Looking for a zoo? From the world’s oldest zoo to the world’s northernmost zoo as well as other good zoos, here are five zoos I’ve enjoyed visiting during my travels.
1-Ranua Zoo, Finland
Meet the Arctic animals at Ranua Zoo in Finland.
Hear the wolves howling, lynxes roaring and bears growl when you visit the world’s northernmost zoo. Here, Arctic animals thrive in their natural habitat.
Although, most of the zoo’s residents are most active in the winter when it’s easier to spot the brown bears, lynxes, wolves and wolverines against a wintery, white back drop.
These Arctic animals give birth to their cubs in winter too. Go in late March to see the bears waking up from hibernation. But if the female has cubs, they hide in their dens until May.
At Christmas time, humans dressed as elves bring Christmas cheer by offering reindeer and snowmobile rides.
2-Singapore Zoological Gardens, Singapore
Everyone has heard of Singapore Zoo. A pioneer of the open zoo concept, the Singapore Zoological Gardens is designed to minimise visible barriers between humans and animals.
For example, big cats (jaguars and cheetahs) are behind glass walls rather than caged enclosures. Other animals are in enclosures by moats.
Singapore Zoo has daily shows and lots of animal feeding opportunities where you can interact with the wildlife.
It has one of the world’s largest social groups of orang-utans living in a natural habitat. And the night safari is worth a mention too. So next time you’re in Singapore, it’s worth making the time to visit the zoo.
3-London Zoo, United Kingdom
Since it first opened in 1828, London Zoo has been a trendsetter for zoos around the world.
London Zoo was the first zoo to have a reptile house (1849) and a public aquarium (1853). Then in 1881, it opened an insect house and a petting zoo in 1938.
Located on the north side of London’s Regent’s Park, London Zoo has over 600 species of wildlife. The zoo is spread over 15ha and there are lovely gardens linked by bridges and tunnels.
Animal attractions include Sumatran tigers, Arabian oryx, giraffes, and pygmy hippos, along with more exotic creatures like Bactrian camels and Komodo dragons.
4-Tiergarten Schönbrunn (Vienna Zoo), Austria
Walk in the footsteps of Napoleon Bonaparte in the world’s oldest zoo.
Founded in 1752, Tiergarten Zoo forms part of the grounds of the stately Schönbrunn Palace (which was the summer retreat for the Hapsburg Dynasty).
The stately 17th century Schönbrunn Palace is Austria’s version of France’s Versailles.
The palace offers a historic ambience and is packed with attractions.
A zoo is probably not something you’d plan to see in Vienna but the setting is unique and there are some unique attractions such as a giant panda enclosure, the first elephant born in Europe using artificial insemination techniques and a rainforest house modelled after Borneo’s ecosystem.
5-San Diego Zoo, USA
San Diego Zoo has some of the world’s rarest wildlife. The zoo has over 800 species including a tiger habitat built on a steep slope designed to resemble a natural jungle. The enclosure has a waterfall and pool.
There’s Joan B. Kroc’s Monkey Trails and Forest Tales, whcih is a natural environment home to 30 species of African and Asian birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
An elevated walkway takes you through the tree canopy to the home of endangered monkeys such as golden-bellied mangabeys, Schmidt’s guenons, and mandrills.