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The world’s best zoos

It’s not easy to compare one zoo with another. Is it about which one has the most beautiful, the most outlandish or the friendliest animals? Perhaps it’s about the most spectacular pavilions or the one that most closely resembles the animals’ natural wild habitat? Or is it really just about the variety of it all? The following 5 zoos have succeeded in combining all of these elements in the cleverest of ways.

These zoos are not only concerned about their visitors, but also with the welfare and the survival of the species themselves. Recent expansions have proven these 2 things are compatible; the animals are given more space in completely reconstructed savannahs, rainforests and deserts, and this in turn provides a more realistic experience for the visitor.

The Desert Dome in Henry Doorly Zoo
The Desert Dome in Henry Doorly Zoo

Top 5 destinations

The Desert Dome

Henry Doorly Zoo – Omaha

The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, was recently voted the best zoo in the world by TripAdvisor visitors. And this is even though the largest project in the history of the 121-year-old zoo, the African Grassland Project at a cost of 66 million euros, has not yet been completed. With the largest indoor desert in the world, a gigantic indoor rainforest, an IMAX cinema and a veritable gorilla valley, it is already quite an achievement. And this year will see the addition of a complete (outdoor) savannah.

Berlin Zoo

Berlin Zoo, opened 171 years ago, is the oldest zoo in Germany and one of the most popular in Europe. This is in part thanks to Knut, the popular polar bear who received worldwide media attention after being rejected by his mother and then raised by the staff at the zoo. Among the zoo’s wonderful architecture is the largest aquarium in the world with over 250 tanks. The zoo now houses over 1,500 animal species, the biggest collection in the world.

Knut, the polar bear
A zebra

Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo promotes itself as the world’s best rainforest zoo and rightly so: it is situated in the middle of the shady Mandai Forest in tropical Singapore. This zoo is exceptional in that there are hardly any cages, and almost all of the animals can be found in open habitats. The visitors coming to admire them are guided along safe paths, separated by moats where required. A visit feels more like a walk through a forest than a traditional zoo experience.

London Zoo

London Zoo was established in the 19th century as a scientific facility for animal research and has since grown into one of the oldest and largest zoos in the world. With the help of some of the best architects, the management continues to expand the zoo with new buildings and attractions. London Zoo was also the first zoo with a special environment for children. An interesting fact: scenes for ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ were filmed in the Reptile House.

Giraffes in Regent Park
Greetings from the Australian Savannah

Taronga Zoo – Sydney

As if the view of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge in Sydney is not spectacular enough, the Taronga Zoo makes it even more impressive – with a giraffe in the foreground. The award-winning zoo is home to over 4,000 animals and is situated on the shores of Sydney Harbour. Along with 340 different species of animals, visitors can count on seeing many koalas and platypuses. There is now also the unique opportunity to stay the night at Taronga Zoo! With the ‘roar and snore’ option, visitors can stay in a luxury safari tent at the edge of the savannah - with lions and other animals in the background.

Photo credits

  • The Desert Dome: Flickr: Mr. Nixter
  • Knut, the polar bear: Shutterstock: 360b