Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Travel Imformation: Best Zoos in the USA

1. San Diego Zoo - San Diego, CA
The world-famous San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, San Diego, California is one of the largest, most progressive zoos in the world with over 4,000 animals of more than 800 species. Exhibits are often designed around a particular habitat. The same exhibit features many different animals that can be found side-by-side in the wild, along with their native horticulture. Exhibits range from an African rain forest to the Arctic taiga and tundra in the summertime. Some of the largest free-flight aviaries in existence are here. Many exhibits are "natural" with invisible wires and darkened blinds to view birds, and pools and open-air moats for large mammals.

2. Disney's Animal Kingdom - Orlando, FL
Animal Kingdom's 500 acres are home to some 1700 animals representing 250 different species throughout the park. A ride on the Kilimanjaro Safari will give you a chance to see many of them as they take you through the African Savannah. Animals and nature are the stars at this park, and its icon is the 14-story Tree of Life carved with images of over 300 different animals. Grown-ups tend to stare at the engineered tree in awe of the work that went into it. Kids automatically try to scramble up to one of the animals or climb around the thick roots at the tree's base.

3. San Diego Wild Animal Park - San Diego, CA
The San Diego Wild Animal Park is one of the largest tourist attractions in Southern California. The Park houses a fabulous array of wild and endangered animals including species from the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and Australia. The park is in a semi-arid environment, based around Nairobi village in Kenya, and one of its most notable features is the large Wgasa Railway which explores 700 acres worth of free range exhibits. These free-range enclosures house such animals as cheetahs, antelopes, lions, giraffes, okapis, elephants, zebras, Przewalski's horses, rhinos, and bonobos. The park is also noted for its California condor breeding program, possibly the most successful program in the country, as well as an amazing collection of rare hornbills.

4. Maryland Zoo - Baltimore, MD
The Baltimore Zoo was created by act of the Maryland state legislature on April 7, 1876. Its name was changed to The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore in 2004. It is the third oldest zoo in the country, behind Philadelphia (1873) and Cincinnati (1874). It actually had its beginnings as early as 1862, when the first of many citizens gave animals to Druid Hill Park for public display. Today the 160-plus acre zoo property is owned by the City of Baltimore and leased to the State of Maryland. The Maryland Zoological Society, established in 1967, operates the Zoo under a lease agreement with the state. The Zoological Society assumed full management of the Zoo in 1984. Currently the Zoo’s animal collection encompasses more than 1,500 birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles, representing nearly 200 species. Animals are displayed in natural settings replicating their native habitats.

5. Bronx Zoo - New York, NY
The Bronx Zoo is the flagship of the largest network of metropolitan zoos in the country. With award-winning, cutting-edge exhibits featuring over 4,000 animals, there is no other zoo in the world that offers the diversity, superb viewing, and world-renowned expertise that assures a rewarding experience and the knowledge that visitors can make a difference in the world around them. Whether you're nose-to-nose with Western lowland gorillas in our famous Congo Gorilla Forest , spotting snow leopards in our naturalistic Himalayan Highlands Habitat, or experiencing almost an acre of an indoor Asian rain forest, you're always within roaring distance of the world's most amazing wildlife.

6. Columbus Zoo - Ohio
The Columbus Zoo is home to over 5,000 animals representing over 700 species and sees over 1.8 million visitors annually. The animal exhibits are divided into regions of the world, with the zoo currently operating eight such regions. In addition the zoo owns an 18-hole golf course, known as Safari Golf Club, Zoombezi Bay, and Jungle Jack's Landing. Both are located just south of the zoo. In total, the zoo owns 580 acres of land, with just under half dedicated to the zoo itself.

7. San Antonio Zoo
- The 56-acre zoo has a collection of over 3,500 animals representing 750 species. The San Antonio Zoo opened two of the first cageless exhibits in America in November 1929 that offered visitors views of the animals not available in caged exhibits.The zoo's bird collection is now one of the world's largest.

8. Henry Doorly Zoo - Omaha, Nebraska - This zoo has the Lied Jungle which opened on April 4, 1992 at a cost of $15 million. It is the largest indoor rainforest in the world; it occupies an 80 foot tall building that spans 1.5 acres

9. Phoenix Zoo - The Phoenix Zoo garnered worldwide attention for one of its animals, an Asian Elephant named Ruby. Ruby came to the zoo in 1973, just months after being born in Thailand. After noticing Ruby doodling in the sand with sticks, her keeper decided to give her a brush and paint. Ruby quickly became famous for her paintings, whose sales raised over US$200,000 for the zoo. Art collectors all over the world joined 18-month waiting lists and paid hundreds of dollars for original prints.

10. St. Louis Zoo - It is recognized as a leading zoo in animal management, research, conservation, and education. Admission is free, although there are fees for some attractions. One special feature is the Zooline Railroad, a small passenger train that encircles the zoo, stopping at the more popular attractions.

Honorable Mention
Audubon Zoo - New Orleans LA
One of the country’s top-ranked zoos, Audubon Zoo offers an exotic mix of animals from around the globe, engaging natural habitats, lush gardens and resting spots, the mystical Louisiana swamp and ‘hands-on’ animal encounters. With innovative natural habitat exhibits and an animal collection ranging from the unique white alligators to the extraordinary white tigers, Audubon Zoo has become one of the Gulf South’s favorite family gathering spots.

Minnesota Zoo - Apple Valley, MN -
This zoo was built in a suburbanizing rural area and thus had more area to house exhibits, and was one of the first to organize its animals by their living environment as opposed to organizing animals according to species. Exhibits are arrayed in five themed areas, including three themed walking trails ranging from one to two miles in length.

Cincinnati Zoo - The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is the second-oldest zoo in the United States and is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. It opened in 1875: just 14 months after the Philadelphia Zoo on July 1, 1874. The Reptile House is the oldest zoo building in America, dating from 1875. Nicknamed "The Sexiest Zoo in America" it is world renowned for its breeding programs, especially for cheetahs. A bonobo born at the zoo in December 2003 raises the U.S. zoo population of our rapidly-disappearing closest cousin to 60, of which seven are in Cincinnati.

The 10 Best Zoos for Kids by Child Magazine - Link
1. Lowry Park Zoo
2. San Diego Zoo
3. Oklahoma City Zoological Park and Botanical Garden
4. Brookfield Zoo
5. Phoenix Zoo
6. Cincinnati Zoo &Botanical Garden
7. Bronx Zoo
8. Toledo Zoo
9. Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
10. Columbus Zoo

Listing of American Zoos

Washington DC
National Zoo

Blank Park Zoo, Des Moines


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