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10 Amazing Zoos Around the World

Read our list of the world’s top zoos and find out where you can spot exotic animals in places that are not only kind to animals, but doing their part to help save endangered wildlife around the globe.

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Helsinki Zoo

One of the only zoos in the world located on an island – the island of Korkeasaari in Helsinki, Finland – this is the country’s biggest zoo and houses amazing animals like baboons, otters, deer, guanacos, leopards, Siberian Tigers, and even bears. What adds to the beauty of this zoo is the natural wildlife that surrounds it on the island. From beautiful rainforests to mountainous peaks and numerous plant species, Helsinki Zoo is most certainly a destination you won’t regret visiting.

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Toronto Zoo

You may think you need to look far and wide for the best zoos in the world but there’s an impressive zoo right here in Canada. The Toronto Zoo is home to over 16,000 animals, including leopards, rhinos, hyenas, zebras, lions, and grizzly bears. The zoo also has an amazing gorilla habitat exhibit, and a Discovery Zone for children to learn more about the animals and their natural habitats. Another thing that makes this zoo worthy of a visit? Its conservation policy. The Toronto Zoo has helped in the effort to conserve endangered species from all around the world, and is presently one of the very few animal-friendly zoos in North America.

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Sao Paolo Zoo

If you’re planning a trip to Brazil, make sure to squeeze a stop at the Sao Paolo Zoo into your itinerary. The state of Sao Paolo has strict laws about animal cruelty and can actually give out fines of up to $435,000 for animal testing, per animal. So it’s no surprise that the Sao Paolo Zoo, with its over 3,200 animals, is animal-friendly one. They also invest time in conservation efforts, focusing on Brazil’s own endangered animals. At this magnificent park, you’ll see wild and exotic animals like lion marmosets, jaguars, parrots, wild cats, various birds, and macaws. Just the stunning surroundings of the park alone are worth a visit.

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Basel Zoological Garden

Located in Basel, Switzerland, Basel Zoo is a non-profit zoo that first opened up in 1874, making it one of the world’s oldest. Rated as one of the top zoos in the world by Forbes Traveler in 2008, Basel Zoo is an awe-inspiring sight to see. There are presently over 6,000 unique animal species housed there, including an Indian rhinoceros, pygmy hippopotamuses, okapis, monkeys, meerkats, elephants, sea lions, gorillas, and plenty more exotic animals from all around the world. Basel Zoo has also bred several endangered animals to keep their species alive, making it one of the most animal-friendly zoos, too. In the coming years, Basel Zoo has plans to replace the elephant house, originally built in 1953, and construct the largest aquarium Switzerland has ever seen.

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National Zoological Gardens of South Africa

As the largest zoo in South Africa, there isn’t much you won’t see at this amazing habitat for animals. While many of the animals have been bred and raised in the zoo, there is ample room in this vast park for the animals to roam freely. Here you’ll find African cheetah cubs (probably the most adorable thing you’ll ever see), lions, tigers, 93 different reptile species, hundreds of birds, the largest aquarium in the country, and the third largest collection of exotic trees in South Africa. If you’re looking for an adventure-packed day, with its magnificent animals in a cruelty-free environment, a trip to Pretoria, South Africa’s largest zoo may be your best bet.

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Singapore Zoo

If fears of animal cruelty deter you from visiting zoos, you’ll be glad to know that Singapore Zoo is dedicated to conservation and education and works hand in hand with the Wildlife Healthcare & Research Center to ensure the safety of all animal species. One of the first open concept zoos in the world, Singapore Zoo allows patrons to experience viewing different animal species without compromising the animals’ basic needs for ample room and a habitat safe for their development. At this large and impressive zoo, you’ll see elephants, lemurs, polar bears, flamingos, kangaroos, and even mandrills. This collection of exotic animals, living in open space at a safe distance from visitors, surely makes it one of the best zoos in the world.

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Wellington Zoo

Located in North Island, New Zealand, the country’s first and largest zoo is home to more than 500 different animals, and 100 different species. Dedicated to wildlife conservation, Wellington Zoo’s breeding programs have successfully helped saved endangered animals like the Sun Bear and the Sumatran Tiger. If you make your way to this zoo, you’ll also find yourself face-to-face with otters, dingoes, capuchins, marmosets, hedgehogs, red pandas, porcupines, monkeys, and the country’s official bird, the kiwi. This animal-friendly zoo is also eco-friendly, equipped with solar heating and power.

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Wildwood Discovery Park

This 40-acre zoo near Kent, United Kingdom, houses over 200 species of animals. At this park, which sees over 100,000 visitors annually, you’ll get to observe animals like boars, beavers, lynxes, and badgers, as well as amphibians, reptiles and birds. These impressive animals are living in recreated version of their natural habitats, with ample room to roam freely. This zoo is also involved in breeding and conservation efforts, in addition to offering curriculums to schools to teach children more about wild animals and the preservation of endangered species.

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Dallas Zoo

This 106-acre zoo located in Dallas, Texas is known for its humane treatment of animals and is currently being run by the non-profit Dallas Zoological Society. The zoo’s exhibits are divided into two sections: Zoo North and Wilds of Africa. Zoo North is the oldest part of the zoo and includes exhibits like the Otter Outpost and Endangered Tiger Habitat. The Wilds of Africa section is where you’ll find animals like penguins, chimpanzees, and crocodiles. The Dallas Zoo is one of the few zoos in North America that is known for proper treatment of animals and is also highly involved in conservation projects, in conjunction with organizations like the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

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Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

You’d never think a zoo located in a mall could be so large – but it is. The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo houses over 33,000 marine animals, amid man-made coral reefs, all within the Dubai Mall. A walk through the shark tunnel alone is an impressive view. As one of the largest aquariums in the world, it is separated into three sections: the rainforest, rocky shore, and living ocean. This is to offer the marine animals the best possible quality of life, by simulating their natural habitats. A visit to this amazingly large and diverse aquarium is definitely a jaw-dropping experience – and probably the most interesting day you’ll ever have at a mall.