Yeah, yeah, I know the concerns about holding animals in captivity. But where else are kids going to learn about exotic fellow creatures? TV? They can’t smell them there. The circus? Few of us even live on farms anymore, and those dogs I see walked up and down the street are hardly exemplary of the animal kingdom. Frankly, they’re more spoiled than most children.
But I digress. Out of view, the best zoos are also places of serious research and attempts to keep gene pools alive.
Here are some of the best in North America:
- San Diego. It pioneered the open-air, cageless exhibits, for one thing, and is in a beautiful park, for another. So I’ve heard.
- St. Louis. More than 600 species on 90 acres, and you can get around via a mini-railroad.
- Omaha. Some of us remember it from a television series.
- Cincinnati. Includes a botanical garden, and for years it was also home to the summer opera, the nation’s second-oldest. Now that was an interesting mix.
- Bronx. It was the first with a zoo animal hospital and full-time veterinarian staff.
- Toronto. Features seven distinct zoogeographic regions – animals and relevant plants and climate displayed together.
- Smithsonian, Washington, D.C. One of the most diverse, and admission is free.
- Los Angeles. Founded in 1966, it’s one of the newer zoos in America and has zoomed in status.
- Columbus. Includes a notable aquarium, a manatee rescue and rehabilitation program, and Polar Frontier.
- Philadelphia. Also noted for its success with hard-to-breed-in-captivity species.
Honorable mentions to Miami, Fort Worth, Seattle, Brookfield and Lincoln Park in Chicago, Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, Houston, and Denver.
2 thoughts on “Top zoos in North America”
I’ve only been to two of those – and there is no way Toronto should rank lower than the Bronx Zoo on anyone’s list!
Well, I was blending several lists and the placements were loose. My own experience has been Cincinnati, Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore, and maybe Brooklyn. It would be interesting to see a comparison based on what’s going on behind the scenes and another on the excellence of the presentation before the public.