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Best Giraffe Exhibits in the US

Discussion in 'United States' started by GraysonDP, 16 Jun 2015.

  1. GraysonDP

    GraysonDP Well-Known Member

    24 May 2015
    Washington DC
    I'm curious what fellow zoochatters regard as the best giraffe exhibits in the country. From the zoos I've been to, there are several great ones but I find the prevalence of above average exhibits makes it so not too many stand out. I haven't yet seen Cheyenne Mountain's enclosure, which I know is fairly prestigious. Of the zoos I've visited, here is my list.
    1.Dallas Zoo- The most immersive, detailed giraffe exhibit I've ever seen. It's also one well designed to provide giraffes opportunities for enrichment and prolific social interaction. They share it with zebras, impalas, and ostriches.
    2. San Diego Safari Park- The park's field exhibits allow giraffes to roam through the dry, expansive valleys that characterize this institution. A special treat is it exhibits Rothschild's giraffes, a rarity compared to reticulated and Masai subspecies. In two exhibits, they share spaces with white rhinos, zebras, wildebeests, Thomsons gazelle, waterbuck, lechwe, cape buffalo and more. The space and landscape of their exhibits make this one a winner.
    3. Columbus Zoo- After a long absence, the giraffes have come back to the zoo and have been given an exhibit worthy of such beloved animals. The Heart of Africa is a lot like SDSP's exhibit in concept but is greener and has been viewing opportunities. This is one of the most immersive savannas in the country and a highlight of this great zoo. It also has giraffe feeding.
    4. Animal Kingdom- One thing I love about the savanna containing the giraffes, wildebeests, Thomson's gazelles, etc. here is that it combines both savanna woodland and open plains portions in the same exhibit. The giraffes can browse from the trees while the wildebeests and gazelles can graze from the grass. The naturalism is top notch and the habitat is one of the most true to Africa enclosures for the species you'll find.
    5. Busch Gardens- The main drawbacks of the revolutionary Serengeti Plain exhibit is it desperately calls for better viewing opportunities and it's hard to look at it without seeing roller coasters in the background. That being said, it's a spectacular exhibit FILLED with giraffes and other African hoofstock. At 65 acres, it's one of the largest single enclosures in the country.
    6. Bronx Zoo- This often-overlooked exhibit provides a great visitor experience for watching the giraffes. It's a woodland habitat with many opportunities for the giraffes to browse and it's fairly immersive. I appreciate the wideness and circular nature of the enclosure- it gives the giraffes good space to roam. There are also a large number of the species at the zoo, which is always a plus.
    7. North Carolina Zoo- This 3.5 acre habitat with zebras and ostriches is one of the lushest I've seen,is very well planted, and contains detailed rocks. The river in it is also very nice and it provides opportunities for the giraffes to browse foliage and enrichments.
    8. Jacksonville Zoo- This one does a good job of embracing the African theme while blending in some Florida palm trees. Several giraffes have 2 acres to roam and the exhibit is beautiful. Visitors can view and feed them from an elevated deck.
    9. Detroit Zoo- This one has one of the few genuinely good giraffe houses in the country. It's Egyptian themed and was built in the 1920s. The outdoor space is nice and spacious.
    10. Lincoln Park Zoo- This indoor/outdoor exhibit does a great job at doing a lot in terms of naturalism and enrichment with limited space and an old building.
    Runner-ups: Zoo Miami, Nashville Zoo, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo, Brevard Zoo
    My least favorite giraffe exhibits are in San Diego, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. For a zoo with as many good exhibits as San Diego, it pains me to see giraffes in a crowded san pit on what used to be Elephant Mesa. My idea is maybe tearing down urban jungle or the remnants of Hoof and Horn Mesa to make a nice/immersive African hoofstock exhibit.