We tend to forget just where we are in the food chain due to the fact that we are so far removed from it as human beings. Heading to the zoo can be a great way to remind ourselves that there are creatures out in the world that are powerful, intelligent, beautiful, and downright mesmerizing as well. Though all zoos are interesting, not all zoos are made equally. We decided to pull together 12 of the world’s most impressive and incredible zoos.
Yokohama Zoo – Japan.
Japan takes their zoos very seriously and you can tell with just a glance at the Yokohama Zoo. This establishment is known as ‘Zoorasia’ by locals after getting established back in 1999. With over 100 acres of land and 150 different species of animals, you are able to take in just about everything the world has to offer. The zoo is segmented between 7 different eco focused areas: Tropical Forest, Asian Highland, Japanese Countryside, the Amazon, the African Rainforest and so on. Upon entering this behemoth of a zoo you will be handed a pair of binoculars and told to go wild with your sight seeing.
Berlin Zoo – Berlin, Germany.
This zoo is as beautiful as it is old. The Berlin Zoo was established in 1844 and it is the oldest zoo in all of Germany. There are 9,500 different animals on display that range over 1,500 different species. This is one of the most comprehensive zoos on the planet and one of the most thoroughly visited in all of Europe. You can also feast your eyes on over 250 different aquarium tanks if you get tired of seeing land animals. The architecture alone is worth a visit as it was built to enchant from the ground up.
Welsh Mountain Zoo – Colwyn Bay, North Wales.
Size isn’t everything but it sure doesn’t hurt. The Welsh Mountain Zoo covers 37 hilly acres of land while showcasing pasture after pasture of wonderful guest animals. What we love most about the Welsh Mountain Zoo is the otter showcase which features a river, waterfall, and a host of toys for the otters to gleefully play with. You’ll also definitely want to make your way down to the sea lions exhibit to take in these huge and majestic, if odd, looking creatures.
National Zoological Gardens of South Africa – Gauteng, South Africa.
It’s a hard sell to convince people to go to a zoo while they are in South Africa, of all places, but it is definitely worth checking out. If you don’t want to hit up a real live safari then this is the next best thing. You’ll have 216 acres of land to explore by way of cablecar, golf cart, and hiking trails. You’ll see over 9,000 different animals that span 700+ species. All of the staples of South Africa are on display as well as many of the South African wildlife that you may never have heard of.
Wellington Zoo – New Zealand.
This zoo is nestled in one of the most gorgeous countries on the planet. The Wellington Zoo was first opened back in 1906 and since then it has become a premier destination for tourists and natural citizens alike. The Wellington Zoo is prolific in the world of green energy thanks to its push toward sustainable tech. This zoo is also revered for its humanitarian efforts in treating and taking care of its charges, something that is sadly rare among many of the bigger zoos throughout the world.
San Diego Zoo – San Diego, California.
This list would not be complete without mentioning the San Diego Zoo in North America. The San Diego Zoo is one of the most popular and widely visited zoos on the planet and it reigns supreme easily over many of its United States competitors. With over 3.2 million annual visitors, you would be in great company making your way over for a visit. You’ll get to see over 3,700 different animals with a trio of gigantic pandas headlining the exhibits. Also in the habitats are elephants, tigers, orangutans and more.
Toronto Zoo – Toronto, Ontario.
Toronto has one of the prettiest zoos in all of North America with their Toronto Zoo. This beautiful establishment sits on 710 acres and holds the title of sitting among the world’s largest zoos. you’ll see over 16,000 different animals spanning thousands of different species. The zoo was built to feel natural and this means that enclosures look seamless and cages are hard to find if at all. The scientists working at the zoo are also committed to researching diseases and rescuing injured animals from the wild. You have to spend time checking out the hippos, leopards, and penguins if you are coming in for a visit. Otherwise make sure you get in early so that you can take in as much as possible of this absolutely monolithic creation.
Taronga – Sydney, Australia.
Australia is home to some of the deadliest animals in the world so of course a zoo fits right in. The Taronga Zoo, located in Sydney, has over 4,000 different animals within its walls. You’ll see a ton of native Australian wildlife: kangaroos as well as koalas, and a plethora of other creatures from around the world. We love the chimpanzee exhibit and there is something special about seeing a platypus in the water. We definitely suggest spending the extra money to hop on the Sky Safari for a birds eye view of the action down below.
London Zoo – England.
The London Zoo is, perhaps, the oldest zoo in the world as it was established back in 1828. Don’t think that the zoo has been idle since then, though. Though this isn’t one of the largest zoos out there it is still comprehensive and immaculately maintained. You have 800 different species of animals, a gorgeous aquarium, and one of the oldest reptile houses in all of Europe. We love the Victorian decor and the simple elegance of the entire establishment is simply wonderful.
Whipsnade Zoo – Whipsnade, England.
600 acres of land and thousands of animals make the Whipsnade Zoo a must visit if you are ever in town. If you want to see the entirety of the park then you need to make plans to drive your car around or take some of the guided tour options that are available on hand. While the zoo mandates excessive traveling between exhibits we find that this is a welcome trade off: enclosures are huge, there aren’t many cages, and there is more bang for your buck. The Whipsnade Zoo also acts as a house for rescued creatures and those that need a long and relaxing retirement.
Singapore Zoo – Singapore.
The Singapore Zoo has to get consideration as one of the most beautiful places to visit in all of Asia. The owners of this establishment have done everything they can to make the zoo feel like a natural part of the world. The design of the zoo is revolutionary as it employs a completely ‘cage free’ approach to handling the animals. With careful plans laid out, the zoo was able to be constructed as one seamless place of nature which gives the animals the most comfort possible. We also love many of the hands on activities that you can take part in while you are there. We definitely suggest getting in early to take in the tigers and orangutans. We hear that the ‘Breakfast with Orangutans’ show is something that you just have to make time for.
Smithsonian National Zoological Park – Washington, D.C., USA.
Now we head to the capital of the United States to take a peak at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. This wonderful zoo headlines our list thanks to, perhaps, the most comprehensive collection of animals in the world. The Smithsonian has 2,000 animals in its quarters spanning 400 different species. What makes this group of animals so special are the fact that over a quarter of them are considered endangered: Asian Elephants, African Lions, Sumatran Tigers and more. Oh, and the zoo is completely free to enter. While this isn’t the biggest zoo on our list, the Smithsonian’s commitment to providing free education to anyone who passes through its doors makes it the premier option in our minds.