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The Traveller's Magazine
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“Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo. I do believe it, I do believe it’s true.” Simon and Garfunkel had it right! Is there any better thing to do on a sunny Saturday than spend it at the zoo with a cold slurpee in one hand, some treats for the giraffes in the other? There’s more to just zoos than lions, tigers and bears.

National Zoological Gardens of South Africa

Lion lounging

Also known as the Pretoria Zoo, this is the national zoo of South Africa and you can’t go to a better place to get a close look at Africa’s greatest beasts. It was founded in 1899, when the Second Boer War broke out. Today its the home to more than 2,500 species and incredibly almost all of the animals currently at the zoo were born there. Besides the usual zoo round-up, the gardens have a reptile park, the largest aquarium in South Africa and even a forest of exotic trees. Pack a lunch and bring your walking shoes!

Flights to Johannesburg

It’s a light and tumble journey from the East Side to the park; just a fine and fancy ramble to the zoo.

Animal Kingdom

Tree of Life

The Animal Kingdom is an essential part of the Disney Theme Park in Orlando, FL. It’s pretty obvious that it’s a commercial zoo, attracting millions of visitors every year (around 10 million). That being said, a lot of effort has been put into imitating the animal’s true habitats with plenty of space. Covering a massive 500 acres, it’s the biggest theme park in the world, one that is dedicated to conservation, education and research. Don’t miss the Tree of Life, with 350 animals carved into its trunk.

Flights to Orlando

But you can take the crosstown bus if it’s raining or it’s cold, and the animals will love it if you do.

Bronx Zoo

Peacock at Bronx Zoo

A classic stop when visiting New York City, the Bronx Zoo covers 250 acres and has a large collection of rare and even some endangered animals. Siberian tigers, Congolese gorillas, hissing cockroaches and friendly lemurs… The Bronx Zoo first opened in 1899 and today has 4000+ animals. Remember when the zoo’s Egyptian cobra got loose in March of 2011? @BronxZooCobra reported on the cheeky snake’s hijinks all over the city.

Flights to New York

The monkeys stand for honesty, giraffes are insincere, and the elephants are kindly but they’re dumb. Orangutans are skeptical of changes in their cages, and the zookeeper is very fond of rum.

Berlin Zoological Garden

Knut the polar bear

Berlin’s zoo is one of the oldest in the world, opened in 1944, located right in the middle of Tiergarten and have more than 1,500 different species, many of which are rare and endangered. The zoo’s claim to fame is its participation in the European breeding program which has essentially safeguarded several endangered species from totally disappearing thanks to controlled breeding. The zoo also participates in animal re-integration programs. The aquarium has one of the largest collections of fish and other aquatic species in all of Europe.

Flights to Berlin

Zebras are reactionaries, antelopes are missionaries, pigeons plot in secrecy, and hamsters turn on frequently. What a gas! You gotta come and see at the zoo.

Toronto Zoo

Covering 710 acres and housing 5,000+ animals, the Toronto Zoo is one of the largest in the world. The city zoo has come a long way from its beginnings in 1888 as the Riverdale Zoo when it was more of a curiosity stop than something educational.The zoo is divided up by geographical locations, each section featuring animals from their respective continents. Since Canada is famed for its wildlife, the Canadian Domain is one of the most popular parts of the zoo where the muskox, bison, moose, cougars and grizzly bears are all hanging out (not together of course!). Who better to take you around the zoo than the Rick Mercer?

Flights to Toronto

Something tells me it’s all happening at the zoo. I do believe it, I do believe it’s true.

Which city zoos have you visited around the world? Which would you recommend… and which not?

Imgs: bdu, joanna85555, Tasslehoff Burrfoot, Marmontel / Flickr cc.

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2 responses to “It’s all happening at the zoo

  1. National Zoological Gardens of South Africa are a sight which should not be missed while in South Africa. The number of the various kinds of species present there make it a place to be at. In terms of natural beauty and sceneries the gardens are a superb attraction also. Visit this South African spectacle by going on flights to Johannesburg and get a chance to discover the wild.

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