The best zoos in the world are important places where people get to see animals in their natural environment. These zoos also serve as important conservation centers, where captive populations of rare animals are breed, and then reintroduced to the wild.
Some of these zoos have been in existence for hundreds of years, and continue to thrill visitors today. Zoos have transformed from the days of cages and iron bars; the world’s top zoos offer large enclosures where the animals can live as they would in nature.
These zoos carefully research the species, and allow them to live together as they would in the wild- sometimes developing whole new habitats.
Top 10 Best Zoos In The World
1. Singapore Zoo
The Singapore Zoo is largely accepted to be the best zoo in the world; it has one of the largest collections of animals from all over the world, all kept in meticulously designed confinements that thoroughly mimic their natural environments.
The Singapore Zoo is a 64-acre wildlife park that is designed to blend in with the adjoining Mandai rainforest. The zoo has over 2,800 animals from 300 species of mammals, birds and reptiles. Rather than concrete cages, this zoo uses open air exhibits that are designed to mirror the natural habitats of the animals.
The Singapore Zoo is therefore more of a nature park than an actual zoo. For example; some platforms are elevated so the animals live like they are up in a mountain, while the visitors watch from below, without the animals even noticing their presence at all.
There are also underwater galleries where aquatic life can be viewed from below, as well as glass observatories and even deep moats that separate some dangerous animals from the viewers, while adding to the beauty.
2. San Diego Zoo
The San Diego is another example of man’s genius when it comes to recreating nature. One of the most famous parts of this zoo is the Aquatic Sea-world. This is an impressive display of marine life; a hub for young ocean aficionados and conservationists to witness the great diversity of ocean life. At this aquarium one can take a deeper look into the habitats of fish and invertebrates, and how they interact with one another.
On the land part of the zoo, there is an extensive list of exotic creatures such as Giant Pandas, Koalas, Leopards, Elephants, Chinese Alligators and more. This zoo is an important refuge for some of these rare animals; it is a key player in several conservation efforts to rebuild their populations.
The zoos are broken into sections that mimic diverse natural habitats; visitors can see a rain forest, arctic tundra, grassy plains, and so on. This zoo gives a complete natural experience; one can get to appreciate nature in a more complete sense.
The icing on the cake is the San Diego Zoo’s expansive botanical garden; which has over 700,000 plants. With so much happening in the world in terms of climate change, and habitat destruction, the world can rest easy knowing that all these plants are safe here.
3. Sydney’s Taronga Zoo
Sydney’s Taronga Zoo is an important place of conservation for many of the world’s species. The design and operation of this zoo serves two important purposes; this is a place for people to visit and to appreciate nature, and also a refuge for animals to live, and to be cared for.
Sydney’s Taronga Zoo has a wide array of animals from all over the world. African Elephants, Giraffes, Koalas, Australian Sea-lions, Tasmanian devils and so on. Of course, any zoo in Australia would be incomplete without kangaroos; there are many native species living side by side with exotic species in a bouquet of diversity rarely seen anywhere else in the world.
The Sydney Zoo also serves educational purposes; there are educational talks by zookeepers; they explain some of the animal behaviors, and also explain the conservation status of some of the animals, as well as what steps are being taken to ensure the survival of the species.
4. Tiergarten Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna
Tiergarten Schönbrunn Palace is reputed to be the oldest zoo in the world; it was established in the 17th century by the Hapsburg Dynasty; ruling house of the Kingdom of Austria. This zoo is located on the grounds of what used to be the summer palace of the Hapsburg Dynasty, as a private collection of exotic animals.
This zoo has for a long time been a breeding ground for exotic animals, and has been one of the earliest places of research on animals in captivity, as well as what kinds of animals do well in certain climatic conditions.
The zoo was carefully designed (interestingly so for its age), and has been improved several times over the course of its history. It has both aquatic and terrestrial habitats; and a large cache of animals such as flamingos, pandas, and giraffes.
5. National Zoological Gardens Of South Africa
The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa was established in 1916. It is also called the Pretoria Zoo. This zoo is located on 216 acres of land, with diverse topography; presenting a chance to view the animals in as close to their natural habitats as a controlled enclosure can give.
The zoo has both flat ground, hill-side, and a river. There is a suspension bridge, well maintained walkways, and a cable car to take visitors up the hill where they can see some of the animals whose habitats are up there.
Some of the animals at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa are chimpanzees, various waterbirds and lemurs, smaller primate, marmosets, kangaroos, emus, red pandas. For its sheer diversity, and for its role in ensuring the survival of many threatened species, this is widely considered as one of the best zoos in the world.
6. The Beijing Zoo
The Beijing Zoo was established in 1906 during the late Qing Dynasty. This zoo started as a small collection of animals, but by continuation of the idea upon which it was developed; it has now grown to become one of the most important zoos in the world.
The Beijing zoo sits on 219 acres of land, contains 950 species of animals, and is one of the most important centers for the conservation of animals; especially animals native to China, or Southeast Asia.
The Beijing Zoo is a great place to view and study animals such as the Giant Panda, South China Tiger, Chinese Alligators and Chinese Great Salamanders. In fact; there are few other places in the world that afford one the opportunity to see some some of these animals.
7. London Zoo
The London Zoo was established in 1826 as an animal research facility. It has gradually improved in scale and size over the years; many additions have been made to the zoo, and now in its current state it is a rich bouquet of nature, with animals from all over the world.
The London Zoo has a reptile house, petting zoo, aquarium, and much more. Some of the animals on display in this famous old zoo include the Komodo Dragon, Galapagos Tortoises, Tigers, Gorillas and many birds. The aquarium has an underwater viewing center that offers a great opportunity to see the animals from underneath.
8. The Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo opened to the public in 1899. It started as a modest establishment; but it is now one of the most important zoos in the world; with one of the biggest archives on animal behavior available anywhere on the planet.
The Bronx Zoo is not just big (it houses 6,000 animals on 265 acres of space); this is also a very important center for the conservation of wildlife; many species have been rescued from the brink of extinction; and then sent out into the wild.
The Bronx Zoo is a great place to see the animals in their natural environment, and to watch how they interact with one another. The zoo has several animals including tigers, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and many different bird species.
9. The Berlin Zoo
The Berlin Zoo was established in 1844. It is an important collection of animal species, and one of the most visited zoos in the whole of Europe. The Berlin zoo also holds one of the most complete collections of animals in the world; there are 9,500 animals, representing 1,500 species.
The Berlin zoo also has the largest aquarium in the world; there are more than 250 tanks on display. In this enclosure, animals from all over the world interact in this almost natural environment. This is an important center for animal conservation.
10. Columbus Zoo
Colombus Zoo, in Ohio is a world class display of animal life. This zoo is a refuge for about 793 species, numbering some 9,000 individual animals.
This zoo is actually built more like a park than a Zoo; it also houses thrilling rides, coasters, drops, spin rides and even a water park. It is a great place for a family to enjoy quality time, and also for the kids to become acquainted with animals of different types.
The animals in this zoo come from all over the world, and so it would naturally evoke questions from your kids. Thankfully, zoo workers are on hand to answer these questions.
The best zoos in the world have taken considerable funding to establish; this is perhaps an economic factor that explains why most of them are located in the more affluent countries of the world, where governments are able to adequately fund them, and where the people are able to support the establishments with regular attendance.