Road Trip Adventures: 5 of the Best Zoos to Visit

As you make your warm weather travel plans, consider adding a zoo visit to your itinerary. Zoos are the perfect family activity, offering some adventure as well as education. Here are 5 of the best zoos to visit with your family this upcoming spring and summer.

1Cincinnati Zoo

The Cincinnati Zoo opened in 1875, making it one of the oldest zoos in the United States. Just 4.5 hours away, this could make the perfect road trip for the zoo lover in your family. The zoo offers 75 acres with ranging habitats that are home to 1,896 animals from 500 species. One of the many breeding zoos in the United States, it is the first to breed California sea lions while also breeding other endangered animals such as South African cheetahs, Sumatran rhinoceros, western lowland gorillas, Malayan tigers, Masai giraffes, and pottos. Their most recent additions include Fiona, born January 2017 as the first hippo born at the zoo in 75 years, Kindi new rhino born last summer, Winsol the newest aardvark baby, and many others.

Address: 3400 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45220
Phone: 513-281-4700

2Memphis Zoo

memphis zoo

Slightly closer to home, the Memphis Zoo covers 76 acres and has more than 3,500 animals from over 500 species. Established in April 1906, the zoo has three major zones meant to mimic animals’ natural habitats. Like many zoos, their exhibits range from bird houses, night animals, primate exhibits, an aquarium, and many other animals. What makes the Memphis Zoo particularly attractive for families is that it offers a tram for guided tours, so when the kids are tried of walking (or you’re tired of carrying them), you have an alternative way to get around. Like Cincinnati, Memphis has also had a new baby hippo to their zoo family – Winnie born March 2017.

Address: 2000 Prentiss Pl, Memphis, TN 38112
Phone: 901-333-6500

3St. Louis Zoo

st louis zoo

Located in Forest Park in St. Louis, the St. Louis Zoo is 90 acres including 18,700 animals representing about 600 species. This zoo has some unique beginnings – its first exhibit, a walk-through bird cage was originally created by the Smithsonian Institution for the World’s Fair held in Saint Louis in 1904. Afterwards, St. Louis bought the cage and made it the core of their future zoo. Today, the St. Louis Zoo includes a wide range of exhibits such as their Caribbean Cove with a shallow pool of stingrays and a variety of sharks, River’s Edge which includes habitats from four continents for their animals, and a Children’s Zoo for them to play and explore through places like the transparent slide through the otter pool where they can see a variety of birds, frogs, snakes, and other animals.

Address: 1 Government Dr, Saint Louis, MO 63110-1332
Phone: 314-781-0900

4Columbus Zoo


One of the largest zoos in the United States, The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a humongous 580 acres located just north of Columbus, Ohio. It houses over 10,000 animals from more than 600 species with some of the widest range of exhibits that are arranged according to world regions including Asia Quest, Australia and the Islands, Congo Expedition, Heart of Africa, North America, Shores and Aquarium. They just welcomed seven new baby animals including 5 otter pups, a silvered leaf langur baby, and a Humboldt Penguin.

Address: 4850 Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-645-3400

5Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, located in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, is the most visited zoo in the southeast United States with 170 acres. It has become known as one of the most popular family-friendly attractions in the capital city and is home to more than 2,000 animals from over 350 species. While certainly not the biggest zoo, the botanical gardens offer beautifully landscaped habitats for a variety of animals that is sure to amaze you and your children. Some of the most popular attractions include Koala Knockout, the Aquarium Reptile Complex, and African Savanna. They also have a huge amphitheater and waterfall  that brings people from all over.

Address: 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, SC 29210
Phone: (803) 779-8717

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