Best Zoos in the World
If you’re a fan of seeing wild animals, you may be interested in going to the best zoos in the world. But what makes a zoo one of the best in the world? Is it the size of the zoo? Is it the variety of the animals? Is there more than these things to consider? Well, in conjunction with World Wildlife Day on 3 March, we’re going to take a look at some of the best zoos in the world by a few different categories.
Largest Walk-Through Zoo—North Carolina Zoo; North Carolina, United States
North Carolina Zoo boasts a whopping 2,600 wooded acres to its size, with 500 developed acres, making it the world’s largest walk-through zoo in the Guinness World Records. This would be among the best zoos for anyone who likes walking through big open spaces. With more than 1,800 animals from more than 250 species, there is plenty to see throughout the entire day. North Carolina Zoo is split into multiple sections: Africa, North America, Desert, and a free-flight Aviary. A new region, Asia, is currently in development and scheduled to open in 2023. Don’t be intimidated by its sheer size, however, as you can board their Zoofari tour with the purchase of an additional ticket. Zoofari is where you get on board a specially outfitted open-air vehicle that brings you around the 40-acre Watani Grasslands as you will be introduced to nearly 100 animals from nine different species.
For more information about North Carolina Zoo, you can visit their website here.
Largest Open-Range Zoo—Monarto Safari Park; Monarto, South Australia
If you thought North Carolina Zoo’s 2,600 acres is big, wait till you visit Monarto Safari Park, formerly known as Monarto Zoo. Monarto Safari Park is a 3,700-acre open-range zoo, beating the size of North Carolina Zoo by more than 1,000 acres, hence earning it the title of Largest Open-Range Zoo in the Guinness World Records. What’s the difference between a walk-through zoo and an open-range zoo? In a walk-through zoo, there are paths built for visitors to travel on foot, whereas at an open-range zoo, there are no walking paths, and visitors would have to travel in a vehicle like an SUV; in Monarto’s case, it’s a bus. Although Monarto’s 500 animals from 50 species is a fair bit smaller than North Carolina Zoo, the safari park offers a completely different experience altogether, where you can come literally face to face with rhinos and lions. For those less inclined towards walking, Monarto Safari Park would be one of the best zoos to explore.
For more information about Monarto Safari Park, head over to their website here.
Largest Zoo by Species—Berlin Zoological Garden; Berlin, Germany
At 86.5 acres, Berlin Zoo is relatively small in space compared to the two aforementioned giants, but it still holds the Guinness World Record for Largest Zoo by Species, thanks to its more than 20,200 animals from across 1,380 species, beating North Carolina Zoo by more than five times over. In addition to that, it is also the most visited zoo in all of Europe, with over 3 million visitors from all over the world each year. Berlin Zoo was also globally known in the past due to some of its animals, such as Knut the polar bear who was born in captivity at the zoo in 2006, along with Bao Bao, a giant panda who was given to Germany by China in 1980 that was the oldest known panda in zoos up until 2012. In 2017, a pair of giant pandas named Jiao Quing and Meng Meng were sent on breeding loan from China, and in September 2019, Meng Meng had given birth to twin panda cubs; the panda family are now living in the large 5,480 m² Panda Garden built by Berlin Zoo in 2017.
For more information about Berlin Zoological Garden, you can go to their website here.
100% Cage Free Zoo—Singapore Zoo; Mandai, Singapore
Singapore Zoo houses the largest captive colony of orangutans in the world. That contributes to an interesting experience when you join their Wild Dining programme from 9 am to 10:30 am daily, because during this time, the orangutans will come to you and join you for breakfast! This follows Singapore Zoo’s philosophy of having a cage-free approach for all their animals and allowing more intimate interactions between visitors and animals, including animal feeding sessions for the elephants, giraffes, goats and white rhinoceros. Instead of cages, animals are separated from visitors by dry and wet moats, and the more dangerous ones that could climb are housed in glass-fronted enclosures. The late great Steve Irwin was so impressed by Singapore Zoo that he adopted it as the “sister zoo” to his own Australia Zoo. If you’re more of a night person, you could head over to the Night Safari which is just next to Singapore Zoo for a very different experience.
Which of these zoos interest you the most? Let us know in the comments which zoo you’re planning to visit next!
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