Best Zoo in America (35 photo)


Perhaps the best place to view animals without trekking into the wilderness, the Zoological Society of San Diego is actually a zoo and a park, each worth its own day trip. The San Diego Zoo comprises 100 acres of tropical grounds and 800 species (including a pair of pandas on loan from China). The 2,200-acre Wild Animal Park, 32 miles northeast of the zoo, features several natural habitats and a Galápagos tortoise that must have been around when Custer was fighting his last battle. Visitors can view roaming herds of exotic animals from a five-mile-long monorail or by way of a walking safari. Designed to help breed endangered species, the park has seen some 20,000 creatures born within its borders—including 120 rhinoceroses—since it opened in 1972. Many of the zoo's younger residents hang out at the Petting Kraal.

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