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World's best zoos for animal lovers

Published April 8th, 2015

Who doesn’t love animals, right? A day at the zoo is one of the top things to do in most major locations around the world, but not all animal parks are created equally.  For some, it’s all about the location while for others, it’s all about recreating natural habitats for exotic animals or housing breeding programs for endangered creatures and promoting wildlife conservation. Since today is Zoo Lovers’ Day, take a look at the world’s best zoos for animal lovers.

 

San Diego Zoo, USA

One of TripAdvisor’s top reviewed zoos, California’s San Diego Zoo covers 40 hectares and is home to over 3,700 rare and endangered critters from more than 650 species. The spacious area is divided into 13 walking trails or you can take the double-decker open bus tour to nail your fave enclosures and go back later for a closer look. Some of the main attractions include giant pandas, gorillas and arctic foxes, plus there’s lots of new zoo babies such as a jaguar cub and a mini river hippo.

 

Loro Parque, Spain

Located in Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, Loro Parque (Parrot Park) is one of the most popular zoos in Europe. Drawcards of the 14.5-hectare zoological park in Puerto de la Cruz include the daily presentations of the orcas, sea lions and dolphins - don’t miss the amazing aquarium with 12 themed exhibits.  Not surprisingly, Loro Parque lives up to its namesake with over 4,000 parrots from 350 different species.

 

Singapore Zoo, Singapore

One of Singapore Zoo’s most famous inhabitants is Inuka, the first polar bear to be born in a tropical area, and he’s just one of more than 2,800 animals that reside in open and naturalistic habitats here. From a Frozen Tundra zone to a Wild Africa zone (and even an Australian Outback exhibit), Singapore Zoo is a must-see to spy white tigers, watch Asian elephants in their water pool, and spot the orangutan population is their free-roaming rainforest exhibit.

 

Chester Zoo, UK

England may be an odd place to find exotic animals, but Chester Zoo (in Chester, just south of Liverpool) is the UK’s top wildlife conservation centre with over 12,000 furry, scaly and feathered friends from 400 different species. Some of the newest (and rarest) critters you can expect to see at Chester Zoo include Sumatran tiger triplets, an Eastern black rhino calf, an Indonesian babirusa piglet and a Rothschild’s giraffe calf – all born in early 2015. #cutenessalert

 

Tiergarten Schönbrunn, Austria

The oldest zoological garden (tiergarten) in the world (it was established as an imperial animal menagerie in 1752), Tiergarten Schönbrunn a.k.a. the Vienna Zoo is one of the Austrian capital’s top attractions with more than 600 species. Some of the original Baroque architecture remains, lending a historical ambience to the modern zoo, which has summer and winter housing for its animal inhabitants. Don’t miss the giant pandas, polar bears, penguins, big cats and wolves.

 

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.