Today’s zoos are more than just museums of caged animals on display. The best ones are involved in conservation efforts, breeding programs, education and research. Their enclosures carefully reflect the natural habitat of each species. Of course, recreational amenities are important too, like animal encounters, sleepovers or “zookeeper for a day” programs. Here are some of the most amazing zoos around the world that go above and beyond to get it right, for both the animals they host and the human visitors they attract.
1. Henry Doorly Zoo, Nebraska
This Omaha zoo was ranked #1 in TripAdvisor’s 2014 best zoos around the world poll. Its origins stem back to 1864, and now covers more than 130 acres. Over 960 species call this spectacular animal park home. It features the largest cat complex on the continent. It also boasts the largest indoor swamp and indoor rainforest in the world. If that’s not enough, its Desert Dome is the planet’s largest enclosed desert under the largest geodesic dome. The Henry Doorly Zoo is a national leader in animal conservation and research, but its also an incredible place to visit. Don’t miss the Skyfari aerial tram for a birds-eye view from the butterfly pavilion to the elephants.