Almost every major tourist city in the world is home to a zoo. However, there are only a rare few doing the miraculous work that the following ten zoo’s and wildlife parks are doing to promote animal conservation, wildlife protection, captive breeding of endangered species, and general public education and awareness around the importance of animal preservation.
1. Wellington Zoo, North Island, New Zealand
New Zealand’s very first zoo is one of the biggest, situated on 32-sprawling acres with more than 500 animals and 100 different species—many of which are endangered species native to New Zealand, including Sumatran tigers, the miniature Sun Bear, the smallest of the bear species. The zoo is also involved with a group in parts of Asia called “Free the Bears”, lions, and many more. The zoo is dedicated to quality, sustainable enclosures for its population, which include solar heating and power, and intimate one-on-one encounters with the animals to educate on the importance of natural preservation.
2. Toronto Zoo, Ontario, Canada
The Toronto Zoo houses 5000 animals from 460 species around the world. This zoo boasts some truly unique exhibits—such as camel rides, sting ray touch tanks. Plus, enclosures for numerous endangered baby additions like Gaur (a type of Indian bison), spider monkeys, Grevy’s Zebras, African Elephants, Greater Kudu (a type of antelope), Western lowland gorillas, and pygmy hippo. Not to mention many native animals to Canada, such as Grizzly bear, Moose, Wood Bison, raccoons, lynx, and cougar.
3. Australia Zoo, Sunshine Coast, Australia
Of course the wildest and most adventurous zoo on earth would have to have been founded by none other than the late Steve Irwin, Australia’s Crocodile Hunter. The zoo encourages hands-on encounters with various snakes, koalas, kangaroos, wombats, tigers, elephants, as well as viewings of over 1000 different animals. Make a reservation if you really want to make the most of your day!
4. Yokohama Zoo, Japan
Japan’s Yokohama Zoo, lovingly referred to as “Zoorasia” was established in 1999. A massive 100 acres in size, this lush, sprawling zoo gives extended room to it’s over 1500 animals from 150 species. In fact, the zoo is largely green in design, consisting of 7 separate ecological areas—the Asian Tropical Forest, Central Asian Highland, Oceanian Grassland, Japanese Countryside, African Tropical Rainforest, and the Amazon Jungle—all designed to mimic natural habitats. Because it’s so large, binoculars are given to each guest upon entrance for optimal spotting of the inhabitants.
5. Welsh Mountain Zoo, Colwyn Bay, North Wales
This 37 acre hillside park was established by naturalist Robert Jackson in 1963. Today, the Zoological Society of Wales has taken the helm and operates the zoo more like conservation lands for native wildlife within. Guests are treated to wooded acres, tree lined paths, and rolling hills teeming with grey heron, grass snakes, and badgers. The must-see exhibits are the modern Eurasian Otter showcase—outfitted with a river, and waterfall for happy otters to slide and frolic about—and that of the California Sea Lions and the Humboldt Penguin.