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Which are the World’s Biggest Zoos? Here’s All You Need to Know

In the realm of biodiversity conservation, education, and recreation, few institutions hold as profound a significance as the world’s largest zoological parks. These expansive sanctuaries stand as bastions of wildlife preservation and enlightenment, offering visitors a captivating journey through the wonders of the natural world.

Spanning vast acres of meticulously designed landscapes and habitats, these zoos serve as invaluable reservoirs of biological diversity, housing a myriad of species from every corner of the globe. Their commitment to the welfare and conservation of wildlife underscores their pivotal role in fostering awareness and appreciation for Earth’s rich tapestry of life.

Among these behemoths of conservation, several stand out for their sheer scale, scope, and dedication to the noble cause of wildlife preservation.

Curious about the world’s largest and most renowned zoos? Animal lovers rejoice as we explore these and more in this educational post.

Get Ready To Be Amazed Amid Nature & Wildlife With A Visit To The Biggest Zoo In The World And More.

The title of the largest zoo in the world is often contested due to variations in criteria such as land area, number of species, and visitor numbers, however, one of the largest and most well-known zoos is the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in California, USA. It spans over 1,800 acres (730 hectares) and is home to over 2,600 animals representing more than 300 species.

Additionally, the Bronx Zoo in New York City, USA, is also renowned for its vast size and diverse collection, making it one of the largest metropolitan zoos in the world.

From the Berlin Zoological Garden to Henry Doorly Zoo and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, here are some of the most impressive and most famous zoos in the world:

1 – San Diego Zoo – The World’s Largest & Most Renowned Zoo

Boasting an expansive 1,800-acre landscape, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is cited as the world’s largest zoo and offers visitors an immersive safari experience within meticulously designed habitats that closely emulate the natural environments of its resident species.

San Diego Zoo internationally renowned for its dedication to wildlife conservation, notably through successful breeding programs aimed at preserving species such as the California condor and the southern white rhinoceros. Make sure to schedule it in on your California road trip.

2 – Bronx Zoo – The World’s Biggest Metropolitan Zoo

As one of the largest metropolitan zoos in the world, the Bronx Zoo is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. With over 6,000 animals representing over 600 species, the Bronx Zoo boasts diverse exhibits ranging from the Congo Gorilla Forest to the Himalayan Highlands.

The Bronx Zoo is also home to the Wild Asia monorail.

3 – Beijing Zoo – Largest Animal Collection In China

Situated in the heart of China’s capital, the Beijing Zoo is not only one of the oldest zoos in the country (Beijing Zoo Founded in in 1906), but also one of the largest.

Its star attraction is the giant pandas exhibit where visitors can observe these beloved creatures in a habitat designed to resemble their natural bamboo forest environment.

Additionally, the zoo is home to a wide variety of other exotic animals, including rare species like the Chinese alligator and South China tiger.

4 – Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – A Non-Profit Zoo

Spread across 580 acres, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is celebrated for its innovative exhibits and conservation endeavours. It houses over 10,000 animals representing nearly 600 species, including endangered species like the manatee and the African elephant.

Visitors can also enjoy attractions like the Heart of Africa region, featuring immersive experiences with animals native to the continent. Find this non profit zoo located in Ohio.

5 – Toronto Zoo – Canada’s Largest Zoo

Covering 710 acres, the Toronto Zoo is Canada’s largest zoo and a leading conservation organization, as well as one of the biggest zoos in the world. It is home to over 5,000 animals divided into seven geographic regions, and represents over 460 species, including rare and endangered species like the Amur tiger and the black-footed ferret.

With its immersive exhibits, the Toronto Zoo offers visitors a truly unforgettable experience.

6 – Moscow Zoo – One of Russia’s Oldest Zoos

The Moscow Zoo is one of Russia’s oldest and most prominent zoological institutions, spanning approximately 53 acres in the heart of Moscow.

With a rich history and diverse collection of wild animals from around the world, Moscow zoo offers visitors a captivating journey through various habitats, including the Russian taiga and the African savanna.

Home to thousands of animals, including Amur tigers, polar bears, and red pandas, Moscow Zoo remains a beloved destination for wildlife enthusiasts and tourists alike, with its commitment to wildlife conservation and education. And when did Moscow Zoo open history fans? It was actually established in 1864!

7 – Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium – World’s Largest Indoor Desert

Located in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is renowned for its world-class exhibits and innovative attractions.

One of the most notable features of the Henry Doorly Zoo is that it’s home to the world’s largest indoor desert, housed within the Lied Jungle exhibit, and home to both the world’s largest glazed geodesic dome and the world’s largest indoor swamp.

Spanning over 1.5 acres, Henry Doorly Zoo’s immersive environment transports visitors to the arid landscapes of the desert, offering a captivating glimpse into the unique ecosystems inhabited by species like dromedary camels and fennec foxes.

8 – Berlin Zoological Garden – Germany’s Oldest Zoo

The Berlin Zoological Garden opened in 1844 and holds distinction as Germany’s oldest zoo and remains a cultural landmark in the heart of Berlin. Spanning approximately 84 acres, the zoo is home to over 20,000 animals representing around 1,300 species.

Visitors can explore diverse habitats, including the popular Panda Garden, Elephant Enclosure, and Hippo House, while learning about the importance of wildlife conservation.

9 – Melbourne Zoo — Melbourne, Australia

Established in 1862, the Melbourne Zoo is one of Australia’s largest and most beloved zoological parks, covering a vast area in the vibrant city of Melbourne.

Home to a diverse collection of wildlife from Australia and around the world, the zoo offers immersive exhibits such as the Trail of the Elephants, Gorilla Rainforest, and Orangutan Sanctuary.

London Zoo in Victorian Times

10 – London Zoo – World’s Oldest Scientific Zoo

Founded in 1828, the London Zoo holds the distinction of being the world’s oldest scientific zoo and remains a leading institution in zoological research and conservation.

Situated in the heart of London, England, the zoo covers approximately 36 acres and is home to over 20,000 animals representing nearly 700 species.

Best of the Rest

The following zoos provide a diverse offering of marine animals and land animals from African elephants, African lions, a baboon reserve, rare animals, the world’s largest cat complex, animals in their natural habitat, snow leopards, a giant panda, a polar bear, a sea lion exhibit and more.

Although not necessarily renowned as being the world’s largest zoos, they’re worthy of note for any animal lover out there.

Vienna Zoo – The World’s Oldest

It might not be the first zoo there was — the oldest known zoological collection was revealed during excavations at Hierakonpolis, Egypt in 2009, of a menagerie dating back to 3500 BCE — but history sure meets the wild at Vienna’s iconic zoo, proudly holding the title of the world’s oldest that survives to today.

With roots tracing back to 1752, this enchanting sanctuary is not merely a haven for exotic creatures, but a living testament to centuries of conservation and fascination.

Wander through the time-honored gates and immerse yourself in a timeless journey, where every step unveils a story of resilience, evolution, and the enduring bond between humans and the animal kingdom.

North Carolina Zoo – For A Wildlife Experience

The North Carolina Zoo, located in Asheboro, North Carolina, USA, is actually one of the largest zoos in the world by land area. NC zoo is home to over 1,800 animals representing more than 250 species, including African elephants, gorillas, polar bears, lions, giraffes, and red wolves, among others.

It also features a baboon reserve as part of its African region exhibit. As well as being one of the biggest zoos in the world, this popular attraction is designed to resemble the natural habitat of African wildlife, including savannah grasslands and rocky outcroppings, providing visitors with an immersive experience of observing baboons in a setting closely resembling their naturalistic habitats.

Chester Zoo – Catch The Rarest Animals

It might not be one of the biggest zoos, but sat among the green landscapes of Chester, England, are promises of encounters with the world’s rarest and most captivating creatures. A sanctuary for biodiversity and conservation, this remarkable zoological haven invites visitors to embark on an extraordinary journey of discovery.

Through exhibits, insightful educational programs, and groundbreaking research endeavors, Chester Zoo not only preserves endangered species but also fosters a profound connection to the marvels of the natural world, leaving an indelible mark on every animal lover’s heart.

Zoological Society of London (ZSL) London Zoo – Home of Snow Leopards

The Land of the Lions is one of the award winning exhibitions at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) London Zoo, houses snow leopards who stand as ethereal guardians of the Himalayan foothills, captivating visitors with their elusive beauty and silent grace.

With their thick fur coats adorned in distinctive rosettes, these enigmatic predators are perfectly adapted to the harsh mountain landscapes they call home.

Through the immersive habitats of the Land of the Lions exhibit, visitors are transported to the remote regions where snow leopards roam, surrounded by rocky outcrops and rugged terrain reminiscent of their natural habitat.

Hogle Zoo – Animals From Diverse Ecosystems

At Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, Utah, visitors can encounter a diverse array of animals from various ecosystems around the world, this esteemed zoological institution offers visitors a rare opportunity to witness the wonders of the natural world firsthand.

Some of the notable animals you can find at Hogle Zoo include: Reptiles and Amphibians, Polar Bears, Red Pandas, African Lions and Giraffes.

Brookfield Zoo – For The Love Of Dolphins

Brookfield Zoo, located in Brookfield, Illinois, USA, is renowned for its commitment to wildlife conservation and education. One of the highlights of the zoo is its beloved Dolphin Encounter exhibit, where visitors can experience the wonder of these intelligent marine mammals up close.

Another highlight of one of this world famous zoo is its separate aquarium called the ‘Seven Seas’. Inside the aquarium, visitors can encounter a variety of aquatic species, including colorful tropical fish, sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, sea turtles, sea lions and more.

National Zoological Park, Delhi – A Powerhouse Of Endangered Animals

Renowned for its commitment to safeguarding endangered species, this esteemed zoological institution serves as a powerhouse of conservation endeavours, housing a diverse array of rare and endangered animals from India and around the world.

Spanning over 176 acres of lush greenery, unlike many zoos, the park provides a sanctuary for species on the brink of extinction, offering them a safe haven to thrive and propagate.

Visitors to the National Zoological Park are treated to a mesmerizing journey through various ecosystems, from botanical gardens, a jungle world to arid deserts, where they can encounter different species such as the Bengal tiger, Indian rhinoceros, Asiatic lion, and red panda, among others.

Indira Gandhi Zoological Park – Prominent Zoological Park & wildlife Conservation Center

Named after former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, the zoo is spread over an area of approximately 625 acres, making it one of the largest zoos in India.

Established in 1977, the park is home to a diverse collection of animal species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, representing both indigenous and exotic species.

Tips For Visiting Zoos

Visiting a zoo and national zoological gardens can be an enriching and memorable experience, providing opportunities to connect with wildlife and learn about conservation endeavours.

To make the most of your visit, consider the following tips:

Plan Ahead

Before your visit, check the zoo’s website for information on hours of operation, ticket prices, and special events.

Consider purchasing tickets online in advance to avoid long lines at the entrance.

Dress Comfortably

Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy walking shoes suitable for exploring the biggest zoos in the world.

Consider bringing a hat, sunscreen, and a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Map Out Your Route

Upon arrival, pick up a map of the zoo and plan out your route to ensure you don’t miss any must-see exhibits or animal feedings.

Consider starting with the species housed farthest from the entrance to avoid crowds.

Respect Animal Welfare

While observing the different species at the best zoos in the world, remember to respect their space and avoid tapping on glass enclosures or making loud noises that may cause stress.

Observe any signage or guidelines provided by zoo staff regarding animal interactions.

Take Your Time

Don’t rush through the zoological park—take your time to observe the animals and read informational signs to learn about their habitats, behaviors, and conservation status.

Consider attending keeper talks or animal feedings to learn more from zoo staff.

Dispose of Waste Properly

Help keep the zoo clean by disposing of trash in designated receptacles. Consider bringing reusable containers for snacks and drinks to minimize waste.

Support Conservation Efforts

Many zoos have conservation programs aimed at protecting endangered species and their habitats.

Consider making a donation or purchasing merchandise from the zoo’s gift shop to support these efforts.

Frequently Asked Questions About World’s Largest Zoos

Where is the largest zoo in the world?

The largest zoo in the world is the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, located in San Diego, California, USA. Sprawling over 1,800 acres of land, San Diego Zoo offers visitors a unique safari-style experience, allowing them to observe a diverse array of animal species roaming in spacious, naturalistic habitats.

What’s the most Popular Paid Attendance attraction at any zoo?

The most paid attendance attraction at any zoo is typically the giant pandas exhibit. Giant pandas are iconic and beloved animals, drawing large crowds of visitors eager to catch a glimpse of these charismatic creatures.

The biggest zoos in the world have invested in giant pandas to exhibit as a major drawcard, with visitors often willing to pay additional fees or endure long wait times for the opportunity to see pandas up close.

What is the number 1 rated zoo in the world?

There isn’t a universally recognized “number 1” rated zoo in the world, as rankings can vary depending on different criteria, however, some zoos frequently mentioned among the top-ranked zoos globally include San Diego Zoo, Toronto Zoo, Berlin Zoological Garden, Moscow Zoo, Columbus Zoo, Henry Doorly Zoo, and Beijing Zoo.

Which zoo has the most visitors?

The zoo with the highest annual visitor attendance is generally considered to be the San Diego Zoo located in San Diego, California, USA. It consistently ranks among the most visited zoos in the world, drawing millions of visitors each year.

Is it morally acceptable to visit zoos?

The question of whether visiting zoos is morally acceptable is complex and can depend on individual perspectives, as well as the specific circumstances and practices of the zoo in question.

The world’s oldest zoos and largest zoos serve as important educational tools, providing opportunities for public learning about wildlife and conservation, fostering appreciation for biodiversity, and encouraging conservation efforts. However, concerns regarding animal welfare, including confinement and stress, have been raised.

Ethical zoos prioritize animal well-being through enriching environments and conservation programs. Additionally, some zoos participate in breeding programs for declining species, aiding in species survival efforts.

Which is the world’s most Ethical zoo?

Determining the world’s most ethical zoo is subjective and can depend on various factors such as animal welfare standards, conservation efforts, educational programs, and community engagement.

Several of the largest zoos in the world are recognized for their ethical practices and commitment to wildlife welfare and conservation. Some notable examples include: Henry Doorly Zoo (Nebraska, USA), Arignar Anna Zoological Park (Tamil Nadu, India), Columbus Zoo (Ohio,USA), Beijing Zoo (Beijing), and Nandankanan Zoological Park (Odisha, India).

The Largest Zoos and Best Zoos in the World – A Conclusion

In conclusion, exploring the largest zoos and best zoos in the world offers an incredible journey into the wonders of the natural world.

From the sprawling landscapes of San Diego Zoo Safari Park to the immersive habitats of Singapore Zoo, each zoo provides a unique opportunity to connect with wildlife, learn about conservation efforts, and inspire a love for animals and their habitats.

Whether you’re marveling at lions or discovering diverse ecosystems, there’s something magical about witnessing the beauty and diversity of our planet’s animal kingdom up close.

So, pack your sense of wonder and embark on an unforgettable adventure at the zoos in the world, where every visit promises new discoveries and cherished memories that will last a lifetime.