VACATION IDEAS

Adorable Zoo Animals You MUST See!

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. Plus, more adorable zoo animals you won't want to miss!

  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)
  30. The two silvery langurs born at the Santa Ana Zoo are actually half siblings born three weeks apart (they share a father, sly-fox Oliver).

    (Courtesy Santa Ana Zoo)
  31. Cooper the red brocket deer at the Phoenix Zoo has some issues with his social skills: He is, just like the rest of his species, extremely shy.

    (Courtesy Phoenix Zoo)
  32. The Phoenix Zoo's Amelia the gerenuk is known for her joyous pronking—jumping high into the air by lifting all fours off the ground simultaneously.

    (Courtesy Phoenix Zoo)
  33. The stork delivered to a couple of its own when a pair of female chicks hatched at the Phoenix Zoo back in 2012.

    (Courtesy Phoenix Zoo)
  34. Maggie the giraffe was 80 pounds and 72 inches tall when she was born at the Oakland Zoo on January 12, 2012.

    (Courtesy Oakland Zoo)
  35. The zookeepers at the Denver Zoo named this baby De Brazza's monkey Kiazi, which means potato in Swahili.

    (Courtesy Denver Zoo)
  36. The Sulawesi Forest Turtle is considered critically endangered, and this baby born in 2012 at the Denver Zoo was the first successful hatching in an Association of Zoos and Aquariums zoo.

    (Courtesy Denver Zoo)
  37. It may look like a harmless little wriggler now, but this cantil viper at the Denver Zoo will eventually eat enough pinky mice to grow into a sneaky, venomous two-foot-long snake that only a mother could love.

    (Courtesy Denver Zoo)
  38. Guam rails are considered extinct in the wild, and this chick (one of two at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C.) brings the total world population of the flightless birds to 162.

    (Courtesy The National Zoo)
  39. Omana the kiwi is the sixth of its kind at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

    (Courtesy The National Zoo)
  40. Mom Boo and dad Abner welcomed this hairy little pup at Melbourne, Florida's Brevard Zoo, and have yet to let go of their little one.

    (Courtesy Brevard Zoo)
  41. Cofi's name in Swahili means “born on Friday” (which she was) and her arrival at Tampa's Busch Gardens brings the park’s reticulated giraffe population to 19.

    (Courtesy Busch Gardens)
  42. What’s furry, striped, and about the height of an iPhone? An emu chick, of course. This is one of two chicks born at Tampa's Busch Gardens in February 2012.

    (Courtesy Busch Gardens)
  43. Anala the Indian rhino could reach a whopping 6,000 pounds when she is fully grown.

    (Courtesy Miami Zoo)
  44. This baby golden lion Tamarin weighed only around two ounces when it was born at Zoo Atlanta.

    (Courtesy Zoo Atlanta)
  45. With a snout like a pig’s, ears like a donkey’s, and a tongue like an anteater’s, this strange little wrinkly aardvark calf has an interesting life of insect-devouring and daytime-burrowing ahead of it at Illinois' Brookfield Zoo.

    (Courtesy of Brookfield Zoo)
  46. The fuzzy new crested wood partridges at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo are growing quickly thanks to steady diet of insects gathered by Mom and Dad.

    (Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo)
  47. Mom Naya and dad Mattie became proud parents to four male and three females—the first dingoes to be born at the Fort Wayne Zoo since 1988.

    (Courtesy Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo)
  48. Dingo litters usually only include babies that all have the same coloration, but this group at the Fort Wayne Zoo included three ginger-colored pups, two cream-colored pups, and two black-and-tan pups.

    (Courtesy Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo)
  49. Klipspringers, like this one born at Indiana's Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden, can easily navigate rocky terrain—and are appropriately named with the Afrikaan word for “rock jumper.”

    (Courtesy Mesker Park Zoo)
  50. When fully grown, this klipspringer will likely weigh around 40 pounds and stand about 22 inches tall.

    (Courtesy Mesker Park Zoo)
  51. The parents of this Black Goeldi’s monkey, born at the Lee Richardson Zoo in Kansas, were set up through an "online dating service" arranged by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

    (Courtesy Lee Richardson Zoo)
  52. This female bactrain camel was born at the Lee Richardson Zoo in Kansas weighing 121 pounds and standing five feet tall. She has been described by her keeper as "strong and feisty."

    (Courtesy Lee Richardson Zoo)
  53. Born to parents Conan and Samantha Teapot (aka “The Teapots”), this African penguin chick is one of 55 of its kind at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

    (Courtesy Baltimore Zoo)
  54. Tundra the mountain bongo was born at the St. Louis Zoo as part of a breeding program for the antelope subspecies.

    (Courtesy St. Louis Zoo)
  55. Adding to the collection of bantengs named after carmakers, Studebaker arrived to mom Bentley and dad Knox at the St. Louis Zoo in January of 2012.

    (Courtesy St. Louis Zoo)
  56. There has been a penguin baby boom at Syracuse's Rosamond Gifford Zoo—six Humboldt's penguin chicks hatched between January and April of 2012.

    (Courtesy Rosamond Gifford Zoo)
  57. Ty was born in January 2012 at Syracuse's Rosamand Gifford Zoo and is a patas monkey, known as the fastest primates, reaching speeds upwards of 30 mph.

    (Courtesy Rosamond Gifford Zoo)
  58. Ebi the chimp has been enjoying lots of mother-daughter bonding time with mom Tammy since she was born in 2012 at the North Carolina Zoo.

    (Courtesy North Carolina Zoo)
  59. This is one of four hedgehogs born at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in February 2012. The animals are born hairless and blind, but their prickly coat comes in about 36 hours after birth.

    (Courtesy Cincinnati Zoo)
  60. This baby boy is the first gorilla born at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium since 2001.

    (Courtesy Pittsburgh Zoo)
  61. This baby squirrel monkey at the Virginia Zoo is one of the shy, skittish creatures native to Central American rainforests that have, proportionately, the largest brain of all primates.

    (Courtesy Virginia Zoo)
  62. Decidedly less warm and fuzzy, this slithery rio cauca caecilian was the first of its kind born at the Virginia Zoo.

    (Courtesy Virginia Zoo)
  63. The brother and sister clouded leopards were born at Tacoma's Point Defiance Zoo, one of only three zoos in the country that breed the Southeast Asian cats.

    (Courtesy Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium)
  64. Alpacas are native to snowy, mountainous regions of South America—which makes them perfectly suited to deal with the wintery weather at Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin.

    (Courtesy Henry Vilas Zoo)
  65. A new Gentoo penguin—native to Antarctic islands and known for its supremely quick swimming abilities (up to 22 miles an hour!)—hatched at the Milwaukee Zoo in 2012 to parents Olive and Felix.

    (Courtesy Milwaukee Zoo)
  66. Aurora the Bornean Orangutan, Houston Zoo. Baby orangutans cling to their mothers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Since baby Aurora was rejected by her mom after birth in 2011, 50 zoo employees and volunteers took turns holding her round the clock.

    (Courtesy Houston Zoo)

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