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Top 10 Zoos for Kids

Written by: Editorial Staff

October 10, 2012
Filed Under Places 


zoos for kidsContributed by Info Guru Aurora LaJambre

Finding fun places to take kids can be a challenge.

What thrills them one visit has them snoozing the next with no explanation. Zoos are a reliable kid-pleaser regardless of their ages and interests. Seeing animals interact is an invaluable learning experience and helps to cultivate the next generation of animal lovers.

These top ten zoos for kids house a wide range of species, kid-friendly activities and a long-standing reputation for good times.

10. Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio zoo

The Cincinnati Zoo was the second one to open in the country. The park is home to a huge number of endangered species from macaws and cheetahs, to Indian rhinos. Kids get to see a number of baby animals being fed and cared for. Check the schedule beforehand to time your visit with a Family Night Hike event where kids can see night animals like bats and aardvarks play. Don’t forget to bring good binoculars!

9. Bronx, New York

Bronx, New York zoo

The Bronx Zoo welcomes kids of all ages to feed animals, crawl into a birds nest and hop around like a happy wallaby. The special kids’ part is 3 acres of habitats with activities to experience what it’s like to be a wild animal. Give your feet a rest on the Bug Carousel before venturing into the Congo Gorilla Forest or creeping around in the reptile house.

8. Audobon in New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana zoo

Like many places you can visit in New Orleans, the Audobon Zoo is a mix of old architecture and modern conveniences. Families can cool off at Splash Park in between taking pictures (pack your digital camera for shots of the kids and the animals!) of the popular white alligators in the Louisiana Swamp and waving to the white tiger brothers. The large aquarium and insectarium will give them a glimpse of wild things big and small.

7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania zoo

As the oldest zoo in the country, Philadelphia’s is a cherished historic site that draws people from all over the world. There’s no way children can say they’re bored with 42 acres to explore and 1,300 animals to meet. Wear comfortable shoes so you don’t miss the Rare Animal Conservation Center. Take the PZ Express, a Victorian-era train, or paddle through Bird Lake on a swan paddle boat with the whole family.

6. Tampa, Florida’s Lowry Park

Tampa Fl zoo

Recently named number one for family friendliness by Parents magazine, Tampa’s Lowry Park is one of the top zoos for kids. There’s an Australian-themed kiddie area where they can feed birds, and brush a goat’s fur. They can even ride a llama or camel! In down time, take them on one of the park’s five rides.

5. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri zoo

Lucky you, if you happen to be looking for things to do in St. Louis. This city has the third largest zoo in the country! You’ll find over 700 species on exhibit throughout 90-acres, including a special children’s part where children can get up close and pet some furry friends.

4. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas zoo

Home to the third biggest collection of animals in the nation, Antonio Zoo has a special area designed for kids under 5, Kronsky’s Tiny Tot Nature Spot. Grab your explorer’s backpack and together you can look for animal tracks or jump around in a stream. Bring older kids to watch hippos feed!

3. San Diego, California

San Diego California zoo

Located in Balboa Park, this famous site is one of the biggest zoos in the world. Take a guided tour on a bus through more than half the park, and explore the rest on foot to see as many of the 4,000 animals (800 species) as you can, including the giant panda. A vast collection of birds makes this bird lovers’ paradise. If you’re not scared of heights, go for the scenic route on the Skyfari ride and enjoy an aerial view.

2. Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio zoo

Under animal expert Jack Hanna’s direction, the Columbus Zoo has grown to become one of the very best zoos for kids. In addition to over 7,000 animals, kids will get a kick out of the water park and amusement park, while parents can relax afterwards at the golf resort.

1. Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona zoo

The Phoenix Zoo is the largest non-profit zoo in the country. You may need more than one day to roam this 125-acre wonderland. What’s unique about this complex is how the animal habitats are arranged into four long trails, including Africa and Arizona. These trails give you a sense of where the animals come from and which ones share a home. Best of all, you can ride bikes or rollerblade to maximize your time and exercise!

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