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Most overrated zoo

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by amur leopard, 25 Mar 2019.

  1. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    There is probably already a thread that talks about this, but what, in your opinions is the most overrated zoo in the world?
     
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  2. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member

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    Bronx
     
  3. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  4. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I'll go with Brookfield Zoo. A spacious zoo with a lot of history (founded in 1934), plenty of species (almost 500) but a plethora of outdated exhibits. There is some stuff to admire, such as Habitat Africa, Australia House, The Swamp and Great Bear Wilderness, but a large chunk of the infrastructure needs an upgrade. I enjoyed my solitary visit in 2008 and the facility is arguably one of the Top 25 zoos in the USA, but some zoo enthusiasts claim that it is a Top 10 American zoo and those days are long gone.
     
  5. WhistlingKite24

    WhistlingKite24 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Australia Zoo.
    A combination of its expensive entry fee, theme park-like set up, average collection of species and over commercialisation.
    Although the place has some very nice enclosures and areas, the zoo needs a new direction in my opinion.
     
  6. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

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    From a normal visitors perspective I would say Pairi Daiza. Everything looks great, but often isn't at closer inspection, but for many normal visitors it feels as the best zoo ever and its marketing department only reinforces that...

    From a zoo nerd perspective I would say Plzen. Specieswise it is amazing but many aviaries are overcrowded and many small mammal and primate enclosures are appaling, especially given their age.

    Valencia would also be a contender
     
  7. Imperator Furiosa

    Imperator Furiosa Well-Known Member

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    Agree with @snowleopard about Brookfield. The species list is quite impressive as a zoo nerd (especially for herps), but there aren't a ton of big crowd-pleasing species that would appeal to the average visitor. Many of the exhibits are outdated and abandoned exhibits/buildings are major unavoidable eyesores. It seems like more species are leaving than are being added. The grounds don't seem well maintained and the paths in certain areas may be challenging to visitors with limited mobility. No doubt it's still a fine facility, I do enjoy visiting it, but it's reputation as a world-class facility feels undeserved right now.
     
  8. Anniella

    Anniella Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if I can pick a single one, as I like most all of the big name zoos I have personally been to.

    I will say though, that while I actually do enjoy many things about Los Angeles Zoo (They have a great collection no doubt, and I love LAIR, for instance), I do think many of their newer exhibits are disappointing for their price tags. For example, Rainforest of the Americas did not feel like a rainforest at all when I was last there. Maybe if they were made for less money, it would be a little more understandable.

    That said, I don't know if I'd single it out as the most overrated, as it has its share of criticisms for many of its outdated enclosures, including for marquee species like lion, giraffe, American black bear, Indian rhino, etc.

    I don't think it's fair for me to rate this zoo in the present day, because I have not been since the 1990s, but I have talked to people who went to San Diego more recently and thought it was...just a normal zoo. Keep in mind I loved this zoo when I went. The various rainforest trails with gorillas, bonobos, tigers, and many birds, the hummingbird aviary and other walk-through aviaries, the open air reptile habitats, the large collection of Australasian birds, the one time I ever saw a Sumatran rhinoceros ..ooh I loved it, although I enjoyed the then named SDWAP more. Granted, I think in terms of collection it is definitely NOT a normal zoo, and overall it's of very high quality, but I can definitely see it being in the overrated category, because, like Los Angeles, it still has some areas of questionable quality, albeit it's undoubtedly of overall higher quality than Los Angeles by a large margin I'd say. So this is another contender I suppose, but I would want to visit San Diego again to make an assessment of it twenty-some-odd years later. And as I said, I definitely prefer the Park to the Zoo, and I say that as someone biased toward birds and reptiles more so than mammals.

    So with all that said, I'd say it's hard to say for me personally. :/ Besides, I can't rate big name European, Australian, or Midwestern facilities I have never been to.
     
  9. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Personally I might say Beauval. Its new developments are extremely impressive (Terre des lions) and the hippopotamus exhibit, but the big cat enclosures are just fenced off bits of land! I also think that Leipzig has a few problems (sea lion and penguin enclosures) and that London zoo is extreeeeeeemely overrated. Its gorilla enclosure isn't great, its animal list just isn't special at all and the enclosures it has are not especially good (apart from perhaps the new lion one). Pretty much all species are crowded at this zoo, so in my opinion that is the most overrated zoo in the world
     
  10. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    Aren't all big cat enclosures essentially that, with a little landscaping here and there.

    I disagree based on the fact that to be significantly overrated a zoo would have to be very highly rated to start with and, sadly, London simply isn't.
     
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  11. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Firstly, Beauval's enclosures are fenced off all around their perimeter, making it look more like a prison yard than an enclosure. Secondly, a lot of the enclosures don't have any landscaping at all, it is just French countryside. Most of them don't even have trees or anything to climb. Thirdly the areas of the enclosures are tiny and quite honestly ridiculous.

    Right well, firstly, London is significantly rated at the start. We nerds may all know that it is not great, but the average tourist would not. Instead, they would have heard that it is the world's oldest scientific zoo and has (I quote) 'an astonishing variety of species'. They will have also heard of it from across the globe. When I ask one of my friends to name a zoo when I go to Canada, they say 'London zoo!', not San Diego or Columbus or Henry Doorly or even Toronto, even though all of which are significantly closer. Lastly, some figures : 1 in 16 people who visit London visit the zoo. That is enormous compared to any other big city.
    So in conclusion, yes, maybe to us London zoo is not great, but to the tourists it is one of the most famous zoos in the world and that means they visit it.
     
  12. Kiwi1

    Kiwi1 Member

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    I was bought up on tales of London zoo from my English Grandmother who whenever she went back to the mother country would bring back a guide book full of exotic creatures I couldnt see here in NZ.

    Finally in 2006 I finally excitedly found myself entering the gates of this much hyped place and I was somewhat underwhelmed even then and it seems like it has got worse since.

    I finally got to San Diego a couple of years ago and that did live up to my rather lofty expectations.
     
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  13. NigeW

    NigeW Well-Known Member

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    I find it hard to get my head around San Diego appearing in this thread. Its a fabulous place.

    I agree, London Zoo carries fame and reputation way in advance of what it delivers. It is one of the world's oldest, has carried a comprehensive collection in the past, and is in one of the world's great capital cities. We on zoo chat know what to expect when we go, I suspect very few of joe public do. When we say "zoo", London is their benchmark. And sadly, it doesn't live up to that.
     
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  14. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely agree with @Kiwi1 and @NigeW. London zoo has won itself a (quite frankly, judging by the zoo today, undeserved) reputation.
     
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  15. Ebirah766

    Ebirah766 Well-Known Member

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    San Diego Zoo is an overindulgent zoo which essentially likes to flex on other zoos about how many rare species it has. Great example of what I like to call a metropolitan zoo, but in practice it's awful.

    Edit: The word that best describes this pit of a zoo is bloated
     
    Last edited: 29 Mar 2019
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  16. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    What is this supposed to even mean?
     
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  17. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I get it all fence (no glass viewing windows) and "small". To be fair that's not that unique but I can see your point.
     
  18. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    It's an argument but I still think you'll struggle to find many that actually visit it (zoo-nerd or not) and rate it very highly*.I can see it might have a good (leading to over-rated) reputation but I personally struggle to put much stock in media/perceived wisdom opinion, compared to actual visitor opinions.

    *Personally, I think until the recently announced aquarium closure London, large mammals aside, was still arguably one of the UK's better "large" zoos -but I'd always qualify my opinion to some extent and would struggle to praise it enough to make anyone consider I'd seriously overrated it.

    Where's that fact from? Given 30 million foreign tourists (ignoring UK ones) are supposed to visit London each year that'd yield almost 1.9 million visitors a year. I'm sure the zoo's total visitor numbers are considerably less than that.
     
    Last edited: 29 Mar 2019
  19. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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  20. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    Would have to agree 100% with this they do indeed need a new direction since Steve's passing it appears little progress apart from small add on's, while they do get many comment's on their website from people overseas wanting to visit because of the TV fame
     
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