Best US zoos & aquariums

Kids love animals and sea life, and visiting a zoo or aquarium can be a fun and education experience for the whole family. If you are traveling this summer, try to include one of these zoos or aquariums in your vacation itinerary. These are our 10 favorites zoos and aquariums from coast to coast.

Child at Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo is Chicago’s historic, free and fun zoo! Check out our feature on the this famous zoo here.

The New York Aquarium

Spanning 14 acres along the famous boardwalk in Coney Island, Brooklyn, this is the only aquarium located in the NYC area and the only place to see Pacific walruses on the upper east coast. Thousands of fish as well as sharks, penguins, walruses, sea otters and fur seals, among others, are showcased here. Visitors can enjoy various special events, educational programs while obtaining a new appreciation for worldwide efforts to save wildlife, wild lands and the future of wildlife.

Address: 602 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11224

Phone: 718-265-3457

Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center

You can stop searching for Atlantis, we found it — and a world class aquarium to go along with it, too. Check it out here!


Columbus Zoo

Voted the best zoo in America by the USA Travel Guide, this 90-acre property boasts more than 700 species of wildlife such as big cats, elephants, gorillas, manatees, bonobos. It is also home to Bodhi, a baby Asian elephant born at the zoo in 2004 Don’t miss the Wildlights exhibit from Thanksgiving through the New Year.

Address: 4850 West Powell Road, P.O. Box 400, Powell, Ohio 43065

Phone: 800-666-5397

Newport Aquarium

Situated on the waterfront across the bridge from downtown Cincinnati and nestled among tons of fun shops, restaurants, and activities, the Newport Aquarium houses 70 exhibits and 14 galleries, including five seamless acrylic tunnels totaling more than 200 feet in length, featuring an amazing variety of aquatic life from around the world. Don’t miss the jellyfish gallery or the interactive session with a scuba diving expert that is held in a pirate ship. The kids will love that! A free penguin parade occurs outside the museum daily at 10 a.m.

Address: One Aquarium Way, Newport, KY 41071

Phone: 859-261-7444

Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium — considered to be one of the world’s finest aquariums — has attracted more than 47 million visitors and has won national awards for its exhibits, its architecture, and its cultural, educational and economic impact. Get more info and photos of the aquarium here!

San Antonio Zoo

The San Antonio Zoo sees more than a million visitors each year. We guess it has something to do with the fact that it boasts more than 3,500 animals spread across 56 acres. Awesome exhibits include Africa Live, African Plains, Amazonia, Butterflies! Caterpillar Flight School, Cranes of the World, Gibbon Forest, Hixon Bird House, Kronkosky’s Tiny Tot Nature Spot, Lory Landing, Prairie Chickens, Reptile House, Richard Friedrich Aquarium and Rift Valley. If you have little ones, don’t miss some of the exhibits such as the Tiny Tots Nature Spot and Fun Farm Petting Zoo that are geared just for the younger set.

Address: 903 North St. Mary’s Street, San Antonio, TX 78212

The Florida Aquarium

Featuring more than 20,000 plants and animals from both fresh and saltwater environments, the Florida Aquarium is home to exhibits which reflect the diversity of the state’s natural habitats including Wetlands, Bays and Beaches, Ocean Commotion, and Coral Reef. Certified divers over the age of 14 can experience dives with mild-mannered sharks and sea turtles; there is also a shallow water swim with reef fish and a shark-feeding program.

A must-see, the Coral Reef Gallery is a 500,000-gallon tank with viewing windows, a breathtaking 43-foot-wide panoramic opening, and a walk-through tunnel that will make you feel like you are truly swimming with the fishes! The outdoor Explore a Shore exhibit is an aquatic playground with a waterslide, water jet sprays, and climbable pirate ship – one the kids will certainly want to board!

Address: 701 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL, 33602

Lion Country Safari

Florida’s only drive-thru safari adventure featuring four miles of wild animals, the Lion Country Safari also encompasses a walk-through safari adventure with viewing of more than 900 animals. Get up close and personal with the wildlife via animal exhibits and encounters, animal feeding experiences, rides, a petting zoo and water splashground.

Address: 2003 Lion Country Safari Rd, Loxahatchee, FL 33470

Brookfield Zoo

One thing’s for sure, no one in the family will get bored at the Brookfield Zoo! Located just outside of Chicago, this 216 acre zoo features animal presentations, Children’s Zoo, zoo chats, butterfly garden, and the Hamill Family Play Zoo where kids can let their imaginations run wild while pretending to be a zoo director, veterinarian, animal keeper, or even a zoo animal.

Address: 3300 Golf Rd., Brookfield, IL 60513


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