Types of Zoos
Urban and Suburban Zoos
1. Urban and suburban zoos are located in large cities. In many urban zoos, animals are kept in relatively small enclosures. Urban and suburban zoos feature many different species of animals, such as monkeys, reptiles, big cats, and aquatic animals. These open-range zoos give animals more territory to roam and provide more natural habitats. Modern zoos do their best to preserve the future of captive animals by focusing on helping animals breed and by protecting endangered species of animals.
2. The San Diego Zoo, in southern California, is the largest suburban zoo in the United States and houses more than 4,000 animals (800 different species) The zoo divides animals into their natural habitats, such as the tundra (with reindeer and polar bears) or bamboo forest (featuring pandas). The San Diego Zoo also includes a wild animal park, which covers 2,000 acres (nationalgeographic.com).
3. American safari parks are areas where tourists can drive their own cars to see non-native wildlife living in large, enclosed areas. These attractions allow the animals more space than the small enclosures of traditional zoos. Safari parks are larger than urban and open-range zoos. Some American safari parks include Lion Country Safari in West Palm Beach, Florida, Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain, Georgia, Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, and Out of Africa Wildlife Park Camp in Verde, Arizona (nationalgeographic.com).
4. Game reserves are large areas of land whose ecosystems and native species are protected, and animals are allowed to roam free. The protection allows animals to live and reproduce at natural rates. In the 1800s, a trip to hunt big game, such as elephants or lions, was called a safari. While some game reserves allow traditional hunting safaris today, others limit visitors to a "photo safari," where visitors can shoot photographs, not animals. There are game reserves in Asia, the Americas, and Australia. However, most game reserves are in Africa. Millions of visitors visit Africa each year to see lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, elephants, and water buffalo (nationalgeographic.com).
5. Petting zoos feature domesticated animals that are gentle enough for children to pet and feed. Sheep, deer, goats, donkeys, and rabbits are common petting zoo animals. These types of zoos are found at parks and inside of larger zoos. Sometimes mobile petting zoos travel with fairs or carnivals from city to city (nationalgeographic.com). Specialized Zoos
6. Some zoos have specialized enclosures and habitats dedicated entirely to certain species of animals. For instance, aquariums are types of zoos that exclusively house aquatic animals. The Georgia Aquarium is a public aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia, that houses more than 100,000 animals. The Georgia Aquarium exhibits all of Georgia’s major water systems and is home to 500 species of aquatic animals (nationalgeographic.com).
7. Aviaries and bird parks are another type of specialized zoo. The Jurong Bird Park in Singapore has more than 8,000 birds of 600 species from around the world. Pittsburgh is home to America’s National Aviary. The national Aviary is home to over 600 animals made up of 200 species of birds (nationalgeographic.com).