In Lowry's expanded Safari Africa exhibit, your family can climb up on a platform to offer one of the giraffes a snack. Since Lowry Park was the first zoo in the country with an accredited preschool, the staff is especially comfortable fielding questions from families.
And if you need to relax or nurse, there's even a “mother stop,” a shaded area with benches and child-size picnic tables. On weekends in the summer at the Chicago-area park, they can release ladybugs in the nearby children's garden or help harvest some crops.
“We'll parade across the zoo with kids carrying the corn to the bison exhibit or the herbs to the area where monkeys live,” says Stuart Stahl, Ph.D., Brookfield's director. As your family walks around, chances are you'll stumble across a zoo chat” -- there are about 300 of them a week -- in which keepers answer questions about the different species and animal habitats.
It's practically impossible to do everything in a day, but try not to miss Dolphins in Action and the new Hamill Family Wild Encounters, where kids can touch and groom goats and get up-close to wallabies and parakeets, take a spin on one of the country's largest hand-carved wooden carousels, and see the Mexican gray wolves at Ravenstein Wolf Woods. Then you walk inside a chilly cove and watch three other species (the zoo has 91 penguins in all) as they swim or congregate above the water.
“Even toddlers in strollers get a great view,” says Louise Bradshaw, education director. At the Emerson Children’s Zoo, kids can go down a clear tube slide that crosses through the river-otter exhibit, giving them a nose-to-nose view.
Follow the sea lions at the underwater window as they show off their athleticism, take the trail through the deer yard and then meet our playful river otters and industrious beavers. The fun continues at RPG Aquarium where you can touch a stingray and see the sharks in their two-story tank.
Take a trip to the Islands and get up close to Philippine crocodiles, Visayans warty pigs, and clouded leopards. Near the entrance is Indiana Family Farm, where children can peek into the chicken coop and feed the goats.
The 20-foot-high tree house in the Indonesian Rain Forest has an entrance that only small kids can fit through. Over in the newly renovated Australian Adventure area, children can hop alongside Eastern gray kangaroos in the Kangaroo Yard, splash around in Outback Springs play stream, and even touch a stingray.
The African Journey lets explorers ride the Sky Safari, feed the giraffes, and discover a variety of animals on the veldt in the Zebra Research Station. Healthy children's meals and low-cost wagon and stroller rentals make your outing even easier.
Young explorers get their own entrance to Aronofsky's Tiny Tot Nature Spot, stone lily pads to hop on. To see as much as possible without wearing the kids out, hop on the Safari aerial tram or half-hour bus tour, and then linger at a few of the unique exhibits, such as the ones with giant pandas and the elephants.
Only three other American zoos (in Atlanta, Memphis, and Washington, D.C.) have black-and-white pandas, and thanks to a platform, your kids can get what's arguably the best look at them in San Diego. In the Harry & Grace Steele Elephant Odyssey exhibit, families can watch six of these African animals get cared for -- from pedicures to weigh-ins.
Out of the 200 animals, about 45 -- including markets and wombats -- have received special training, so staff can take them out to meet the kids. A petting zoo, live shows, and a Bug House are also part of the fun.
Credit: Photo by Cathy Burka Image Courtesy of the Dallas Zoo Kids can feed meal worms to almost two dozen species of birds -- including doves, cuckoos, and parrots -- at the children's zoo.
In the ultra-fun Forest Play Area, kids can look for animal footprints and swing on vines like a monkey. Kids love the sea lions show and the tank that lets them see polar bears underwater.
In a big red barn, kids can see cows being milked and may get a glimpse of eggs that are hatching. At the Caring Corral, kids can help groom donkeys and goats while zoo staff tell them how to give animals a little TLC.
Credit: Image Courtesy of the Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden The Great Escape exhibit -- with its fallen trees, waterfalls, and pools -- will make your family feel as if you're in the rain forest.
The children's zoo is packed with unusual animals like a blue-tongued skin (a type of lizard) and a Kickapoo (a relative of the raccoon) plus usual faves like sheep and pigs. Kids can explore a realistic cave, pet a goat, and burn off some steam in an animal-themed playground.
Kids can ride a miniature train through a wooden tunnel, feed a camel, and pretend to be a baby chick. Watch the Sea Lions perform at Lord Marque, a 33-acre zoo with an extensive and diverse reserve of animal and plant species.
A zoological garden, Lisbon Zoo has around 2,000 and 300 species including 114 mammals, 157 birds, 56 reptiles, and five amphibians and arthropods. A visit to Henry Poorly Zoo provides you with the chance to see elephants, white rhinos, cheetahs, sable antelopes, bongos, ostriches, and impalas.
From Aardvarks to Eastern Bongos and King Cobras to lemurs, there’s a variety of animals to discover. It houses 673 species, with exhibits including Land of the Lions, Gorilla Kingdom, and Tiger Territory.
See a range of animals at Bronx Zoo, including the most extensive displayed collection of origami elephants in the world. The Bronx Zoo also exhibits a remnant of the ice age, a 30 dense ton rocking stone.
See a variety of animals, including the diving otters, pandas, and koalas. These include Indo-Malaya, Africa, the Americas, Tundra Trek, Australasia, Eurasia, and the Canadian Domain.
As one of the most diverse zoos in the US, visitors can expect to find African lions, Asian elephants, and giant pandas at Smithsonian National Zoological Park. The Zoological Gardens of South Africa is the national zoo and covers 200 acres of land.
One of the world’s best bird zoos, Marque was Ave's has blue-and-yellow macaw, parrots, and too toucans amongst others. See the animals on land and water at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, which was once named the best zoo in the US.
Make sure you check out the Polar Frontier, as well as the Asia Quest and North America region. The zoo also studies animal behavior, feeding, and reproduction, and breeds rare endangered species.
The most-visited wildlife attraction in Britain, Chester Zoo sees 1 .9 million visitors each year. There are more than 500 animals and an array of exhibitions, including Grassland Cats and Monkey Island.
Zoo La Palmyra lies in the heart of a forest and features 145 species and 1,600 animals. You’ll find several threatened species at the zoo, including the Asian elephant and White rhinoceros.
Home to more than 500 animals and world-class habitats, Dublin Zoo is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. It’s known for its Elephant House, which was designed by famous British architect Norman Foster.
Exhibits include Alga Bay with its harbor seals and La Terry du Droid with its reindeer and American bison. Part of the original Villa Borges estate in Rome, Bismarck Zoo is among the largest and oldest Zoological Gardens in Italy.
There is a wealth of animals to see at Miami Zoo, including the African lion, giant otters, jaguars, and more. The only AZA-accredited zoo in Argentina, Remained specializes in Argentine wildlife and exotic and threatened species.
Home to 2,000 animals from 400 species, Dallas Zoo has exciting exhibitions like Zoo North where there are otters and Galápagos tortoises. Explore Woodland Park Zoo’s 92 acres and meet a bunch of furry new friends that include African Savanna lions, rhinos, and grizzly bears.
Eight hundred fifty species live at Zoo Leipzig, and you can see them at the six authentic themed worlds that include Founders Garden, Pong land, and Gondwanaland. Edinburgh has many popular tourist attractions, but the city’s zoo is right up there at the top of the list.