The 30 Largest Zoos in the United States

There is no better way to enjoy wildlife than going to the zoo over the weekend. The zoo is great for all ages and has various exhibits and events for adults, children, and the elderly.

Not only can you witness majestic creatures, but you can also learn about their importance through education and conservation programs.

It’s best to visit the largest zoo that features the most animals if you want an unforgettable zoo experience.

The United States is estimated to have 439 zoos – from nonprofit to conservation centers and aquariums.

More than a million visitors come to the zoo every year to witness the best wildlife.

The largest zoo in the country is Zoo Miami with 750 acres of land area. In this article, we listed the top 30 largest zoos by area in the United States.

Table of Contents

The Largest Zoos in the United States

1Zoo Miami750
2Lion Country Safari600
3Columbus Zoo and Aquarium580
4Disney’s Animal Kingdom580
5Minnesota Zoo485
6Bronx Zoo265
7Brookfield Zoo215
8Kansas City Zoo202
9Cleveland Metroparks Zoo183
10Riverbanks Zoo & Garden170
11Smithsonian National Zoological Park163
12Cheyenne Mountain Zoo140
13Los Angeles Zoo133
14Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium130
15Detroit Zoo125
16The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens111
17Dallas Zoo106
18San Diego Zoo100
19Oakland Zoo100
20Saint Louis Zoo90
21Woodland Park Zoo92
22Denver Zoo80
23Pittsburgh Zoo77
24Memphis Zoo76
25Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden75
26Brevard Zoo75
27Fort Worth Zoo64
28Indianapolis Zoo64
29Audubon Zoo58
30Houston Zoo55

1. Zoo Miami – 750 acres

Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami is the largest zoo in the US with a land area of 750 acres. It is home to more than 3,000 animals representing 500 different species.

Its exhibits feature various continents including Asia, Africa, Australia, and South America.

The zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the country, having existed since 1948.

2. Lion Country Safari – 600 acres

Lion Country Safari

Open since 1967, Lion Country Safari is a 600-acre safari and amusement park in Loxahatchee, Florida.

It is the second-largest zoo in the US and is the third-best zoo in USA Travel Guide rankings in 2009.

More than 1,000 animals can be found in the park including lions, giraffes, and zebras. Most of the animals can wander freely without cages, hence, becoming a pioneer in non-cage zoos in the country.

3. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – 580 acres

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

With 580 acres of land and more than 7,000 animals of 800 species, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is the third-largest zoo by area.

The zoo welcomes more than two million tourists every year, visiting its exhibits from all regions of the world.

Australia and the Islands, Adventure Cove, Asia Quest, Congo Expedition, Heart of Africa, North America, Polar Frontier, and Shores & Aquarium are its main attractions.

Zoo guests can also enjoy its other exhibits such as Zoombezi Bay and several rides from Adventure Cove.

4. Disney’s Animal Kingdom – 580 acres

African lions

Aside from its amusement park and resort, Disney also has Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, operating since 1998.

It is located in Walt Disney World Resort, Bay Lake in Florida.

The zoo features exotics animals including Asian tigers, African lions, and Western Lowland Gorillas.

Visitors can also go on safari tours and treks such as Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids, and Expedition Everest.

5. Minnesota Zoo – 485 acres

Minnesota Zoo

Minnesota Zoo opened to the public in 1978. It is currently situated in Apple Valley, Minnesota, with a total area of 485 acres.

The zoo features 2,351 animals of 447 various species. Discovery Bay, Medtronic Minnesota Trail, Northern Trail, Russia’s Grizzly Coast, Tropics Trail, and Wells Fargo Family farm are its six themed areas.

6. Bronx Zoo – 265 acres

Bronx Zoo

In Bronx Park, New York, lies Bronx Zoo, the sixth-largest zoo covering 265 acres. It opened in 1899 featuring its first 843 animals and 22 exhibits.

Today, the zoo has several free exhibits and attractions to enjoy, as well as other major exhibits including Congo Gorilla Forest and Jungle World.

It currently houses more than 4,000 animals of 540 species.

7. Brookfield Zoo – 215 acres

Brookfield Zoo

Opened in 1934, Brookfield Zoo is a 215-acre zoo with more than 2,300 animals of 450 species.

It is located in Brookfield, Illinois, and is also known as Chicago Zoological Park.

The zoo has various major exhibits including Hamill Family’s Wild Encounters, Feather and Scales, Desert’s Edge, and Clouded Leopard Rain Forest.

It also features dinosaurs throughout its Dinosaurs Alive! series.

8. Kansas City Zoo – 202 acres

Kansas City Zoo

Kansas City Zoo is located in Swope Park, Kansas City, Missouri. It is the eighth largest zoo by area with a land area of 202 acres.

More than 1,300 animals can be found here and several popular exhibits such as Polar Bear Passage, Tiger Trail, and KidZone.

Some of the known escape incidents of the zoo are two gorillas in 2012, seven chimpanzees in 2014, and one elephant in 2019.

9. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo – 183 acres

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Situated in Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo covers a total of 183 acres of land with more than 3,000 animals representing about 600 different species.

The zoo can accommodate about 1.2 million visitors every year across its several areas including Australian Adventure, Northern Wilderness Trek, and The Primate, to name a few.

Timmy the Gorilla, Okpara, and the Aldabra Tortoises are some of its well-known resident animals.

Moreover, the zoo is notable for its education and conservation programs for children and adults.

10. Riverbanks Zoo & Garden – 170 acres

Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

The 10th largest zoo by area is Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, spanning 170 acres in Columbia, South Carolina.

It accommodates more than 2,000 animals in various exhibits such as African Plains, Riverbanks Farm, and Kangaroo Walkabout.

Aside from the zoo, it also has a botanical garden that occupies 70 acres of land for over 4,200 plant species.

The garden also features the Waterfall Junctions, best for families with their little ones.

11. Smithsonian National Zoological Park – 163 acres

Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Smithsonian National Zoological Park or the National Zoological Park opened in 1889. It has a total land area of 163 acres for more than 2,000 animals of 400 species.

About 40 endangered species are also present in the zoo including Sumatran tigers and sarus cranes.

Its main attractions are the great Ape House, the American Trail, and Lemur Island.

12. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo – 140 acres

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is a 140-acre zoo with more than 750 animals from 150 species.

It houses 30 endangered species and partakes in more than 30 Species Survival Plan programs.

The zoo was opened in 1926 by Spencer Penrose and was later turned into a non-profit public trust in 1938.

Today, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo hosts several major exhibits such as the Encounter Africa, Bear Grottos, and My Big Backyard.

13. Los Angeles Zoo – 133 acres

Los Angeles Zoo

With 133 acres of land and 1,400 animals representing more than 270 species, Los Angeles Zoo is the 13th largest zoo by area in the country.

It opened in 1966 and is located in Los Angeles, California.

The zoo boasts several attractions including Botanical gardens, Elephants of Asia, and the LAIR.

The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association and the Gottlieb Animal Health and Conservation Center are some of the associations in partnership with the Los Angeles Zoo.

14. Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium – 130 acres

Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is a 130-acre zoo located in Omaha, Nebraska, attracting more than 2,000,000 visitors every year.

It opened in 1894 as Riverview Park Zoo and increased its animals to more than 120 in a span of four years.

African Grasslands, Asian Highlands, and Butterfly and Insect Pavilion are some of its best attractions.

In 2002, the zoo also added the Desert Dome, an indoor desert home to various animals including desert cottontails, snakes, and bat-eared foxes.

15. Detroit Zoo – 125 acres

Detroit Zoo

Detroit Zoo occupies 125 acres of land with more than 2,000 animals and 245 species. It opened in 1928 and is currently located in Huntington Woods, Michigan.

Visitors can watch various mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians in several exhibits. Some of its popular attractions are the Giraffe Encounter, The Wildlife Interpretive Gallery, and the Great Apes of Harambee.

16. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens – 111 acres

Living Desert Zoo and Garden

Located in Palm Desert, California, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens houses more than 500 animals of 150 species.

Its total land area, including its garden and plant locations, is about 1,800 acres.

About half a million visitors come to the zoo to witness its various major exhibits, such as the African Safari, Wilds of North America, and Australian Adventures.

For gardens and plants, the zoo features the Mojave Desert, Agave Garden, Hummingbird Garden, and the Sonoran Desert, among others.

17. Dallas Zoo – 106 acres

Dallas Zoo

Spanning 106 acres, Dallas Zoo is the 17th largest zoo by area in the country. Approximately more than 2,000 animals from 406 species can be seen in the zoo.

Dallas Zoo opened in 1888 and started with only two deer and two lions. Today, it features several exhibits and events including ZooNorth, Wilds of Africa, Chimpanzee Forest, Penguin Cove, and Giants of Savanna, among others.

18. San Diego Zoo – 100 acres

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo has existed since 1916 in Balboa Park of San Diego, California. It covers about 100 acres of land and is home to more than 3,700 animals.

Approximately 4,000,000 visitors come to the park every year, including the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

A few of its main attractions are Monkey Trail and Forest Tales, Panda Canyon, Lost Forest, Gorilla Tropics, and Tiger Trail.

19. Oakland Zoo – 100 acres

Oakland Zoo

With 100 acres of space, Oakland is the 19th largest zoo in the United States. It is home to more than 850 animals and is known for its 17,000-sq ft veterinary hospital.

The zoo opened in 1922 and is located in Oakland, California. One of its notable events is Glowfari, which features a lights show of more than 800 lights.

20. Saint Louis Zoo – 90 acres

Saint Louis Zoo

Saint Louis Zoo is located in Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri. It has a whopping 3,000,00 annual visitors in its 90-acre zoo.

It accommodates 18,700 animals of more than 603 species. Moreover, the zoo has several park zones to see including the Wild, Historic Hill, and Lakeside Crossing.

21. Woodland Park Zoo – 92 acres

Woodland Park Zoo

Covering 92 acres of land, Woodland Park Zoo houses 1,098 animals of 300 species. The zoo welcomes 1.4 million visitors every year with its various exhibits and events.

Children can play in the Zoomazium, whereas others can visit its main attractions such as Tropical Rainforest, butterfly garden, and the African Savanna.

The zoo opened in 1899 and can be visited in Woodland Park in Seattle, Washington.

22. Denver Zoo – 80 acres

Denver Zoo

Situated in City Park in Denver, Colorado, Denver Zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals of 550 various species.

It is a highly visited zoo, having about 2.2 million visitors annually.

The zoo opened in 1896 and currently has various major exhibits such as Jewels of the Emerald Forest, Monkey House, Feline House, and Lorikeet Adventure.

The zoo also educates its visitors with its education and conservation programs and tours including Denver Zoo Audio Tour and Toyota Elephant Passage demonstration.

23. Pittsburgh Zoo – 77 acres

Pittsburgh Zoo

Pittsburgh Zoo can be visited in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in Highland Park. It is a 77-acre zoo that opened in 1898, previously known as Highland Park Zoo.

Its major exhibits are PPG Aquarium, Water’s Edge, and Jungle Odyssey. Pittsburgh Zoo is also known as Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, having a total of more than 4,000 animals in both areas.

24. Memphis Zoo – 76 acres

Memphis Zoo

Opened in 1906, Memphis Zoo spans 76 acres of land with 19 major exhibits. About 1.2 million visitors come every year to see its 3,500 animals of more than 500 species.

The zoo is divided into three zones: East zone, Central zone, and West zone. Visitors can expect a variety of events hosted including Plant Sale, Horticultural Tours, and Zoo Lights.

25. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden – 75 acres

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Founded in 1873 and opened in 1875, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is the second-oldest zoo in the country with a land area of 75 acres.

It has over 1,896 animals of more than 500 species, as well as 3,000 plant species.

Some of its notable exhibits are Elephant Reserve, Eagle Eyrie, Gorilla World, and Swan Lake. In addition, the zoo also has conservatory centers including the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW).

26. Brevard Zoo – 75 acres

Brevard Zoo

Brevard Zoo is located on North Wickham Road in Melbourne, Florida. It is a 75-acre zoo, housing over 900 animals from over 195 species.

Almost 500,000 visitors come to the zoo every year to enjoy several of its park attractions. The zoo offers the Wildlife Detective Training Academy, Expedition Africa, Wild Florida, and Paws On.

27. Fort Worth Zoo – 64 acres

Fort Worth Zoo

Situated in Fort Worth, Texas, Fort Worth Zoo is a 64-acre attraction with more than 7,000 animals of 542 species.

It opened in 1909 and has since then created several exhibits, including Elephant Springs, World of Primates, and Raptor Canyon.

The zoo also has conservation programs such as the Turtle Survival Alliance, which works to protect endangered turtles.

Visitors can also enjoy the Museum of Living Art (MOLA), a herpetarium as big as 30,000 sq ft.

28. Indianapolis Zoo – 64 acres

Indianapolis Zoo

Indianapolis Zoo covers an area of 64 acres of land, accommodating over 3,800 animals of about 320 different species.

The zoo attracts more than one million visitors every year.

It opened on April 18, 1964, and was originally located in George Washington Park. Not only is it a zoo for viewing, but also a conservation and research center.

29. Audubon Zoo – 58 acres

Audubon Zoo

Audubon Zoo is a 58-acre zoo situated in New Orleans, Louisiana. More than 2,000 animals are kept in the zoo across its various exhibits.

Some of its main attractions are the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit and Reptile Encounter. Moreover, visitors can enjoy its Nature Center, Planetarium, Wilderness Park, and various aquarium attractions.

30. Houston Zoo – 55 acres

Houston Zoo

Located in Houston, Texas, Houston Zoo has a total land area of 55 acres. It is home to more than 6,000 wild animals of about 600 different species.

More than two million visitors come to the zoo, ranking second place in the list of the most visited zoos in the country.

Visitors can tour its various exhibits and attractions including African Forest, McNair Asian Elephant Habitat, and the Sea Lion Pool.