10 Most Popular Zoos in the U.S. to Add to Your Bucket List

Zoos offer a fascinating glimpse into the diverse and awe-inspiring world of wildlife. For animal enthusiasts and families alike, a visit to a zoo can be an unforgettable experience. The United States is home to numerous world-class zoos, each with its unique exhibits and conservation efforts.

If you’re a wildlife lover, here are the 10 most popular zoos in the U.S. that should be at the top of your bucket list.

San Diego Zoo (San Diego, California): Nestled in Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo is renowned for its vast and innovative habitats. Home to over 3,500 animals, including giant pandas and polar bears, the zoo offers a chance to explore diverse ecosystems from around the globe.

Smithsonian’s National Zoo (Washington, D.C.): As part of the Smithsonian Institution, this zoo boasts a stellar reputation for its commitment to research and conservation. The giant pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, are major crowd-pleasers, but the zoo’s diverse range of exhibits makes it a must-visit.

Bronx Zoo (New York City, New York): One of the largest metropolitan zoos, the Bronx Zoo spans 265 acres and houses over 6,000 animals. With exhibits like Congo Gorilla Forest and Madagascar!, visitors can embark on a global safari without leaving New York City.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (Columbus, Ohio): Under the direction of the legendary Jack Hanna, the Columbus Zoo is recognized for its outstanding animal care and conservation efforts. The Heart of Africa exhibit, featuring a vast savannah with giraffes and zebras, is a highlight.

Oregon Zoo (Portland, Oregon): Situated in Washington Park, the Oregon Zoo emphasizes conservation and education. Visitors can experience immersive exhibits like Elephant Lands and the Great Northwest, showcasing the region’s native species.

Philadelphia Zoo (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania): America’s first zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo, is a historic landmark dedicated to wildlife preservation. From Big Cat Falls to the PECO Primate Reserve, the zoo offers a diverse range of habitats for its animal residents.

Houston Zoo (Houston, Texas): The Houston Zoo is a dynamic institution committed to wildlife conservation and education. The African Forest exhibit, featuring gorillas and chimpanzees, and the expansive Kipp Aquarium are among its star attractions.

Denver Zoo (Denver, Colorado): Nestled in City Park, the Denver Zoo is renowned for its commitment to sustainability and green practices. The Toyota Elephant Passage, showcasing Asian elephants and other species, is a testament to their dedication to conservation.

Memphis Zoo (Memphis, Tennessee): Home to over 3,500 animals representing 500 species, the Memphis Zoo offers a diverse and engaging experience. The Teton Trek exhibit, replicating the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, is a standout attraction.

Saint Louis Zoo (St. Louis, Missouri): The Saint Louis Zoo, consistently ranked among the best in the nation, features innovative exhibits like the Penguin & Puffin Coast and Big Cat Country. Its dedication to animal care and conservation is evident throughout the park.


Whether you’re interested in observing rare species, learning about conservation efforts, or simply enjoying a day surrounded by wildlife, these 10 zoos in the U.S. are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Each zoo contributes to the global conversation on wildlife preservation, making them not only entertaining but also important institutions for education and awareness. Add these iconic zoos to your bucket list for an unforgettable journey into the animal kingdom.

Read More: 8 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Costa Rica

Leave a Comment