently I discovered the Cape May Zoo in New Jersey. It's a nice break from the beach with a lot of shade, and it's free!" —Lisa Bucci

    (www.capemaymac.org/Flickr)
  7. "My favorite is Australia Zoo, a must-visit for anyone to the Brisbane area, not just Steve Irwin fans. My husband and I enjoyed our time with the kangaroos. We spent a couple hours inside their huge enclosure as dozens of kangaroos hopped and frolicked all around us. We pet, fed, and literally laid on the ground and cuddled with the kangaroos. Best ever!" —Sheree Hopp

    (Thomas Hansson/Dreamstime.com)
  8. "Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington D.C. It's been a couple years but many species, well maintained, clean, and free to enter. What more could you ask for?" —Onzelle Gregory

    (Joe Ravi/Dreamstime.com)
  9. "Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. The Desert Dome is the largest geodesic dome in the world and has the largest indoor desert—go through the Kingdoms of the Night with a jungle, caves, and a swamp. It is so fascinating! But really, all of the exhibits are fantastic. There's even an old fashioned carousel for the young and young-at-heart to ride." —Susan Haley

    (Justinjohnson555/Dreamstime.com)
  10. "Columbus Zoo and Aquarium! Not only home to Jack Hanna, the expansive layout has loads to check out from the river otters of the North American section to the elephants of Euroasia, and the wonderful large aquarium." —Courtney Pollock

    (Rebekah Flory/Dreamstime.com)
  11. "For me, it has to be the Atlanta Zoo and the five pandas! Can't wait to see the new twins later this fall." —Jeff Cordry

    (Kphotos6411/Dreamstime.com)
  12. "I love the Helsinki Zoo! It's on an island and you have to take a ferry to get there. A gorgeous place to spend the day!" —Jessica Switzer

    (Elenauspenskaya/Dreamstime.com)
  13. "I love the Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque. I was a docent there for a while. Natural habitat exhibits and fun summer concerts." —@AntKristi

    (Courtesy City of Albuquerque/Flickr)
  14. "Fota Wildlife Park in Cork, Ireland. It's not everyday you see giraffes wandering around the green hills of Ireland." —Claire Ahern

    (Glogover/Dreamstime.com)
  15. "Believe it or not, you can't beat the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo in Fort Wayne, Indiana." —Chad Feay

    (berriehol/Flickr)
  16. "Hands down, Philadelphia Zoo. Not only is the zoo from my childhood, it's also the oldest in the country (est. 1874, opening delayed due to the Civil War). The grounds and enclosures (42-acre Victorian gardens) have a romantic, old-world feel. Such a lovely place!" —Martrese White

    (Courtesy The Philadelphia Zoo)
  17. "Toledo Zoo." —Melanie Holland-Musser

    (John Anderson/Dreamstime.com)
  18. "Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. It's free. So many times, I've passed through the neighborhood, hopped out to see my favorite animals for a short while, and then headed on my way. This makes the animals feel like neighbors and you can fit them into your everyday life, not an expensive excursion with the pressure to stay all day." —BrownGirlsFly

    (Cafebeanz Company/Dreamstime.com)
  19. "We live in Upstate New York and the Zoo de Granby in Granby, Quebec, is just across the Canadian border. The zoo is clean and large and the animals aren't confined in areas 'just for the public's viewing pleasure.' I had huge issues about animal confinement and this zoo was great." —Diane J. Wulf

    (Mirceax/Dreamstime.com)
  20. "Tiergarten Schönbrunn—the world's oldest zoo at the summer palace in Vienna." —@meghan_says

    (Courtesy Cristian Bortes/Flickr)
  21. "The Memphis Zoo. Their Egyptian-inspired entrance and Chinese panda pavilion were outstanding architecturally and unexpected in this Southern city." —Andrea Morris

    (Malfane/Dreamstime.com)
  22. "Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, Illinois—a  wonderful zoo but needs as much help as it can get because it doesn't always get the funding it deserves. I always donate when I go and will for years to come. When I have children and hopefully grandchildren, I'll take them there like my mom and grandma took me. It will always be my favorite zoo!" —Hannah Elizabeth Heath

    (Farragutful/Wikimedia)
  23. "Miami Metro Zoo—the water park for the kids is a great place to cool off!" —LuAnne Paquin

    (Gilles Malo/Dreamstime.com)
  24. "Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City! They do an awesome event at Christmastime called Zoo Lights. They have animated lights that you can walk around and look at in the evenings in December. You can also view some of the animals, and they have hot chocolate and heat lanterns. It is amazing and fun, plus the fees are very low here." —Amy Warner Hirsbrunner

    (Bobjgalindo/Wikimedia)
  25. "I've been to several zoos in the U.S. and Australia, but I'm partial to Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Michigan. Very clean, not too big, and you can feed the giraffes." —Chris Knight

    (Cody Hough/WikiMedia)
  26. "Berlin Zoo. They have a lot of amazing animals and the Victorian design is beautiful." —Heidi Mitchell

    (Timehacker/Dreamstime.com)
  27. "Akron Zoo. Kid friendly, up close exhibits, great education programs, and a super helpful staff." —@theatrepenguin7

    (Courtesy yvonne n/Flickr)
  28. "San Diego Zoo—Balboa Park. Just simply amazing." —Dawn Jeffery

    (Pj1960/Dreamstime.com)
  29. "Singapore Night Zoo." —Belinda Arge

    (Sam D\'cruz/Dreamstime.com)

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