Are you looking for something fun to do this summer? Zoos and aquariums are fun places to visit for any age. These are some great zoos and aquariums in the US to visit this summer (or anytime).
If you purchase a zoo pass membership, it can be even cheaper to visit zoos all summer long! Learn more about zoo pass and zoo memberships in our Save Money at Zoos post.
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#1 — Houston Zoo
Located in Houston, Texas, the Houston Zoo has one of the largest collections of birds in the United States. They have over 200 species and over 800 individual birds.
Besides all the other animals, there is also an aquarium and bug house at the zoo. They recently added a huge pool to their elephant exhibit as well.
It is a very large zoo and well worth the trip if you are visiting Texas.
If you are visiting other attractions in the area, check out CityPASS to save up to 47% on ticket prices.
#2 — North Carolina Zoo
The North Carolina Zoo is located in Ashboro, North Carolina. It is the world’s largest natural habitat zoo. They have 2600 acres with 500 developed acres.
The zoo has a walk-through aviary with exotic birds flying freely and more than 3000 tropical plants.
There is also a desert area with many animals in an exhibit complete with saguaro cacti.
Because the zoo is so large, there is a train to take you to the different areas.
#3 — Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
This zoo is located in Powell, Ohio close to Columbus. The zoo has more than 7000 animals.
Jack Hanna, who has been on TV talk shows with animals, was zoo director here for many years.
The zoo has manatees and an Australia exhibit. In the Australia exhibit, you can walk amongst kangaroos, see koalas, and go inside a lorikeet house where lorikeets fly freely. You can feed them and sometimes, they will land on your shoulder.
There is also a nocturnal exhibit for animals who are active in the dark.
There is a separate section of the zoo called Jungle Jack’s Landing that has 13 amusement park rides. These rides have an additional cost unless you are a gold member.
They also have a separate water park called Zoombezi Bay that you can visit for an additional cost.
If you live in the area, it would be worth it to buy a membership to have access to lots of great activities for the whole summer.
#4 — Smithsonian’s National Zoo
The National Zoo is located in NW Washington D.C.
The zoo always has FREE admission, so it’s a great place for the whole family to visit.
It is one of the oldest zoos in the United States. It is not a really large zoo, but the main attraction is the giant pandas. This zoo is one of four zoos in the US that have giant pandas at the present time.
#5 — Busch Gardens (Tampa)
Busch Gardens, located in Tampa, Florida, is an amusement park and zoo all in one place.
When I first visited Busch Gardens, I knew that there were animals at the park, but I did not realize how many there were.
They have over 200 species of animals in addition to being an amusement park. You can hand feed kangaroos, watch hippos swim, and see cheetahs run at top speed.
There are also some unusual animals like an aardvark that you can see.
I was pleasantly surprised at all the animals you can see and interact with.
Do keep in mind that Busch Gardens will cost more than other zoos because it is an amusement park as well.
They do have package deals and if you are doing more in the area, CityPASS will make it cheaper.
#6 — Seattle Aquarium
The Seattle Aquarium is located in Seattle, Washington at Pier 59 on the Puget Sound.
Besides fish, there are many other sea animals to see.
They have a pair of fur seals of which there are only a total of nine in all zoos and aquariums in the US. They have river otters but also have the large sea otters as well. There is also a giant octopus and an undersea dome to view fish swimming all around.
If you are planning to visit other attractions in Seattle, use CityPASS to save up to 49% on tickets.
#7 — National Aviary
Although the National Aviary is not a zoo or aquarium, it is definitely worth visiting. It is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
It is home to over 500 birds with over 150 different species of birds.
There is a tropical rainforest exhibit you can walk through where birds fly freely. There are also many other habitats for birds.
#8 — North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
Although there are many aquariums all over the US, the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher remains one of my favorites.
It is located at Kure Beach in North Carolina (near Wilmington).
They have alligators (including an albino one), an eagle, many fish, and a hands-on touch tank.
New this year is Lorikeet Landing where you can walk around free-flying lorikeets and feed them.
The price of visiting this aquarium is cheaper than many other aquariums and works with many zoo memberships for a discount.
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What are your favorite zoos and aquariums to visit?
Comment down below your favorite zoos, aquariums, and other similar places. Have you been to any of these places? Comment your experiences.