America's zoos are some of the best in the world, and there are thousands to choose from. Most major cities have zoos, while some of the most interesting zoos are located off main routes in smaller towns and communities. It's easy to find a zoo near your home via the Internet. Visiting a nearby zoo makes for a great last-minute or weekend getaway. And many zoos have unique qualities or programs that make them attractive to the vacationing family.
More than 4,000 animals call the Denver Zoo home (
The Pueblo Zoo in Pueblo, Colorado, includes among its 350 animals unique native sandstone buildings that have a prominent place on the National Register of Historic Places. (
The Zoo Boise in Idaho wants to be sure you get enough to eat and have a great zoo experience. Their “Breakfast at Zoo Boise” program offers an inside glimpse of what happens at the zoo before the general public is allowed in. The behind-the-scenes tour includes a breakfast, and then participants learn about some of the animals, have an animal encounter, and witness an animal feeding or enrichment. Games and other activities follow the Beastly Breakfast, which includes a continental breakfast and souvenir to take home. (
Against the backdrop of the world's most recognized city are polar bears, alligators, and all sorts of creatures normally found on other continents. Manhattan's Central Park Zoo is a family frenzy of activity and demonstrations with the animals. It's billed as the “wildest ticket in town,” and in dashing New York City, that's saying a lot! (
The Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke, Virginia, is one of America's most charming zoos and is just off the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway. Kids love the Zoo Choo, a little train that winds and bends around the zoo for perfect viewing. (
South Carolina is for the birds and alligators. The Birdhouse at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, South Carolina, is one of a kind. But it's the Caribbean flamingos housed in front of the exhibit that steal the show every spring. Their “elaborate ritualized courtship displays” are spellbinding. These birds, like pink cotton candy bodies on sticks with long necks, endear families for hours on end. (
Myrtle Beach's Alligator Adventure has been one of the state's top attractions for decades. Mesmerizing live shows feature, you guessed it, alligators. When the gators are busy, out come the snakes for a hands-on lesson. Here guests can learn how to tell the difference between venomous and nonvenomous snakes. Galapagos tortoises (who love attention) also live at Alligator Adventure. Some weigh as much as 450 pounds and are forty years old.
The climate is what helps make Miami Metrozoo so successful, tolerable to a multitude of animals from Asia, Australia, and Africa. At the Miami Metrozoo exhibits have no cages. Based on geographic territory, animals at the Miami Metrozoo who are neighbors in the wild are roommates in the zoo's exhibits. The zoo features more than 1,000 animals and hundreds of species. A children's zoo, wildlife carousel, guided tram, and zookeeper lectures keep visitors busy between animal watching. (