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Whose zoos?

22 Jul 2008  Great experiences with animals all over the country
3.5 of 5 stars based on 4 votes

My wife and I love to visit zoos around the country, and we have seen several great ones, both large and small. We still have several left on our list to hit, so if you don't see a favorite here, it's because we haven't made it there yet. Let me know what we're missing that we should catch!

  • 1. Henry Doorly Zoo
    Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, Nebraska

    This is one of the best zoos we've ever visited, and we did it on a whim as we drove through Omaha and were looking for a brief stop. The Desert Dome, Kingdoms of the Night, and the Jungle are in particular among the best zoo exhibits we have ever visited complete with realistic settings with native plants and displays showing predator/prey relationships.

  • 2. Audubon Zoo
    Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, Louisiana

    We haven't visited this zoo since the Hurricane in 2004, but we were truly impressed by this zoo including many exquisite animals including white tigers, komodo dragons, and white alligators. While it has a great collection of foreign animals, it does a great job showing the unique fauna of the Louisiana swamps.

  • 3. Brookfield Zoo
    Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield, Illinois

    As a Chicagoan, I am always proud of our great zoos, and Brookfield is no exception. Particularly notable at Brookfield is the Tropic World which shows Asian, South American, and African tropical animals in a huge exhibit which you look down into and its newer exhibits of Africa with richly landscaped settings. While parts of the zoo maintain old traditional concrete zoo exhibits, much of it is working on innovative new designs which are constantly be added to.

  • 4. Memphis Zoo
    Memphis Zoo, Memphis, Tennessee

    Aside for its giant pandas, this zoo does not have any amazingly unique animals you will not see elsewhere, it does a great job presenting the animals in a manner that allows them to have the privacy they need but also the visibilty that visitors want.

  • 5. Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre
    Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, British Columbia

    While not technically a zoo, this aquarium was the finest I've visited and included more than just a couple of fish. Its displays of marine mammals is outstanding, including primarily animals living off the coast of British Columbia. The displays of various marine life inside is equally impressive and well supported.

  • 6. St. Louis Zoo
    St. Louis Zoo, Saint Louis, Missouri

    Located in the middle of Forest Park, this zoo is part of one of America's great parks. This zoo is a sprawling zoo which includes the typical animals all presented in large exhibits in thematic placements. While not anything particularly unique, it does a great job sharing a wide variety of well kept animals.

  • 7. Lincoln Park Zoo
    Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, Illinois

    Located in one of the most beautiful parks in America on the shores of Lake Michigan just beyond the Magnificent Mile, Lincoln Park Zoo is a wonderful oasis in the big city. It is renowned for its wonderful treatment of its great apes, an exhibit which has just been updated and expanded. It makes it worth visiting just to see this. While there, make sure to check out the wonderful conservatory right next door or take a walk along the beach across Lakeshore Dr.

  • 8. Woodland Park Zoo
    Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, Washington

    This zoo is notable not so much for the animals which it includes, but rather its presentation of them. This is perhaps the most beautiful zoo I have ever visited and the efforts put in to provide not only exhibits but rather environments in which their animals live is to be applauded.

  • 9. Milwaukee County Zoo
    Milwaukee County Zoo, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    Milwaukee is not a tremendously large zoo, but it is very well presented. It has a nice variety of animals and has a slower pace and less busy feeling from many other zoos we have visited.

  • 10. National Zoological Park
    National Zoological Park, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    For all of the hype about the National Zoo, it is really quite a let down. They are notable for having Chinese loaned pandas, but they are not presented well for viewing and are much overemphasized. The zoo is very spread out and requires more effort than it is worth to see its average collection of animals.

  • 11. Alaska Zoo
    Alaska Zoo, Anchorage, Alaska

    The Alaska Zoo provides a great opportunity to see some of the wildlife that you might have otherwise missed as you toured Alaska. Save for a small collection of non-native animals including Amur tigers and Tibetan yak, the broad majority of the animals live within the state and are shown in large exhibits with native fauna as the animals might be seen in the wild, save without barriers.

  • 12. Panaewa Rainforest Zoo
    Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens, Hilo, Island of Hawaii

    It was interesting being able to see the world's rainforest animals presented in a rainforest presentation. While not a must stop in Hawaii, it was definitely a pleasant hour stop on our circumferal drive around the Big Island.

  • 13. Miller Park Zoo
    http://www.cityblm.org/department.asp?dep_id=3038&menuid=2801

    My wife and I attended college in Bloomington-Normal, and this was our first zoo together. It is a strikingly impressive zoo for such a small town. Its wallaby walk allows you to walk through the exhibit of Australian animals and its rehab area, at least years ago, included a tiger. It was unique to sit in small town America and hear the large cats roaring away at dusk.