40 Best Zoos in the World, Ranked
If your dream day involves hanging out with monkeys, admiring big cats and cooing over exotics birds, these zoos are among the best in the world. And they really are all over the world, covering Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas.
We’ve ranked them according to the most recent Tripadvisor reviews — but you’ll definitely want to visit for yourself to see how they measure up.
40. Prague Zoo
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Prague Zoo is practically at the center of the Czech capital, and it's a must-see for first-time visitors. It's the second-most visited tourist spot in the nation, just below Prague Castle.
It's been open since 1931, and the zoo is always working on new conservation projects to promote animal welfare and biological diversity.
Prague Zoo Highlights
More than 5,000 animals of over 670 species call the Prague Zoological Garden home. There are currently 150 exhibits in 13 pavilions.
Kids will go bananas over some of the zoo's signature activities, including a specialized Children's Zoo, a chairlift, a mini-train and a paddling pool.
39. Taipei Zoo
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
The Taipei Zoo had humble beginnings. It started out as a small, private zoological garden. Now, it's the biggest zoo in all of Asia, and it's the second-most popular attraction in the area.
Taipei Zoo Highlights
The coolest exhibit at the Taipei Zoo is, by far, the giant panda house. The Asian tropical rainforest area is also pretty unique.
The zoo also doubles as an expertly designed botanical garden, with beautiful flowers and greenery throughout the park.
Check out Taipei Zoo's YouTube channel to see their latest projects.
38. Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden
Location: Budapest, Hungary
The Budapest Zoo was established way back in 1866.
Set in the middle of a hub of art and culture, the Budapest Zoo itself is gorgeous. It's designed with a unique layout offering winding, tree-lined pathways through the exhibits.
Don't forget to visit the zoo's resident hippo and baby bear cubs.
Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden Highlights
The botanical garden element is what sets Budapest Zoo apart from the rest. The elephant house features beautiful art deco architecture, and the Japanese Bonsai display is a sight to behold.
37. Temaiken Biopark
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Temaiken is different from most zoos in a good way. It's actually a foundation focused on research, education and preservation, so every visit to the park benefits a noble cause.
It's also the top Tripadvisor activity in the area.
Temaiken Biopark Highlights
Temaiken isn't located in the center of Buenos Aires, but it's worth the adventure. Their aviary exhibits are particularly beautiful, and many of the exhibits feature native, South American fauna.
36. Bioparco di Roma
Location: Rome, Italy
They say location is everything, and this zoo is proof. The best part about Bioparco di Roma is that it's right next to countless museums, art galleries and cafes.
Plus, it's home to a breathtaking white tiger.
Bioparco di Roma Highlights
It's not the biggest zoo, but there's plenty to see. The wolves are pretty cool, and the park is a great break from the busy city.
The zoo's cafe is popular, but many locals bring picnics to share on the grass.
35. Pairi Daiza
Location: Brugelette, Hainaut, Belgium
Pairi Daiza is one of the best zoos in the world, with over 7,000 animals, including precious, endangered species.
The zoo takes part in numerous breeding programs to help conservation efforts.
Pairi Daiza Highlights
Ranked the best zoo in Europe three years running, Pairi Daiza has a little of everything.
That includes architecture, gardens, music and animals from five different continents.
34. Copenhagen Zoo
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Open 365 days a year, the Copenhagen Zoo invites visitors to meet over 4,000, including polar bears, pandas, lions and elephants.
Copenhagen Zoo Highlights
The polar bear exhibit is the coolest. Visitors can walk through a glass tunnel that takes them as close to a polar bear as you're likely to get without becoming lunch.
The Copenhagen Zoo also features several spacious play areas for kids who like to act like wild animals themselves.
33. Zoologico de Cali
Location: Cali, Colombia
The zoo in Cali may not be the biggest zoo in the world, but their wide variety of animals, well-planned layout, unique collection of bird species and focus on native wildlife makes Zoologico de Cali the best zoo in Colombia, and one of the best in South America.
Zoologico de Cali Highlights
The location of the zoo in Cali is one of its biggest perks. It sits on the edge of a river, and it's close enough to downtown to walk there. Plus, the price of admission is unbelievably low, and the cafes sprinkled throughout are just as affordable. For tourists, it's especially worth the trip.
32. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Location: Powell, Ohio
Meet Moose, the Pallas' cat. He's one of a whopping 11,000 animals at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
This place is one of the best zoos in the world for families, operating as a recreational and educational combo park.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Highlights
The Columbus Zoo is part of a huge complex, including a water park and an 18-whole safari golf course.
As fun as it is for people, it's just as fun for animals.
The Columbus Zoo also runs a 10,000-acre conservation center called the Wilds, and donates $4 million a year to worldwide conservation projects.
31. Ueno Zoo
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Ueno Zoo is one of Japan's most famous animal attractions. It's in the middle of Tokyo, so it's a quick stop for anyone visiting the area.
Ueno Zoo Highlights
It's not the largest zoo, but the Ueno Zoo is home to beautiful panda bears and scenic walks through cherry blossom trees in the spring.
30. Basel Zoo
Location: Basel, Switzerland
Open seven days a week, the Basel Zoo is clean, well kept, and full of interesting creatures to see.
It's walking distance from Basel center, so tourists don't have to worry about arranging transportation.
Basel Zoo Highlights
Because Basel Zoo is a leader in breeding and conservation efforts, many of the zoo's residents have little ones to see.
There's also a petting zoo for kids, a cafe, a restaurant and a gift shop.
29. Sao Paulo Zoo
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil
The Zoologico de Sao Paulo cares for over 3,000 animals in the most natural habitats they can build.
For visitors to the city, it's a welcome, natural retreat from the noise and traffic.
Sao Paulo Zoo Highlights
The zoo features several local species, including the Brazilian howler monkey and the red-breasted toucan.
They also have some captive-bred Spix's Macaws, which are considered extinct in the wild.
28. Artis Royal Zoo
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Artis is short for Natura Artis Magistra, or "Nature is the teacher of the arts." True to its name, Artis functions as a natural collective, boasting an aquarium, planetarium, arboretum and art collection.
It's also the oldest zoo in the Netherlands.
Artis Royal Zoo Highlights
Artis has 27 architecturally significant historical buildings, a library, and a vast collection of beautiful animals to learn about.
27. Dublin Zoo
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Despite being one of the world's oldest zoos, the Dublin Zoo is designed to be a safe, happy place for animals to live and people to enjoy.
Dublin Zoo Highlights
The Dublin Zoo opened in 1830, but it doesn't feel like it is over 190 years old.
The landscaping is stunning, with scenic walks around gardens, lakes and some of the most natural-looking habitats we've encountered.
26. Zoo de La Palmyre
Location: Les Mathes, Charente-Maritime, France
Zoo de La Palmyre is like a throwback to zoos of decades past.
It has all the quintessential zoo animals you'd expect, and in some areas, visitors are allowed to feed them.
Zoo de La Palmyre Highlights
The park is home to several large cats and towering giraffes.
On May 27, 2021, they also announced the birth of two wild storks near their elephant enclosure.
25. Beijing Zoo
Location: Beijing, China
Beijing Zoo was the first of its kind in China. Located in the Xicheng District, it’s home to around 5,000 animals.
Beijing Zoo Highlights
Always of interest to visitors are the giant pandas (in their incredible 2.5-acre enclosure shaped in the pattern of a Tai Chi diagram), golden monkeys and northeast tigers — some of the finest homegrown species.
But Beijing Zoo has a truly international flavor, with polar bears, zebras, kangaroos and giraffes delighting the crowds.
Los Angeles Zoo Highlights
It’s home to more than 2,200 mammals, amphibians, birds and reptiles, including more than 58 endangered species.
If you like plants, you’ll spend hours in the planted botanical garden, discovering more than 800 plant species.
23. ZSL London Zoo
Location: London, England
ZSL London Zoo officially opened in 1828 by the Zoological Society of London, making it the world’s oldest scientific zoo.
Fun fact: It was the creation of Sir Thomas Raffles, who is best known for founding Singapore.
ZSL London Zoo Highlights
After two decades of dedication to scientific study, the zoo was opened to the public in 1847.
Nowadays, the most popular animal attractions include two critically endangered Sumatran tigers and their three cubs as well as the immersive butterfly paradise.
22. National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
Location: Pretoria, South Africa
Spanning more than 200 acres, the National Zoological Garden of South Africa (aka the Pretoria Zoo) is the largest zoo in South Africa and the only one with national status.
National Zoological Gardens of South Africa Highlights
It houses more than 3,000 mammals, more than 3,800 fish, around 1,300 birds and hundreds of invertebrates and reptiles.
If you need a break from exploring on two feet (the total length of the walkways is almost 4 miles), the cable cars offer tremendous views.
21. Moscow Zoological Park
Location: Moscow, Russia
In 1864, Moscow Zoological Park started life as a small zoological garden, but today, it’s a large scientific, educational and conservation institution.
Moscow Zoological Park Highlights
Make sure you see the big cats, especially the white Bengal tiger and the rather reclusive Pallas’s cat.
There are also polar bears, Indian elephants and a Steller sea lion — the largest eared seal in the world, weighing up to 1,300 pounds.
20. Toronto Zoo
Location: Toronto, Canada
Opened in 1974, Toronto Zoo is spread across 710 acres and split into seven zoogeographic regions: Africa (Rainforest and Savanna), Americas, Australasia, Canadian Domain, Eurasia Wilds, Indo-Malaya and Tundra Trek.
Toronto Zoo Highlights
It has more than 5,800 animals, from the tiny Leaf-cutter ant to Samson, the massive male river hippopotamus, who weighs in at 4,500 pounds.
19. National Zoological Park
Location: Washington, D.C.
William Temple Hornaday, chief taxidermist at the Smithsonian from 1882 to 1887, first dreamed of the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute when he visited the western United States in 1886 and was concerned about the shortage of American bison. (The species, once millions-strong, now numbered only a few hundred.)
It became Hornaday’s mission to save the endangered species, and it worked — the bison is no longer on the endangered list.
National Zoological Park Highlights
The National Zoological Park became the new home for Hornaday’s animals in 1889 and opened to the public in 1891.
Today, the institute cares for about 2,700 animals that represent almost 400 species — 20 of which scientists study and breed at the institute’s headquarters.
18. Taronga Zoo Sydney
Location: Sydney, Australia
The first public zoo in New South Wales (NSW) opened in Sydney in 1884. Initially, it was located on Billy Goat Swamp in Moore Park but moved to Taronga in 1913.
Three years later, Taronga Zoo Sydney opened to the public.
Taronga Zoo Sydney Highlights
Today, the zoo cares for more than 5,000 animals, many of which are threatened species.
Sumatran tigers, Asian elephants, chimpanzees and, of course, various species of kangaroo are among the most popular animals to visit.
17. Zoo Berlin
Location: Berlin, Germany
Zoo Berlin is considered to be one of the most species-rich zoos in the world.
It first opened in 1844 as the first zoo in Germany, and its aquarium (designed by animal behaviorist Oskar Heinroth) opened in 1913.
Zoo Berlin Highlights
The zoo is the proud home to Germany’s only giant panda family, after panda mom Meng Meng gave birth to twins Pit and Paule in 2019.
16. Lisbon Zoo
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon Zoo has had one of the largest, most diverse animal collections in the world, largely due to its influx of animals from Africa and Brazil since it was founded in 1884.
Lisbon Zoo Highlights
Each habitat has rare and unusual animals, and the cable car lets visitors enjoy a different perspective of many of the attractions.
There’s also a small train if you’d rather travel around on ground level.
15. Rotterdam Zoo
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Widely considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful zoos, Rotterdam Zoo is split into continents, and there’s as much to see indoors as outdoors.
Rotterdam Zoo Highlights
The bird house, the crocodile house and the shark tunnel always get rave reviews, as do the spacious kids’ play areas.
14. Wellington Zoo
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
After the former New Zealand Prime Minister Richard Seddon was gifted a young lion by the Bostock and Wombwell Circus, he did the natural thing and created a zoo.
Wellington Zoo Highlights
Wellington Zoo opened in 1906 and is the city’s oldest conservation organization.
King Dick the lion isn’t around any more, but there are giraffes, lemurs, red pandas and capybaras galore.
13. Bronx Zoo
Location: Bronx, New York
One of the most famous zoos in the world, the Bronx Zoo opened in 1899, the year after the City of New York allotted 250 acres of Bronx Park to the New York Zoological Society to build a park dedicated to the preservation of native animals.
Bronx Zoo Highlights
Bronx Zoo is one of the largest wildlife conservation parks in the U.S., with more than 6,000 species.
From the fennec fox in the Children’s Zoo to the gelada in the Baboon Reserve, there’s something for everyone.
12. Singapore Zoo
Set in a rainforest environment, Singapore Zoo has several zones, from Australasia to Wild Africa, recreating diverse animal habitats from around the world.
Singapore Zoo Highlights
The Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia features baboons, ibexes, meerkats and jackals, while five female elephants can be found in the Asian enclosure.
11. ZooParc de Beauval
Location: Saint-Aignan, France
One of the largest animal collections in France (and, indeed, Europe), ZooParc de Beauval has a glamorous backstory. It started in Paris when music hall presenter Françoise Delord won two silver-billed capuchins, which sparked her love for birds.
When Delord moved to Beauval with her children, she opened an ornithological park.
ZooParc de Beauval Highlights
In 2020, the park celebrated its 40th anniversary, and although birds are still the stars of the show, it’s also home to a wide range of other animals.
You can expect to visit Pygmy hippos, alligators and the giant panda Huan Huan.
10. Chester Zoo
Location: Cheshire, England
It’s no surprise that Chester Zoo is the most visited zoo in the U.K.
Home to no less than 35,000 animals across 128 acres of zoological gardens, it opened in 1930 as a family business, staffed almost entirely by the Mottershead family.
Chester Zoo Highlights
The lazy river boat trip is a must-do for a different perspective of the tropical wildlife of Southeast Asia.
9. Australia Zoo
Location: Beerwah, Australia
The late Steve Irwin, aka the Crocodile Hunter, grew up surrounded by wildlife and took over the management of his parents' wildlife park in 1991.
The following year, Irwin married Terri Raines, and their shared passion for animals fueled the expansion of the park, which was later renamed the Australia Zoo, located in Queensland.
Australia Zoo Highlights
Irwin died in 2006 after a fatal stingray injury, but the zoo continues to thrive under the management of his family.
One of the highlights is the Wildlife Warriors Show in the world-famous Mount Franklin Crocoseum, featuring birds, snakes and, of course, the huge crocs that were so close to Irwin’s heart.
8. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
The second oldest zoo in the U.S. is the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, where you’ll find everything from penguins to rhinos.
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Highlights
When the zoo first opened in 1875, it encompassed 65 acres in the middle of the city. But it has since spread across surrounding blocks and several parts of the suburbs.
No visit to the Cincinnati Zoo is complete without checking in on the world-famous Fiona the hippo (the first Nile hippo to be born at the zoo in 75 years) and her mom Bibi at Hippo Cove.
7. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Location: Columbus, Ohio
In 1927, the Columbus Zoo opened with a small collection of animals donated by the Wolfe Family, who owned the Columbus Dispatch newspaper.
Columbus Zoo and AquariumHighlights
In 1956, Colo the gorilla became a global superstar when she was born at Columbus (to Millie Christina and Baron Macombo), the first of the species to be born in captivity.
Colo lived there until her death in 2017 when she also held the title of the oldest gorilla in captivity.
6. Parque das Aves
Location: Foz do Iguacu, Brazil
As the only institution in the world dedicated to the conservation of the birds of the Atlantic Rainforest, Parque das Aves is an unmissable experience for bird lovers.
Parque das Aves Highlights
It all started with a grey parrot chick, Pumuckl, who joined the family of veterinarian Anna-Sophie Helene.
Before long, the yard of her Namibian home was filled with birds, and in 1994, the park was opened in Brazil.
5. Tiergarten Schonbrunn (or Vienna Zoo)
Location: Vienna, Austria
The oldest zoo in the world is Schonbrunn Zoo, which started life in 1752 as a menagerie of “rare animals” at the home of Emperor Franz I, Stephan von Lothringen.
Tiergarten Schonbrunn (or Vienna Zoo) Highlights
In 1778, “decently dressed persons” were invited to join the imperial family and their esteemed guests to view the animals.
Today, more than 2 million guests visit the zoo every year to admire its 8,500 animals.
4. Loro Parque
Location: Tenerife, Spain
The Canary Islands’ Loro Parque started out as a small parrot sanctuary in 1972 and grew into one of the world’s most successful zoological institutions.
Loro Parque Highlights
Today, the zoo is home to the largest and most diverse reserve parrot species and subspecies in the world as well as killer whales, dolphins, lions, gorillas and many more family favorites.
In fact, it’s considered one of the best zoos in Europe.
3. San Diego Zoo
Location: San Diego, California
Founded in 1916, San Diego Zoo has one of the world’s largest collections of exotic and endangered mammals, birds and reptiles, spread across 100 hilly acres in the city’s Balboa Park.
San Diego Zoo Highlights
Unmissable highlights include the gorilla forest, the three fun-loving polar bears and the Australian Outback area, with a koala colony, wallabies, wombats, kookaburras and Tasmanian devils.
2. Saint Louis Zoo
Location: Saint Louis, Missouri
The Saint Louis Zoo is one of the few free zoos in the U.S., but that’s not the only reason it’s the most popular attraction in the region.
Saint Louis Zoo Highlights
This zoo is home to more than 12,000 animals (from around 500 species) and has a reputation for innovation in its approach to conservation, research, and animal care and welfare.
Each of the zoo’s themed zones is a must-see, but Red Rocks, with its lions, tigers, leopards, giraffes and gazelles, is particularly impressive.
1. Henry Doorly Zoo
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo is famous for successfully breeding endangered species from around the world.
Henry Doorly Zoo Highlights
The zoo also has the largest cat complex in North America; the largest nocturnal exhibit, indoor desert and indoor swamp in the world; and one of the world’s largest indoor rainforests.
A firm favorite with visitors is the tide pool touch tank, allowing them to get an up-close look at various sea creatures.
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