10 of the Best Zoos in the World

Are you the type that loves animals and enjoys visiting your local zoo? Do you try to visit as often as possible, always taking time to explore each exhibit and learn all you can about the animals? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, then you’ll be happy to learn that April 8 is National Zoo Lovers Day.

While this is a great day to celebrate all that zoos offer, it was created to help spread awareness about wild animals. It’s also meant to prompt people to get out and visit their local zoo. But what if it feels like you’ve seen everything at your zoo and you want to elevate your animal viewing experience?

Here’s a list of the 10 best zoos in the world. You may want to use this information to create the ultimate bucket list of zoos you need to visit.

Toronto Zoo, Toronto, ON, Canada

Sign of the Toronto Zoo at entrance in Toronto
Image Credit: Shutterstock / JHVEPhoto

While bigger isn’t always better, when it comes to zoos the larger the land, the more animals a zoo can house. That’s a big part of why the Toronto Zoo in Ontario, Canada is such a crowd-pleaser. With 710 acres it holds the title of the largest zoo in Canada and the fifth largest zoo in the world.

It is home to over 3,000 different animals and more than 300 species. Visitors are treated to a full day’s worth of animal viewing, and there’s a good chance you still won’t be able to take it all in. Stroll through the various geographic regions with animals that represent each area. The regions are the Americas, Africa, Indo-Malaya, Tundra Trek, the Canadian Domain, Eurasia, and Australasia.

Singapore Zoo, Singapore

Entrance to Singapore Zoo with red rhino sculpture from wildlife reserves.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Trong Nguyen

Asia has many fabulous zoos worth visiting, but the Singapore Zoo stands out. What makes it so unique is the setting and landscape which feels like a dense and beautiful rainforest. It’s known for its unique family programming and currently has more than 4,000 animals. It’s the kind of zoo that visitors can meander through and enjoy a relaxed pace.

San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA, USA

Panda eating bamboo at San Diego Zoo
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Stas Bobkov

The San Diego Zoo isn’t just known within the United States, rather it is known worldwide as being a premier zoo. The zoo is home to over 12,000 endangered and rare animals that are spread out across 100 acres. It originally opened in 1916, so it’s also one of the oldest zoos in the United States.

As for what animals you’ll be able to see at the zoo, they include such creatures as the clouded leopard, the Chinese alligator, the fossa, the elephant, grizzly bears, a king cobra, hippo, and plenty more.

Tiergarten Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria

View of the Schonbrunn tiergarten zoological garden in Vienna, Austria
Image Credit: Shutterstock / trabantos

Europe is also home to all kinds of notable zoos with one of them being Tiergarten Schönbrunn Zoo which is in Vienna, Austria. Not only does this zoo have over 700 species on display, it is also the world’s oldest operating zoo. The 42-acre zoo first opened in 1752 and because located in the Schönbrunn Palace Gardens, it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Visitors will be able to view giant pandas, penguins, orangutans, and so much more. Be sure to check out the schedule so you can also view the feedings for some animals.

National Zoological Gardens, Pretoria, South Africa

Elephants at ZOO Pretoria
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vladimira Pufflerova

Just as you would expect from a zoo in South Africa, the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria has some very impressive species on display. It is the biggest zoo in the country and has made a name for itself thanks to the various animal initiatives and programs, research, and scientific services.

The zoo has species that are classified as endangered, vulnerable, critically endangered, near threatened, and of least concern. The black and white ruffed lemur is critically endangered and is a very popular species at the zoo.

Bronx Zoo – New York City, NY, USA

Entrance to the Bronx zoo, NY
Image Credit: Shutterstock / MindStorm

Heading back to the USA there is the Bronx Zoo located in New York City. This one is especially fun thanks to its history. It has been greeting visitors since Nov. 8, 1899, and is deemed one of the biggest wildlife conservation parks in the country.

The zoo’s more than 4,000 animals and 650 species are spread out across 250 acres, which means it can easily fill a day of exploring. It was originally built to promote zoology and help to preserve native animals and species.

Berlin Zoological Garden, Berlin, Germany

The Entrance Gate (Elephant Gate) of the Berlin Zoo
Image Credit: Shutterstock / hanohiki

Next up we have the Berlin Zoological Garden, found in Berlin, Germany. A trip to Berlin isn’t complete without a trip to the zoo. The zoo attracts visitors of all ages but can be especially entertaining for kids thanks to the various programs and offerings. Just like so many other zoos on this list, the Berlin Zoological Garden has a long history as it opened back in 1844.

Today it’s heavily involved in a worldwide species conservation program that helps to save endangered and rare species.

Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne, Australia

Safari bus taking visitors through Werribee Open Range Zoo, Melbourne
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nils Versemann

Big cities are known for having top-notch zoos and Melbourne is no exception. It’s here you’ll find the Melbourne Zoo not only offers a wide array of animals on display but also has “Dinos as the Zoo”, a fun exhibit that will thrill the whole family. The keep talks, animal experiences, and activities make this a bustling adventure spot year-round.

Sao Paulo Zoo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

 A South American fur seal (Arctocephalus australis) doing some stretching at the edge of a wooden pier inside his animal enclosure in Sao Paulo aquarium.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Deni Williams

South America is no stranger to spectacular zoos, and the Sao Paulo Zoo in Brazil is proof of that. This is Brazil’s biggest zoo and is located just outside of the city of Sao Paulo. It features over 3,200 animals that are spread out in the 204 acres of the zoo. This zoo is much newer than some of the others on this list, as the zoo opened its gates in June 1958. Since then, it has worked hard to make a name for itself and now features many endangered species. It now focuses on animal conservation, education, and scientific research.

Beijing Zoo, Beijing, China

A golden snub-nosed monkey in Beijing Zoo, China
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Alex Tao Wang

Last but certainly not least is the Beijing Zoo in Beijing China. Right in the middle of the Xicheng District is the zoo, and it houses one of the biggest collections of animals in all of China with more than 14,000 on display. The zoo is also the oldest in the country. The zoo opened in 1906 and encompasses 220 acres of land.

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