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List and Rank The North American Zoos You Have Visited!

 
 
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  #1
List and Rank The North American Zoos You Have Visited!
Old 25-06-2010

I searched the threads and did not find a specific one for this topic in North America, although there is certainly one for a worldwide Top 10. I am posting this in United States Forum because the majority are located in this country, but am including Canada and Mexico.

For my list, I include the few zoos outside of North America I have visited because I have posted the list elsewhere or mentioned ranks in previous reviews, so I will keep it consistent to avoid confusion, but I will make the other zoos in italics in the list. I will also follow each by the date of my last visit; in several cases, this helps explain the rank as a distant memory and a time when I was not paying as much attention to the subject!

1. San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA 2009
2. San Diego Wild Animal Park, Escondido, CA 2009
3. Bronx Zoo, New York City, NY 2007
4. Disney's Animal Kingdom, Orlando, FL 2010 (animal parts ranked only)
5. Toronto Zoo, Toronto, ON, Canada 2008
6. Miami Metrozoo, Miami, FL 2009
7. Busch Gardens Africa, Tampa, FL 2008 (animal parts ranked only)
(If the current giant rollercoaster building project turns out like I think it will, this rank will tumble dramatically because it is being built within the best animal exhibits areas)
8. Columbus Zoo, Columbus, OH 2009

9. Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia 2007
10. Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley, MN 2010
11. Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE 2009
12. St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis, MO 2009
13. Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, IL 2010
14. Los Angeles Zoo, Los Angeles, CA 1992 (distant memory)
15. Jacksonville Zoo, Jacksonville, FL 2009
16. Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA 2009

17. Tierpark Hellabrun, Munich, Germany 1995 (distant memory)
18. Denver Zoo, Denver, CO 2009
19. Cincinnati Zoo, Cincinnati, OH 2009
20. National Zoo, Washington, DC 2008
21. Dallas Zoo, Dallas, TX 2009
(If I see the new Giants of the Savanna, I suspect this rank will go up)
22. Calgary Zoo, Calgary, AB, Canada 2004
23. Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa, FL 2008
24. Fort Worth Zoo, Fort Worth, TX 2010
25. Indianapolis Zoo, Indianapolis, IN 2009
26. Kansas City Zoo, Kansas City, MO 2009

27. Schonnbrunn Tiergarten, Vienna, Austria 1995 (distant memory)
28. Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia, PA 2009
29. Oregon Zoo, Portland, OR 2009
(If I see Predators of the Serengeti, I suspect this rank will go up)
30. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Cleveland, OH 2009
31. Milwaukee County Zoo, Milwaukee, WI 2010
32. Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta, GA 2009
33. Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL 2010
34. San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio, TX 2010
35. Honolulu Zoo, Honolulu, HI 2008
36. Biodome, Montreal, QC, Canada 2008
37. Dallas World Aquarium, Dallas, TX 2009 (non-aquarium parts)
38. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ 1993 (distant memory)
39. Point Defiance Zoo and Aq., Tacoma, WA 2009
40. Houston Zoo, Houston, TX 2010
41. San Francisco Zoo, San Francisco, CA 2007
42. Phoenix Zoo, Phoenix, AZ 1985 (distant memory)
43. Oakland Zoo, Oakland, CA 2004
44. Palm Beach Zoo, West Palm Beach, FL 2009
45. Franklin Park Zoo, Boston, MA 2009

46. Wildlife World, Sydney, NSW, Australia 2007
47. Discovery Cove, Orlando, FL 2010
48. Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, FL 2010
49. Como Zoo, St. Paul, MN 2010
50. Lion Country Safari, Irvine, CA 1980 (distant memory and long gone)
51. St. Augustine Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, FL 2009

52. Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, Cairns, QLD, Australia 2007
53. Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara, CA 1994 (distant memory)
54. Santa Ana Zoo, Santa Ana, CA 1991 (distant memory)
55. Charles Paddock Zoo, Atascadero, CA 1994 (distant memory)
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  #2
Old 25-06-2010

I'm sure I'll be editing my list later this summer when I visit a couple more zoos.

1.) Cleveland Zoo, Cleveland OH 2000 & 2010
2.) Toronto Zoo, Toronto ON 2000, 2007, 2010
3.) Buffalo Zoo, Buffalo NY 1990-2010
4.) Seneca Park Zoo, Rochester NY 1990-2010
5.) Erie Zoo, Erie PA 2010
6.) National Zoo 1995 (distant memory)
7.) North America Zoo in Hershey Park, Hershey PA 1995 (distant memory)
8.) Ross Park Zoo, Binghamton Zoo 2003
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  #3
Old 25-06-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by geomorph View Post
I searched the threads and did not find a specific one for this topic in North America, although there is certainly one for a worldwide Top 10. I am posting this in United States Forum because the majority are located in this country, but am including Canada and Mexico.

For my list, I include the few zoos outside of North America I have visited because I have posted the list elsewhere or mentioned ranks in previous reviews, so I will keep it consistent to avoid confusion, but I will make the other zoos in italics in the list. I will also follow each by the date of my last visit; in several cases, this helps explain the rank as a distant memory and a time when I was not paying as much attention to the subject!

1. San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA 2009
2. San Diego Wild Animal Park, Escondido, CA 2009
3. Bronx Zoo, New York City, NY 2007
4. Disney's Animal Kingdom, Orlando, FL 2010 (animal parts ranked only)
5. Toronto Zoo, Toronto, ON, Canada 2008
6. Miami Metrozoo, Miami, FL 2009
7. Busch Gardens Africa, Tampa, FL 2008 (animal parts ranked only)
(If the current giant rollercoaster building project turns out like I think it will, this rank will tumble dramatically because it is being built within the best animal exhibits areas)
8. Columbus Zoo, Columbus, OH 2009

9. Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia 2007
10. Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley, MN 2010
11. Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE 2009
12. St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis, MO 2009
13. Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, IL 2010
14. Los Angeles Zoo, Los Angeles, CA 1992 (distant memory)
15. Jacksonville Zoo, Jacksonville, FL 2009
16. Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA 2009

17. Tierpark Hellabrun, Munich, Germany 1995 (distant memory)
18. Denver Zoo, Denver, CO 2009
19. Cincinnati Zoo, Cincinnati, OH 2009
20. National Zoo, Washington, DC 2008
21. Dallas Zoo, Dallas, TX 2009
(If I see the new Giants of the Savanna, I suspect this rank will go up)
22. Calgary Zoo, Calgary, AB, Canada 2004
23. Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa, FL 2008
24. Fort Worth Zoo, Fort Worth, TX 2010
25. Indianapolis Zoo, Indianapolis, IN 2009
26. Kansas City Zoo, Kansas City, MO 2009

27. Schonnbrunn Tiergarten, Vienna, Austria 1995 (distant memory)
28. Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia, PA 2009
29. Oregon Zoo, Portland, OR 2009
(If I see Predators of the Serengeti, I suspect this rank will go up)
30. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Cleveland, OH 2009
31. Milwaukee County Zoo, Milwaukee, WI 2010
32. Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta, GA 2009
33. Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL 2010
34. San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio, TX 2010
35. Honolulu Zoo, Honolulu, HI 2008
36. Biodome, Montreal, QC, Canada 2008
37. Dallas World Aquarium, Dallas, TX 2009 (non-aquarium parts)
38. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ 1993 (distant memory)
39. Point Defiance Zoo and Aq., Tacoma, WA 2009
40. Houston Zoo, Houston, TX 2010
41. San Francisco Zoo, San Francisco, CA 2007
42. Phoenix Zoo, Phoenix, AZ 1985 (distant memory)
43. Oakland Zoo, Oakland, CA 2004
44. Palm Beach Zoo, West Palm Beach, FL 2009
45. Franklin Park Zoo, Boston, MA 2009

46. Wildlife World, Sydney, NSW, Australia 2007
47. Discovery Cove, Orlando, FL 2010
48. Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, FL 2010
49. Como Zoo, St. Paul, MN 2010
50. Lion Country Safari, Irvine, CA 1980 (distant memory and long gone)
51. St. Augustine Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, FL 2009

52. Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, Cairns, QLD, Australia 2007
53. Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara, CA 1994 (distant memory)
54. Santa Ana Zoo, Santa Ana, CA 1991 (distant memory)
55. Charles Paddock Zoo, Atascadero, CA 1994 (distant memory)
Great list.

I guess I'm a little surprised--knowing what it is you look for in a zoo--that Toronto ranks so high, because as far as I've seen it has zero "great" exhibits or exhibit complexes. Massive collection, for sure...

And I agree that Busch is building itself down the list--its most recent animal exhibit ("Jungala") dropped it a few notches in my book, and if they are ruining the African Plains with yet more amusement park "iron and fluff" it will continue to fall down the charts. Ditto for the once-great/now increasingly confused SDWAP--zip lines, hot air balloons, paved roads with curbs, churro stands, single-species paddocks with simple chain link fencing and massively-obtrusive holding bomas seem to be inexorably replacing the huge mixed open field exhibits that once made this place pretty spectacular.

Also hard to put Como zoo or Franklin Park ahead of Santa Barbara. The latter's location alone elevates it for me.
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  #4
Old 25-06-2010

1. San Diego (2009): 9.3 rating
2. Henry Doorly Zoo (2009): 9.1
3. Bronx Zoo (2009): 9.0
4. SDWAP (2009): 8.2
5. Miami (2008): 7.6
6. Columbus (2009): 7.6
7. Phoenix (2007): 7.2
8. Kansas City (2009): 6.9
9. National Zoo (2010): 6.9
10. Philadelphia (2009): 6.8
11. Maryland (2010): 6.7
12. Lincoln Park (2009): 6.6
13. LA (2009): 6.4
14. World Wildlife Zoo (2006): 6.2
15. Pittsburgh (2008): 6.1
16. Out of Africa (2007): 4.9
17. Salisbury Zoo (2010): 4.0
18. Orange County Zoo (2010) 4.0
19. Santa Ana Zoo (2007) 3.8
20. Brandywine Zoo (2010) 3.7

Last edited by mweb08; 25-06-2010 at 03:57 PM..
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  #5
Old 25-06-2010

@geomorph: Thanks for providing your fellow ZooChatters with such an extensive and intriguing list, as it allows us to debate your choices! By late August I have high hopes to having seen 56 out of the 60 best zoos in America (taken from the book "America's Best Zoos") and so I intend on posting my own rankings soon afterwards as I feel that I'll have a comprehensive collection of visits to file through. I'll have seen all of those 56 great zoos since 2006, therefore they should all be fresh in my mind.

Naturally lists are subjective, but on first glance you have many great zoos that I wholeheartedly agree with. San Diego, San Diego WAP, Bronx, Columbus, Omaha, Minnesota and Miami are 7 of your top 10 North American zoos, and I'd probably agree with each and every choice. However, Toronto is a zoo that would probably not even crack my top 30 and I'm not a big fan of the "theme park zoos" such as Busch Gardens and Disney's Animal Kingdom so there are also some obvious differences that we have.
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  #6
Old 25-06-2010

For my list, it will mainly be Florida Zoo but hopefully 2-3 more zoological parks will be added to this after this summer:

1)Disney Animal Kingdom(2008)
2)Jacksonville Zoo(2010)
3)Zoo Atlanta(2009)
4)St. Augustine Alligator Farm(2009)

Aquarium:
1)Georgia Aquarium
2)SeaWorld Orlando

Those zoos that will hopefully be added will be the Lowry's Park Zoo, Busch Gardens Africa and the Central Florida Zoo

Last edited by JaxElephant; 26-06-2010 at 10:19 AM..
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  #7
Old 25-06-2010

1)Jacksonville Zoo (1968-2010)
2) Seneca Park Zoo (early 70`s)
3) Buffalo Zoo (early 70`s)
4) Toronto Zoo (early 70`s)
5) Bronx Zoo (early 70`s)
6) Virginia Zoo (late 80`)
7) Lowry Park Zoo (2000)
8) ST Augustine Alligtor Farm(1968-2010)
Some of the early dates I was with my grandfather (he was a trucker) I bareley remember them but maybe ill visit them and some more zoo real soon.
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  #8
Old 25-06-2010

I can't resist:

1. Miami
2. NC
3. Bronx
4. Toronto
5. Columbus
6. Cincinnati
7. National
8. Lowry
9. Riverbanks
10. Philly

and for fun,

1. Georgia Aquarium
2. Adventure Aquarium
3. Mystic Aquarium
4. NY Aquarium
5. New England Aquarium
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  #9
Wink Blackduiker
Old 25-06-2010

1. San Diego Zoo 9.5
2. Seattle Woodland Park Zoo 9.3
3. Disney's Animal Kingdom 9.3
4. San Diego Wild Animal Park 9.2
5. St. Louis Zoo 8
6. Phoenix Zoo 7.5
7. Los Angeles Zoo 7.3
8. The Living Desert Zoo 7.1
9. Lion Country Safari California (Closed). 7.1
10. Honolulu Zoo 7
11. Santa Barbara Zoo 7
12. San Francisco Zoo 6.7
13. Sacramento Zoo 6.6
14. Los Angeles County Natural History Museum Insect Zoo 5.7
15. Santa Ana Zoo 4
16. Las Vegas South Florida Zoo 2.6
17. Vancouver Stanley Park Children's Zoo 2.5
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  #10
Old 25-06-2010

After eliminating aquariums, rescue shelters, closed facilities, specialized breeding centers, and foreign zoos, here is my list. (Dates with a ? are guesses as to last visit).

1) Northwest Trek (2000?)
2) San Diego Wild Animal Park (2009)
3) Memphis Zoo (2006?)
4) Minnesota Zoo (1998?)
5) San Diego Zoo (2009)
6) Nashville Zoo (2009)
7) Arizona Sonora Desert Museum (2010)
8) Bronx Zoo (2001)
9) Busch Gardens (2000?)
10) Cincinnati Zoo (2001)
11) Sedgwick County Zoo (2001)
12) Fort Worth Zoo (2006?)
13) Lowry Park Zoo (2003?)
14) Palm Beach Zoo (2005?)
15) Saint Louis Zoo (1999)
16) The Living Desert (2007)
17) Woodland Park Zoo (2000?)
18) Houston Zoo (2002?)
19) Los Angeles Zoo (2010)
20) Philadelphia Zoo (2007?)
21) Phoenix Zoo (2010)
22) Indianapolis Zoo (1999)
23) Reid Park Zoo (2010)
24) Maryland Zoo (2005)
25) Wildlife World Zoo (2010)
26) Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (2009)
27) Dallas Zoo (2003?)
(a revisit with GOTS open will move this listing WAY UP)
28) Denver Zoo (2009)
29) Columbus Zoo (2001)
30) Rio Grande Zoo (2004?)
31) National Zoo (2005)
(a revisit with ASIA and ELEPHANTS open will move this listing WAY UP)
32) Wildlife West (2003?)
33) Disneys Animal Kingdom (2001)
34) Fossil Rim (2005?)
35) San Antonio Zoo (1998?)
36) Out Of Africa (2010)
37) Living Desert State Park (2003?)
38) Santa Barbara Zoo (2008?)
39) Brevard Zoo (2001)
40) Central Florida Zoo (2005?)
41) The Texas Zoo (1998?)
42) Caribbean Gardens (2003?)
43) Santa Ana Zoo (2000?)
44) Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch (1998?)
45) Spring River Park Zoo (2004?)
46) Southern Nevada Zoo (1997)
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  #11
Old 26-06-2010

mweb and blackduiker, may I ask about your numbered rating systems?
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  #12
Old 26-06-2010

I can't claim anything scientific with mine. It's just a way to show how far apart the zoos are in my opinion.
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  #13
Old 26-06-2010

Can someone tell me what is going on at my beloved Busch Gardens that you guys are talking about?
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  #14
Old 26-06-2010

Hmmm, an interesting prospect you have put forward. Let's see what I can come up with.

1. Dallas Zoo (about an hour-and-a-half ago)
2. Caldwell Zoo (April 2010)
3. Oklahoma City Zoo (April 2010)
4. Fort Worth Zoo (a few weeks ago)
5. Cameron Park Zoo (April 2010)
6. Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum (last weeks)
7. Houston Zoo (March 2010)
8. San Antonio Zoo (March 2010)
9. Abilene Zoo (August 2009)
10. Frank Buck Zoo (November 2009)
11. Ellen Trout Zoo (July 2009)

Other Zoos I've visited, but don't remember enough to rank.
Indianapolis (2001)
National Zoo (1996)
ZooAmerica (1987)

Aquariums
1. Dallas World Aquarium (Tuesday)
2. Oklahoma Aquarium (Last Tuesday)

Others I've visited, but don't remember well enough.
Texas State Aquarium (1996?)
National Aquarium (1987)
Living Seas at Epcot (1998 and 2000)

Wildlife Parks
1. Fossil Rim (February 2010)
2. Arbuckle Wilderness (Last Monday)
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  #15
Old 26-06-2010

Arizona Docent, check this thread, I just updated it:

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