In the Roman world, wild animals were brought to the arena to be slaughtered in bloody spectacles called “beast hunts.” These poor creatures were brought to Rome from all corners of the empire.
For the people living in the biggest city in the world at the time, it was the only place to see these strange creatures. Luckily, times have changed quite a bit and now we can simply visit a zoo and see animals from all around the world there.
In this article, you’ll discover the best zoos in the world that you can visit to see huge bears and big cats up close!
1. Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is one of the biggest zoos in the United States and is situated within Bronx Park in New York City. It’s also the largest metropolitan zoo in the US as it covers a total area of 265 acres (107 hectares).
It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York as it welcomes over 2 million visitors every year. It features a wide collection of animals, including a big bear section, a sea lion pool, and a world full of beautiful birds.
2. Berlin Zoological Garden
The Berlin Zoological Garden is both the oldest (opened in 1844) and the most popular zoo in Germany. It’s located in the most famous park in the capital of Germany called the Tiergarten and covers an area of 86.5 acres (35 hectares).
Apart from being the most popular zoo in Germany, it’s also the most-visited zoo in all of Europe with over 3.5 million yearly visitors. Some of its most popular inhabitants are polar bears, giant pandas, and 4 types of great apes. Its aquarium features one of the largest collections of ocean animals in Europe.
3. Smithsonian National Zoological Park
The Smithsonian National Zoological Park is part of the Smithsonian Institution and was founded in the year 1889 in Washington D.C. This makes it one of the oldest zoos in the United States. It’s also one of the few zoos in the country that doesn’t charge to enter.
The zoo is located in Rock Creek Park in the northwest of the city and covers an area of 163 acres (66 hectares). The zoo welcomes nearly 2 million visitors every year and is home to over 2,000 animals, including a wild variety of mammals and reptiles.
4. Singapore Zoo
The Singapore Zoo was originally known as the “Singapore Zoological Gardens” and is located on the shores of the Upper Seletar Reservoir. It covers an area of 69 acres (28 hectares) that consists of dense forests in Singapore.
The zoo is world-famous for displaying animals in a very realistic environment with viewing areas that are hidden from the animal’s sight through barriers or moats. The zoo is also home to the largest collection of orangutans in the world.
5. Schönbrunn Zoo
The Schönbrunn Zoo is locally known as “Tiergarten Schönbrunn” and is situated within the gardens of one of the most famous palaces in the world, Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. It covers an area of 42 acres (17 hectares) within the palace grounds.
This remarkable zoo was established as a menagerie of the palace in 1752 and is, therefore, the oldest continuously operating zoo in the world. The zoo also features multiple structures dating back to the Baroque era. Some of its most famous residents are a family of giant pandas.
6. Taronga Zoo Sydney
Taronga Zoo is located in Sydney, New South Wales, and is the largest zoo in Australia and covers a total area of 69 acres (28 hectares). It’s situated in the Mosman suburb on the shores of the Sydney Harbour, which means it offers great views of the city’s skyline.
The zoo is the perfect place to discover some of the most famous animals in Australia, including Kangaroos, Emus, and Tasmanian Devils. Apart from the extensive Australian section, it also features 7 different regions with animals from all over the world, making it one of the best zoos in the world to visit!
7. Detroit Zoo
The Detroit Zoo is remarkably located in the city of Royal Oaks, which is situated about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) north of the Detroit city limits. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Michigan and welcomes over 1.5 million visitors every year.
The zoo is huge as it covers an area of 125 acres (51 hectares) and houses well over 2,000 animals. Some of the most popular species at the zoo are lions, flamingos, and American bison. It also features an immense amphibian center in a wetland referred to as “Amphibiville.”
8. Toronto Zoo
The Toronto Zoo is an enormous zoo located in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It covers a total area of 710 acres (287 hectares) which makes it the largest zoo in the country. It also features one of the most diverse collections of animals in the world, consisting of over 5,000 animals and over 500 species.
The zoo is divided into 7 different regions and features animals from all around the world. At this zoo, you’ll find Mandarin ducks from Asia, cheetahs from Africa, and cougars and jaguars from the Americas, to name a few of the amazing animals you’ll discover here.