Its school holidays in many regions around the world at the moment, and that means there are lots of children to be entertained and looking for things to do. This made me think about some of the holiday activities people incorporate into their holidays and zoos were the first thing that came to mind. I have lots of fond memories of my zoo visits as a child and as an adult, so when I Googled ‘Top 10 zoos to visit around the world’, I was thrilled to realise that I have personally visited four that are considered to be amongst the top 5 – 10 (depending on the site you end up checking out!).
So what better topic than talking about my favourite zoos, especially if many in the world tend to agree, so here’s my personal top six!
Chester Zoo will always be my personal favourite. I grew up near to Chester Zoo and it was a spot that I visited several times as a child. Check out the fabulous photo, which I can’t believe we found… yes, that’s me alongside the flamingos! Chester Zoo was the first zoo to successfully breed Asian elephants (and I always remember my visit to see Jubilee, the first baby elephant to be born at the zoo) and has always been a leader as far as zoos go. With over 20,000 animals in residence and home to several zoographical regions, if you’re ever in the UK, make sure you stop in for a visit as you will not be disappointed.
2) Taronga Zoo (located in Sydney, Australia)
I lived in Sydney for a few years and Taronga Zoo was a place I frequently visited when people came to stay and I’ve also taken my kids down to visit when they were younger as I did not want them to miss. Taronga Zoo is not only is home to an amazing menagerie of animals and birds, it boasts stunning views of the Sydney Harbour. The zoo can be accessed by car or by short ferry and cable car ride from Circular Quay which adds to the fun. Taronga Zoo also hosts a number of concerts, events including Roar & Snore (how great is that for a name!?) and is well worth a visit during the Sydney Vivid Festival as they showcase amazing exhibits over that period that can only be viewed in May/June to co-incide with the festival.
Singapore Zoo is listed near the top of all the lists I checked out and is a ‘must do’ if visiting Singapore. Singapore Zoo has eleven ecological zones so is one of the most diverse zoos on offer, but the Singapore Night Safari (which is a completely different area to the main zoo) is Singapore’s number one tourist attraction and an amazing family night out. The Night Safari is a unique experience where trolleys meander through the zoo, searching for animals; the sounds are incredible and the journey is a real adventure experience that is definitely not to be missed and tours head out nightly from the city, making it an easy evening activity.
Australia Zoo is the creation of the famous Irwin family and located on the Sunshine Coast, an hour north of Brisbane. Steve Irwin and his wife, Terri, turned the reptile park into a national phenomenon which people still flock to every year, even though Steve is no longer alive. The zoo is famed as home of ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ and for its Crocoseum ‘Croc Show’ which is renowned worldwide, but the zoo also has a number of geographical areas and is huge. Both of my boys have participated in the ‘Zookeeper for a Day’ program when they were younger, and this is a fantastic experience for children to participate in and learn about animals and the environment.
The Western Plains Zoo is probably Australia’s most famous zoo and is located in regional NSW. A unique opportunity that is offered here is to stay in the Zoofari Lodge which is a fantastic overnight for those wanting to travel from Sydney or Brisbane, or even break a trip between Brisbane and Melbourne or Canberra. In the Zoofari Lodge there are five luxurious African-style lodges and also a Lodge Guest House located near to the African Savannah area of the zoo. Guests experience a magical sunrise with the animals meandering across the savannah which is amazing.
San Diego Zoo features as the number one zoo to visit in the world on a number of lists, and even though it is my personal number six, I can see why everyone loves this great zoo. We combined the zoo with a visit to SeaWorld (so that we could see Shamu the killer whale) and this was a great combination and gave us the chance to see a number of exotic animals in recreated geographical habitats. San Diego is starting to really take off so make sure that you incorporate a visit to the zoo if you happen to visit!
So there you have my top pick of the zoos that I have visited and I would not hesitate in recommending any of these to be incorporated into your next family holiday. Zoos are fantastic for all ages to visit and offer a variety of fun, education and the chance to see a variety of animals, birds and wildlife.
For more information on any of the Zoos mentioned above, check out the following websites: