ZZZippy's
TOP 25 ZOOS
IN AMERICA

Everyone loves the zoo; and that love affair goes back a long, long time. It was nearly a hundred and fifty years ago that the Philadelphia Zoo (America's first zoo) opened its’ gates.

A charter establishing the Zoological Society of Philadelphia was approved and signed well before the opening date (March 21, 1859) unfortunately, due to the Civil War it was another 15 years (July 1, 1874) before the zoo actually opened to the public. Admission was 25 cents for adults, 10 cents for children; a rate that held for the next half century.

Visitors came via foot, on streetcars and by horse and carriage. Guests also arrived by steamboat on the Schuylkill River, landing at the zoo's own wharf.
Since then things have changed a bit. In 2014 more than 100 million people visited America’s zoos. Unfortunately admission to most zoos is a bit more than the 25 cents (although a couple of the Top Rated Zoos are actually free).

ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Today’s zoos have expanded and become more popular and more enjoyable than ever. More importantly many of them are serving other significant purposes such as helping to protect or even breed endangered species.

We can assure you that a trip to your favorite zoo is certainly well worth the cost of admission. The only question left, which zoo do you visit?

Maybe we can even help make that decision a bit easier as we present ZZZippy’s 2016 Top 25 Zoos in America. In addition, with the help of several of your favorite zoos we have prepared one of the largest zoo photo exposes to ever be featured in any magazine: ZZZippy's 2016 ZZZippy Zoo Photo Adventure.

Enjoy the feature and then treat yourself to at least one or two of these fabulous ZOOS.

check out the ZZZippy Zoo Photo Adventure here

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA
Tampa's Lowry Park ZooTampa, FLwww.lowryparkzoo.com


ZZZippy’s Top 25 Zoos in America couldn’t be quite complete without this zoo. This zoo houses outdoor exhibits on 60 acres of lush natural habitats. The environments consist of seven main habitat areas including: Asian Gardens, Primate World, Manatee and Aquatic Center, Florida Wildlife Center, Free-Flight Aviary, Wallaroo Station and Safari Africa. This is also one of ZZZippy’s Top Rated Zoos for Kids (visit zzzippy.com/americastopzoos). As the folks at Lowry Park say… this is one WILD experience.


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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA
Como Park ZooSt. Paul, MN www.comozooconservatory.org

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory prides themselves on providing a balance of fun, family and education. Its mission is to inspire our public to value the presence of living things in our lives. Open 365 days a year the zoo and conservatory have maintained free admission (guests are invited to make voluntary donations). A favorite attraction of zoo guests is Gorilla Forest, an $11 million exhibit redesign and overhaul featuring eight gorillas, and the largest all-mesh gorilla enclosure in North America.

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

The Houston Zoo
Houston, TX
www.houstonzoo.org

The Houston Zoo is dedicated to the conservation of endangered species, the provision of engaging educational opportunities and the creation of stimulating exhibits that broaden the experiences of guests and encourage their curiosity. Set in a 55-acre lush tropical landscape, the zoo is home to more than 6,000 exotic animals representing more than 800 species, including its newest residents, seven western lowland gorillas who make their home in a scenic, two-acre, naturalistic habitat.


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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Philadelphia Zoo

Philadelphia, PAwww.philadelphiazoo.org

Philadelphia Zoo, America’s first Zoo, features a revolutionary animal trail and exploration system, Zoo360, inviting small primates, great apes and big cats to explore overhead through the treetops. Meander through lush exhibits and marvel at amazing wildlife in exhibits like PECO Primate Reserve, First Niagara Big Cat Falls and KidZooU, a wildlife academy that offers dynamic displays and hands-on animal experiences.

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ZZZippy's Top 25 Zoos In America

The National Zoo

Washington, DC
www.nationalzoo.si.edu

Since opening in 1889, this zoo has grown to include 2,000 animals from 400 species, spread across 163 acres. The National Zoological Park is part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex. This historic complex is unlike any other on the planet. You need to experience it firsthand.

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Orlando, FL

www.disneyworld.disney.go.com

A visit to Disney is magical but a visit to the Animal Kingdom is an experience you will remember for life. Substantially different than other zoos, Disney delivers a one-of-a-kind experience. Our favorite features: the Kilimanjaro Safari and the 14-story Tree of Life (carved with 300+ images of different animals.) It’s not cheap… but it’s Disney!

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Fort Worth Zoo

Fort Worth, TX
www.fortworthzoo.org

Fort Worth Zoo sits on 64 acres of land in the heart of Fort Worth. It is well-rounded and incorporates over 5,000 animals (and over 550 species) from every continent except Antarctica. However, they pay special tribute to the native flora and fauna of Texas. Since 1991, the Zoo has opened 16 permanent exhibits and support facilities. Fort Worth Zoo is considered an international leader in Asian elephant conservation. What’s more it’s a fun zoo for the entire family!

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ZZZippy's Top 25 Zoos In America

Cleveland Metropark Zoo

Cleveland, OH

www.clevelandmetroparks.com

Among the Top Zoos in America is Cleveland Zoo. If you haven’t already noticed, four Ohio Zoos made this year’s list. Cleveland is no exception for quality, commitment and experience, several keys in our judging process. This fun zoo includes several amazing environments that are all unique and interesting. It also boasts one of the largest collections of primates in North America. And who can resist monkeys and apes!?


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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Minnesota Zoo

Apple Valley, MNwww.mnzoo.org

Minnesota Zoo’s exhibits are designed to be practical, interesting and fun. Many guests believe that because of the way the zoo organizes its animals (by their living environment as opposed to species) it brings a more realistic and natural feel to the experience. The zoo has several themed areas, including themed walking trails extending up to two miles long. We suggest that you visit all of the exhibits there to experience the vast differences in the environments, because variety makes this zoo particularly special.

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Audubon Zoo

New Orleans, LA
www.audubonnatureinstitute.org

This zoo is another with a unique setting and ambiance. One of the few zoos anywhere that can actually brag about its (human) food, the Audubon Zoo even houses a cottage which sells Cajun dishes inside its Louisiana Swamp exhibit, making it just that much more authentic. At Audubon there is a mergence of cultural and natural history… you'll even find zookeepers feeding gators and a lazy river attraction called “Gator Run”. It’s unique and it’s fun! What more could you ask for from a Top 25 ZZZippy Zoo?

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Zoo Miami

Miami, FLwww.zoomiami.org
The Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens (known as Zoo Miami) is the only wildlife park in the U.S. located in a subtropical climate. This outstanding zoo has immense, open-air exhibits along with a look and feel like no other zoo. You’ll see the Asian river otters, clouded leopards, tigers, giraffes, gorillas, okapis, Komodo dragons and a lot more at this popular zoo, but it’s the atmosphere here that makes it so different from other zoos. Prepare to sweat a lot, especially if you come here in the summertime… but have the kids bring their swim suits to enjoy a wonderful free water play area.

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Bronx ZooBronx Zoo, NYwww.bronxzoo.com

The Bronx Zoo is the largest urban zoo in America. With more than 6,000 animals and over 265 acres, you better plan on spending some time here if you want to see it all. More than anything, else we love their award-winning exhibits. The exhibits offer enormous diversity and almost all offer up-close viewing’ opportunities. Their world-renowned expertise assures a rewarding experience for each and every guest.

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA
Riverbanks Zoo &Botanical GardensWest Columbia, SCwww.riverbanks.org

This zoo is home to more than 2,000 fascinating animals. The Botanical Garden is considered one of the nation’s most beautiful and inspiring public gardens. The verdant 170-acre site features vibrant natural habitat exhibits, scenic river and valley views that you won’t find anywhere else. The staff delivers guests a very personal down home hospitality that sets this zoo apart from most others.

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Cheyenne
Mountain ZooColorado Springs, CO
www.cmzoo.org

A leader in conservation, captive breeding and animal care (per their mission), Cheyenne Mountain Zoo connects people with wildlife and wild places through experiences that inspire action. This zoo is America’s only mountain zoo. It is home to one of the largest giraffe herds in the world… as well as many other animals and species. The views are stunning and the experience here is one you won’t soon forget.

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Denver ZooDenver, CO
www.denverzoo.org

This 80 acre zoo was founded in 1896 and is home to nearly 4,000 animals including: rare Amur leopards, African penguins, bald eagles, California sea lions, harbor seals, polar bears and Asian elephants. They also feature the spectacular $50 million, 10-acre Toyota Elephant Passage. In addition, Denver has the first natural gas-powered zoo train in the US and an Endangered Species Carousel.

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Dallas ZooDallas, TXwww.dallaszoo.com

The 106-acre Dallas Zoo is the largest in Texas. Founded in 1888, it has grown to be one of the finest zoos anywhere. An Association of Zoos and Aquariums award-winner for its exhibits, the zoo features approximately 400 species (not including fish). It also features the Wilds of Africa exhibit, where guests embark on a Monorail Safari through six exhibit areas. It was the first in the world to include every major habitat on the African continent.

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Lincoln Park ZooChicago, ILwww.lpzoo.org

Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the only remaining zoos in America with free admission. The zoo is also open 365 days a year. Rich with architecture, stunning gardens and award-winning, animal habitats, this zoo deserves its spot in America’s favorites. The zoo has received international attention for its conservation and environmental efforts. In addition to all of the responsible things that this zoo does for the industry… it’s just plain and simple fun!

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

The Memphis ZooMemphis, TNwww.memphiszoo.org

The Memphis Zoo is as inviting as it is interesting. The zoo has a rich tradition of caring for animals and entertaining guests that has continued for over 100 years. With over 3,500 animals and 500 plus species there are certainly plenty of interesting creatures to keep guests entertained for many hours. Visitors notice how clean the zoo is kept. This attitude of caring for the property carries over to the way the zoo cares for its residents and guests.

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Cincinnati ZooCincinnati, OHwww.cincinnatizoo.org

Nicknamed "The Sexiest Zoo in America", this zoo is the second-oldest zoo in the United States, Cincinnati opened in 1875. The Reptile House is the oldest zoo building in America. Even peer zoos consider Cincinnati one of the country’s best zoos. It is renowned for conservation, education and preservation of wild animals and spaces. This magnificent zoo features more than 500 animal and 3,000 plant species, making it one of the largest zoo collections in the country.



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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Brookfield ZooBrookfield, ILwww.brookfieldzoo.org

Brookfield Zoo is another world-renowned zoo which has over 2 million guests annually. The zoo has an excellent reputation for conservation and innovative animal care. One of the most magical characteristics of this zoo is how guests are transformed as they exit the concrete jungle and enter the natural jungle. The exhibits are extensive, believable and enjoyable, making this zoo experience most memorable.

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ZZZippy's Top 25 Zoos In America

The Columbus Zoo
& Aquarium
Columbus, OHwww.columbuszoo.org

The Columbus Zoo is home to over
10,000 animals representing over 575 species and sees over 2.4 million visitors annually. The animal exhibits are divided into regions of the world, with the zoo currently operating six such regions. All of the zoos on ZZZippy’s list are worthy of the respect they have garnered, but few have achieved the worldwide reputation of the Columbus Zoo. Undeniably one of America’s very favorite zoos.

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Omaha's
Henry Doorly Zoo
& Aquarium
Omaha, NEwww.omahazoo.com

This wonderful zoo does everything in a big way. It features America’s largest indoor rainforest; the largest aquarium in any zoo, a large free-flight aviary, the world’s largest indoor swamp… and that’s just the beginning. This is a ZZZippy must see zoo!

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

San Diego ZooSan Diego, CAwww.sandiegozoo.org

One of our favorite zoos every year! A zoo and a park combined to make up over 100 acres of exotic grounds and 650 species. This is possibly the best zoo anywhere to view animals… without wandering into the wild. With over 3 million visitors each year the zoo is admired by locals as well as travelers. What they do for the animal world is pretty much unsurpassed.

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Saint Louis ZooSaint Louis, MOwww.stlzoo.org

With tons to do and a huge variety of food, fun and entertainment, St. Louis is the perfect setting for our #2 pick this year. This zoo is a leader in animal management, research, conservation and education. General admission is free though there are fees for some attractions. If you go do not miss the Zooline Railroad, a small passenger train that encircles the zoo, stopping at many of the popular attractions.

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ZZZippy's TOP 25 ZOOS IN AMERICA

Toledo ZooToledo, OHwww.toledozoo.org

ZZZippy’s Top Spot for the 2016 Best Zoo in America is the Toledo Zoo, Toledo, Ohio. This world-renowned zoo has a history that spans well beyond 100 years. The zoo is home to the world's first Hippoquarium, an underwater viewing area where guests watch daily activities of the ever-so-interesting hippopotamus family. With over 9,700 animals, new exhibits and a summer concert series featuring major stars, this zoo has something for everyone. Congratulations to the folks at Toledo Zoo for making it so exceptional!


Incredible pictures of some of the most magnificent animals on the planet, check them out here:
ZZZippy's Zoo Photo Adventure

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