traveling zoo

A Guide to Top 20 Traveling Zoos Across the United States


Hello, fellow adventurers and animal lovers! Are you ready to embark on a journey that combines the thrill of travel with the joy of encountering wildlife? Welcome to the enchanting world of traveling zoos, where every visit promises a new discovery. Whether you’re searching for “traveling petting zoos near me” or the famed “travel zoo top 20,” this blog is your ultimate guide to unforgettable animal adventures across the United States.

What is a Traveling Zoo?

At its heart, a traveling zoo is a mobile animal exhibition that visits various locations, bringing a slice of the wild to your doorstep. Unlike traditional zoos, these traveling wonders offer a unique, up-close interaction with animals, making them perfect for family outings, educational trips, and those seeking a bit of adventure. From the fluffy to the ferocious, traveling zoos house a variety of animals, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

Why You’ll Love Visiting a Traveling Zoo

  • Interactive Experiences: Get ready for hands-on fun! Many traveling zoos provide interactive experiences, allowing you to feed, pet, and even hold some of the animals.
  • Educational Value: Each visit is a learning opportunity. Discover fascinating facts about different species, their habitats, and conservation efforts.
  • Convenience: Searching for “traveling petting zoos near me” often leads to discoveries of these mobile marvels in local fairs, festivals, and schools, making them easily accessible.

The Ultimate Guide to America’s Travelling Zoo Top 20 Animal Adventures

Embark on a journey to explore the “Travel Zoo Top 20” – a curated collection of the United States’ most remarkable and conservation-minded wildlife experiences. From sprawling savannahs inhabited by African wildlife to intimate encounters with marine life, each destination offers a unique window into the animal kingdom.

1. San Diego Zoo Safari Park, California

Traveling Zoos

  • Short Description: A vast wildlife sanctuary that simulates African and Asian habitats.
  • Key Attraction: The African Safari experience.
  • Location: San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, CA.
  • Nearest Town: Escondido.
  • Where to Stay: Rancho Bernardo Inn offers luxurious accommodations nearby.

2. Monterey Bay Aquarium, California

  • Short Description: A pioneering aquarium focused on marine research and conservation.
  • Key Attraction: The mesmerizing kelp forest exhibit.
  • Location: Cannery Row, Monterey, CA.
  • Nearest Town: Monterey.
  • Where to Stay: Stay at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa for ocean views.

3. Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Washington, D.C.

  • Short Description: A leader in animal care, science, education, and sustainability.
  • Key Attraction: The Giant Panda Habitat.
  • Location: Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C.
  • Nearest Town: Washington, D.C.
  • Where to Stay: The Omni Shoreham Hotel, located nearby in a beautiful, historic area.

4. The Florida Aquarium, Florida

Traveling Zoos

  • Short Description: Dedicated to conservation, this aquarium offers up-close wildlife encounters.
  • Key Attraction: Coral Reef exhibit and shark swim experiences.
  • Location: Channelside Drive, Tampa, FL.
  • Nearest Town: Tampa.
  • Where to Stay: Tampa Marriott Water Street, for waterfront views.

5. Bronx Zoo, New York

  • Short Description: One of the world’s largest metropolitan zoos, focusing on conservation.
  • Key Attraction: The Congo Gorilla Forest.
  • Location: Southern Blvd, The Bronx, NY.
  • Nearest Town: New York City.
  • Where to Stay: Opera House Hotel offers a unique stay in a historic setting.

6. SeaWorld Orlando, Florida

  • Short Description: A marine zoological park offering thrilling rides and animal encounters.
  • Key Attraction: Dolphin experiences and orca shows.
  • Location: SeaWorld Drive, Orlando, FL.
  • Nearest Town: Orlando.
  • Where to Stay: Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld for themed accommodations.

7. The Wilds, Ohio

Traveling Zoos

  • Short Description: One of the largest conservation centers in North America, set in an open-range habitat.
  • Key Attraction: Safari tours featuring rare and endangered species.
  • Location: International Road, Cumberland, OH.
  • Nearest Town: Zanesville.
  • Where to Stay: The Wilds has its own unique yurts for an overnight stay.

8. Alaska SeaLife Center, Alaska

Traveling Zoos

  • Short Description: A research institution and public aquarium dedicated to marine ecosystems.
  • Key Attraction: The Steller sea lion exhibit.
  • Location: Railway Ave, Seward, AK.
  • Nearest Town: Seward.
  • Where to Stay: Seward Windsong Lodge, nestled in a scenic valley.

9. Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Nebraska

Traveling Zoos

  • Short Description: Known for its significant conservation and research efforts, this zoo houses the world’s largest indoor desert.
  • Key Attraction: The Desert Dome.
  • Location: South 10th Street, Omaha, NE.
  • Nearest Town: Omaha.
  • Where to Stay: Stay at the Magnolia Hotel for a blend of history and luxury.

10. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Florida

Traveling Zoos

  • Short Description: A unique combination of thrilling rides and one of the country’s largest zoos.
  • Key Attraction: Serengeti Safari experience.
  • Location: N McKinley Drive, Tampa, FL.
  • Nearest Town: Tampa.
  • Where to Stay: Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa USF Near Busch Gardens provides comfort and convenience.

11. Georgia Aquarium, Georgia

Traveling Zoos

  • Short Description: The largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere, offering engaging aquatic experiences.
  • Key Attraction: Whale Shark and Manta Ray exhibit.
  • Location: Baker Street NW, Atlanta, GA.
  • Nearest Town: Atlanta.
  • Where to Stay: The Hilton Atlanta is centrally located and offers easy access to the aquarium.

12. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, California

Traveling Zoos

  • Short Description: A unique zoo and botanical garden focusing on the deserts of the world.
  • Key Attraction: The Australian Adventures exhibit.
  • Location: Portola Ave, Palm Desert, CA.
  • Nearest Town: Palm Desert.
  • Where to Stay: JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa for a luxury desert experience.

13. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Ohio

  • Short Description: The second-oldest zoo in the U.S., known for its breeding programs for endangered animals.
  • Key Attraction: Fiona, the world-famous hippo.
  • Location: Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH.
  • Nearest Town: Cincinnati.
  • Where to Stay: The Cincinnatian Hotel offers historic charm in the heart of downtown.

14. Oregon Zoo, Oregon

Traveling Zoos

  • Short Description: Renowned for its environmental education and conservation efforts.
  • Key Attraction: The Elephant Lands exhibit.
  • Location: SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR.
  • Nearest Town: Portland.
  • Where to Stay: Stay at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland for eco-friendly luxury.

15. Audubon Zoo, Louisiana

Traveling Zoos

  • Short Description: A part of the historic Audubon Nature Institute, focusing on preserving native and exotic species.
  • Key Attraction: The Louisiana Swamp exhibit.
  • Location: Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA.
  • Nearest Town: New Orleans.
  • Where to Stay: Hotel Monteleone, for a stay in the heart of the French Quarter.

16. Mystic Aquarium, Connecticut

Traveling Zoos

  • Short Description: Offers unique encounters with marine life, emphasizing conservation and education.
  • Key Attraction: Beluga whales and the 4D theater.
  • Location: Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT.
  • Nearest Town: Mystic.
  • Where to Stay: The Whaler’s Inn offers a cozy, maritime-themed stay.

17. Denver Zoo, Colorado

Traveling Zoos

  • Short Description: An innovator in animal care and exhibit design, set within Denver’s City Park.
  • Key Attraction: The Predator Ridge and Toyota Elephant Passage.
  • Location: City Park, Denver, CO.
  • Nearest Town: Denver.
  • Where to Stay: The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa combines luxury with historical elegance.

18. Philadelphia Zoo, Pennsylvania

Traveling Zoos

  • Short Description: America’s first zoo, focusing on animal exploration, discovery, and conservation.
  • Key Attraction: Zoo360, an innovative animal travel and exploration trail system.
  • Location: West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Nearest Town: Philadelphia.
  • Where to Stay: Stay at The Logan Philadelphia for a blend of sophistication and relaxation.

19. Moody Gardens, Texas

Traveling Zoos

  • Short Description: An educational tourist destination, featuring an aquarium, rainforest, and discovery museum.
  • Key Attraction: The Rainforest Pyramid.
  • Location: Hope Blvd, Galveston, TX.
  • Nearest Town: Galveston.
  • Where to Stay: Moody Gardens Hotel offers comfort and convenience on-site.

20. Minnesota Zoo, Minnesota

  • Short Description: A leader in wildlife conservation, offering immersive experiences and education programs.
  • Key Attraction: The Russian Grizzly Coast.
  • Location: Zoo Blvd, Apple Valley, MN.
  • Nearest Town: Apple Valley.
  • Where to Stay: Stay at the GrandStay Hotel & Conference for a comfortable visit.

Tips for Visiting a Traveling Zoo

  • Check the Schedule: These zoos are always on the move, so look up “traveling petting zoos near me” to find current locations and visiting hours.
  • Prepare for the Weather: Many traveling zoos are outdoors, so dress accordingly and don’t forget sunscreen.
  • Respect the Animals: Always follow zoo guidelines for interacting with the animals to ensure a safe experience for both you and the creatures.

The Joy of Discovery

Traveling zoos offer a unique blend of education, conservation, and fun. They bring the animal kingdom closer to people, fostering a deeper appreciation for wildlife and the importance of protecting natural habitats. So, the next time you’re bitten by the travel bug, why not search for “traveling petting zoos near me” or dive into the “travel zoo top 20”? You might just find your next great adventure waiting around the corner.

In Conclusion

The magic of traveling zoos lies in their ability to transport us into the animal world, offering intimate encounters and unforgettable memories. Whether you’re planning your next family outing or simply looking for a weekend adventure, keep the “travel zoo top 20” and “traveling petting zoos near me” in your search bar. Ready, set, explore!

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