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Worst Zoo in the U.S. You've Ever Been To

Discussion in 'United States' started by CarLover, 20 Mar 2019.

  1. CarLover

    CarLover Well-Known Member

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    In my experience, the worst zoos in the U.S. that I've been to thus far have been the now closed Bucks County Zoo, the Seaport Aquarium, and the Brandywine Zoo. Although I think these were the worst zoos I have been to, I don't necessarily think they're bad zoos. The Brandywine Zoo wishes to expand and at least has a few animals not found in nearby zoos, like the serval and swift fox. When this zoo grows larger, I'll come back and reevaluate it. The Bucks County Zoo was an indoor zoo that had good intentions, but community backlash and lack of funds caused it to close down. It was only open for three years and it looked more like an exotic pet store more than a zoo. Like Brandywine, it had animals you normally don't see in other zoos like Philadelphia and the Bronx. It had a caracal, fennec foxes, a spectacled owl, and macaws, which are often used as educational or ambassador animals more than animals on exhibit. The Seaport Aquarium is a small aquarium on Wildwood Boardwalk and is not great. I found most of the exhibits livable. The animals were not kept in squalor conditions and had decent sized exhibits. My least favorite exhibit was the alligator exhibit, which had a tiny pool and fake, plastic grass. Even so, I know there are far worse places for animals and the three places I mentioned were not as bad as some roadside piss-pour zoos in the Badlands.
     
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  2. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I've visited exactly 285 zoos and 83 aquariums just in the United States and my choice as the all-time worst zoo that I've ever seen in America would likely be Clay Center Zoo in Kansas.

    The 'marquee' animal at Clay Center Zoo is an American Black Bear and it lives in a dank, grimy dungeon. Here is the entire exhibit:

    American Black Bear Cage | ZooChat

    Dishonourable mentions (in alphabetical order):

    Alligator Alley - Wisconsin
    Animal Gardens Petting Zoo - Wisconsin
    Arbuckle Wilderness Park - Oklahoma
    Bayou Wildlife Park - Texas
    Bear Den Zoo - Wisconsin
    East Texas Gators & Wildlife Park - Texas
    Franklin Drive-Thru Safari - Texas
    Gators & Friends: Alligator Park & Exotic Zoo - Louisiana
    Glacier Ridge Animal Farm - Wisconsin
    G W Exotic Animal Park - Oklahoma
    Jo-Don Farms - Wisconsin
    Northwest Arkansas Reptile Museum - Arkansas (now closed)
    Olympic Game Farm - Washington
    Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch - Texas
    Sierra Safari Zoo - Nevada
    Special Memories Zoo - Wisconsin
    Wild Wilderness Drive-Through Safari - Arkansas

    Terrible Aquariums:

    Beaver Springs Park Aquarium - Wisconsin
    Morro Bay Aquarium - California (now closed)
    National Park Aquarium - Arkansas
    Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab & Aquarium - California
    Seaside Aquarium - Oregon
    Westport Aquarium - Washington
     
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  3. Pleistohorse

    Pleistohorse Well-Known Member

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    I’ve avoided some mentioned above. The worst I’ve been too are now closed, WPA era, small-town New England Zoos. Mohegan Park Zoo In Norwich Connecticut and New London Zoo, also in Connecticut.
     
  4. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    What didn't you like about this facility. Seemed pretty average to me.
     
  5. drill

    drill Well-Known Member

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    Noah's Last Stop in Virginia is the worst collection I have visited by far.
     
  6. drill

    drill Well-Known Member

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    [QUOTE="snowleopard, post: 1127753, member: 473"
    Jo-Don Farms - Wisconsin
    [/QUOTE]
    It didn't appear that bad to me.
     
  7. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member

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    Bear Country USA's bear pasture is awful. They are like cattle. The other exhibits aren't too bad.

    Point Defiance was bad when I visited in 1995. I thought there were so many awful exhibits. Not sure what it's like now.
     
  8. Great Argus

    Great Argus Well-Known Member

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    Point Defiance was pretty decent when I visited in 2017. A few exhibits weren't great, but overall it was a pretty good zoo in my opinion.

    Worst one I've been to is probably Folsom Zoo. It's not really a bad zoo, just exhibits aren't super great due to low budget. Worth mentioning it's been several years since I've been, I don't know whether it's improved or declined since then.
     
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  9. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    Douglas Wildlife Zoo (Douglas, Arizona NOW CLOSED).

    It was a family home where the garage doubled as a pet shop and they had a two acre yard that was the zoo. Animals in small cement and metal cages that were smaller and worst than the temporary night quarters at any mainstream zoo. After my visit (I was the only visitor even though it was a weekend) around 1994 I wrote to several government agencies to have it shut down. The USDA replied that they did an inspection and cited them for a couple violations, but technically their exhibits were not against the law. They eventually (not sure when) shut down on their own, presumably due to lack of visitation.
     
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  10. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  11. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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  12. drill

    drill Well-Known Member

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    [/QUOTE] What I meant was, why did you single out Jo-Don. Many non-AZA zoos have far worse exhibits than these for all three species you used as proof. the cougar exhibit at Waccatee Zoo makes this one look like the Whale Shark tank at the Georgia Aquarium. Waccatee zoo in itself is one of the 5 worst zoos in the country.
     
  13. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    What I meant was, why did you single out Jo-Don. Many non-AZA zoos have far worse exhibits than these for all three species you used as proof. the cougar exhibit at Waccatee Zoo makes this one look like the Whale Shark tank at the Georgia Aquarium. Waccatee zoo in itself is one of the 5 worst zoos in the country.[/QUOTE]

    That's an easy question. I singled out Jo-Don Farms because of the 420+ zoos that I've visited it is easily one of the worst and in fact should really be closed down. I've never visited Waccatee Zoo and so that is the reason why I didn't add it to my list. If you say that there are worse Cougar exhibits than the small one at Jo-Don Farms then I'd like to see examples of those in the gallery. To imagine such enclosures makes me shake my head because many 'roadside menageries' seem to still exist in the United States.
     
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  14. drill

    drill Well-Known Member

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    Waccatee Zoo (from Yelp)
    Red fox (there are 2 in here, this is exactly half the exhibit.)
    [​IMG]
    Gibbon (Haven't seen this species here)
    [​IMG]
    Vervet
    [​IMG]
    Hamadryas baboon
    [​IMG]
    Tiger
    [​IMG]
    Outdoor ring-tailed lemur exhibit

    [​IMG]
    American black bears
    [​IMG]
    Lions

    [​IMG]
    Jaguar (now cougar exhibit)

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. aardvark250

    aardvark250 Well-Known Member

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    That's look like something out in Afghanistan...
     
  16. d1am0ndback

    d1am0ndback Well-Known Member

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    GW Zoo hands down is the worst zoo I have ever been to. I'm not sure I saw a single acceptable animal enclosure other than their camel having a decent amount of open space.

    Branson's Wild World is also worth mentioning because the theming is tacky, enclosures awful, signage embarrassingly incorrect (spelling and in terms of what is in the enclosure), and a disgustingly small space for 3 jackals all of which appeared to be incredibly stressed out.
     
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  17. CarLover

    CarLover Well-Known Member

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    Appalling
     
  18. drill

    drill Well-Known Member

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    Kabul Zoo doesn't look that bad.
     
  19. aardvark250

    aardvark250 Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea what it looks like, but this is something out of a third world countries.
     
  20. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    If you have no idea what it looks like then please try to avoid stereotyping a whole country based on your generalised conceptions.