They attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year and sprawl for acres upon acres. The world’s largest zoos can be measured multiple ways, but the best way is to consider the number of species held in captivity and the total land area of the zoo. With this in mind, here is a list of the top 10 largest zoos in the world.
The San Diego Zoo is located in Balboa Park, San Diego, California. The zoo houses over 3,700 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies and is situated on 100 acres of land. This zoo pioneered the way for open-air exhibits, eliminating cages for each of the displays. The San Diego Zoo is also one of the most active zoos in conservation and preservation efforts, breeding many species in captivity for the purpose of eventually releasing them into their native habitats.
The London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo, opened in 1828 for the purpose of scientific study. It was opened to the public in 1847 and now houses 755 species of animals throughout its 36 acres of land. This zoo, sometimes referred to as Regent’s Zoo, is comprised of over 16,000 individual animals. The most recent project being undertaken by the zoo is the Tiger S.O.S. program, which is intended to raise funds to help save the Sumatran Tiger.
The Bronx Zoo is located in the Bronx borough of New York City. As one of the world’s oldest metropolitan zoos, this zoo is built to incorporate the Bronx River among its displays of over 4,000 total animals representing about 650 different species. The zoo itself comprises 265 acres of park property and naturalistic lands, making it one of the largest zoos in the world.
Located on 210 acres of land in Pretoria, South Africa, this zoo is the national zoo of South Africa. The zoo is split into two main areas, one of which is flat and the other of which is located on the slopes of a hill. The two halves are divided by the Apies River, which flows through this zoo that houses over 705 species of animals. Of the 705 species, there are approximately 9,000 individual animals as a part of this zoo.
Opened in 1864, the Moscow Zoo is among the oldest zoos in Europe. Home to around 927 species, the zoo spreads over an area approximately 53 acres big and houses over 6,000 individual animals. The zoo was recently renovated in the 1990's, expanding the property of the zoo and developing a footbridge that connected the two parts of the zoo that were previously separated by Bolshaya Gruzinskaya Street. The newest exhibits for this zoo include a sea aquarium, an aviary, a sea lion exhibit and new attractions for children.
The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is a zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. The zoo has been developed from what was once the Riverview Park Zoo, which was built in 1864, and now sprawls over 130 acres. Home to 962 different species of animals, this zoo is notable for housing the largest cat complex in North America. The zoo is Nebraska’s number one paid attendance attraction and welcomes millions of visitors each year.
This zoo was founded in 1906 during the late Qing Dynasty and is now home to one of the largest animal collections in China. Set on 219 acres of land and housing 950 species of animals, the Beijing Zoo is best known for its collection of rare animals endemic to China. This includes Giant Pandas, the zoo’s most popular animals, the South China Tiger, Chinese Alligators and the Chinese Great Salamander. With more than six million people that come to see it each year, Beijing Zoo is among the world’s largest zoos in existence today.
The Toronto Zoo is located in Toronto, Canada and was opened in 1974 as the Metropolitan Toronto Zoo. As the largest zoo in Canada at 710 acres and 491 species of animals, this Zoo is divided into seven different regions representing animals from various parts of the world. The zoo currently houses over 5,000 animals total that are view-able from various levels, making the zoo an attraction for visitors of all ages.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a non-profit zoo in Powell, Ohio. This zoo has been named the number one zoo in the United States on multiple occasions. Currently home to 793 different species of over 9,000 total animals, the zoo enjoys over 2.3 million annual visitors. The zoo has gained its world-renowned status from its own conservation program and extensive funding to outside programs as well. The 580 acres of land is home to the zoo itself as well as Zoombezi Bay and Jungle Jack’s landing, offering multiple attractions on its grounds.
The Berlin Zoological Garden was opened in 1844 and is the oldest zoo in Germany. Located in Berlin’s Tiergarten, the zoo is home to 1,500 species and 19,500 total animals. At this number, the Berlin Zoological Garden holds the most comprehensive collection of species in the world. The zoo is considered to be the most visited zoo in Europe and among one of the most popular zoos worldwide. Over 3 million visitors come to the zoo annually to witness the most famous attraction offered which is the feeding of the animals.