6 Zoos Where Kids Can See Animals Up Close

Seeing animals in real life can do wonders for a child. It helps them to understand the size of these creatures, and displays a human-animal bond that can't be conveyed through books. These zoos not only let kids experience watching, petting, or feeding animals, but also have educational programs to teach them more about wildlife and environmental stewardship. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

6 Fantastic American Zoos

Destination Location Features
Bronx Zoo New York, NY Congo Gorilla Forest, JungleWorld, Nature Trek, Treetop Adventure, a butterfly garden, and many more attractions spanning 265 acres
Elmwood Park Zoo Norristown, PA More than 100 species from all over the world, live animal shows, and summer camps
Seneca Park Zoo Rochester, NY Offerings for kids include KinderZoo, workshops for scout troops, and the Book & Beast program
Roger Williams Park Zoo and Carousel Village Providence, RI Home to over 160 species, a zip line, and the opportunity to feed giraffes and other creatures
Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens Los Angeles, CA Over 1,400 animals and 7,000 plants, Elephants of Asia habitat, and seasonal attractions like LA Zoo Lights
Long Island Game Farm Manorville, NY Close encounters with exotic animals, a nursery with baby goats, bunnies, and ducklings, and pony rides

White Rhino Getting Dirty at the Seneca Park Zoo

Wildlife Conservation Facts

Haechan the Pudu at the L.A. Zoo

In Depth

Kids who live in urban areas often read about animals or see them on TV, but that doesn't convey the full breathtaking glory of these magnificent creatures. These zoos not only let visitors view species from all over the world, but also take part in conservation efforts and have educational programs to inspire the next generation of stewards. In no particular order, here are six places where young minds can be opened to the wonder of nature.

Starting off the list at #1 is the Bronx Zoo. Located on 265 acres in New York City, there's so much to do here that it's tough to see it all in one day. Experiences like the Congo Gorilla Forest and JungleWorld can introduce guests to animals they've never seen in person before. There are also fun elements like the Dinosaur Safari and camel rides, as well as the Children's Zoo farmyard area, where kids can pet goats, sheep, and donkeys.

In addition to hosting field trips from local schools, the zoo has educational offerings for children and adults, so you can explore your love for animals no matter your age. Families can book birthday parties or participate in an overnight safari to experience the zoo after hours. Supporters with more than a passing interest can apply to become volunteers, or check out some of the opportunities offered by the WCS Career Lattice to those passionate about education and conservation.

Families can book birthday parties or participate in an overnight safari to experience the zoo after hours.

At #2 is the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, Pennsylvania, not far from Valley Forge. Founded in 1924, this institution maintains a collection of more than 100 species from all over the globe, including giraffes, zebras, bald eagles, and red pandas. You can check out tiny creatures like the Amazon Milk Frog, and then move on to something larger, like the American Bison, Elk, and Jaguar.

The Education Department conducts live animal shows, summer camps, and community outreach programs, helping kids to explore their interest in nature as they witness the majesty of these awe-inspiring creatures. One way to help the zoo is by adopting an animal and becoming a "ZooParent," donating directly to the care and feeding of select animals and take part in making their lives at the zoo more comfortable.

Coming in at #3 is the Seneca Park Zoo, located in Rochester, New York. Among the educational offerings are ZooCamp, held in both summer and winter, and KinderZoo, where preschoolers can learn about frogs, snakes, and armadillos. There are scout workshops for local troops, service projects for Girl Scouts and Eagle Scouts, and even a Bunk with Beasts sleepover experience where they'll get to see what happens every morning before the zoo opens.

There are scout workshops for local troops, service projects for Girl Scouts and Eagle Scouts, and even a Bunk with Beasts sleepover experience where they'll get to see what happens every morning before the zoo opens.

There are also free programs for young ones like Book and Beast, featuring a story reading along with a visit from a program animal. Because it is always in need of a caring and dedicated staff, the zoo has job and internship opportunities available. If you don't have that kind of time but want to help out, a Partners in Conservation membership will help to support the operations, education, and conservation efforts of the Seneca Park Zoo Society.

At #4 is the Roger Williams Park Zoo and Carousel Village. Nestled within 40 acres of woodlands in Providence, Rhode Island, it's home to 160 species, including camels, flamingos, and snow leopards. The nearby Carousel Village is a fun place for kids to play or to use as a venue for a birthday party or other special event, no matter the age of the guests. The zoo itself can also be booked for private functions if you're looking to make your engagement party really memorable.

The zoo takes part in a number of environmental stewardship initiatives, including the SAFE program, dedicated to Saving Animals From Extinction. If you're passionate about this kind of work, you can join FrogWatch, which trains and certifies volunteers to monitor local amphibian habitats. There are many other ways to support the work of this organization, as well as online resources to teach consumers how they can make environmentally-responsible choices and work toward a more sustainable lifestyle.

The zoo takes part in a number of environmental stewardship initiatives, including the SAFE program, dedicated to Saving Animals From Extinction.

#5 is the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Situated in the northeast corner of sprawling Griffith Park, this California institution has been operating since 1966, and includes attractions such as the Elephants of Asia habitat, which features daily demonstrations on caring for these six-ton pachyderms, and LAIR, or Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles, which has a total of 49 exhibits and includes themed habitats designed to reflect the natural environment of the more than 60 species, some of them endangered.

The Botanical Gardens show off the natural beauty of plant life, including island species and a selection of California wildflowers. The L.A. Zoo Lights holiday experience boasts the world's largest illuminated pop-up storybook, and is a great seasonal nighttime outing for the whole family. There are special events and tours for members, and you can even take part in the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's International Travel Program for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

And finally, at #6 is the Long Island Game Farm. Located in Manorville, New York, this wildlife park and children's zoo has been offering families a place to experience nature up close for the past 50 years. Children can have close encounters with giraffes, wallabies, and deer. There's also a nursery filled with baby animals, and the opportunity to feed llamas, buffaloes, and ostriches. Kids can also take pony rides and watch a presentation on lemurs and monkeys.

There's also a nursery filled with baby animals, and the opportunity to feed llamas, buffaloes, and ostriches.

The ZooMobile can be reserved for special occasions, bringing the fun of a petting zoo to you, and includes a hedgehog, baby alligator, giant rabbit, tortoise, and goats. If you're close by, you can even make a group booking at the Game Farm for birthday parties or other events. For those who want to work in this field, there are many volunteer opportunities that include training and potential future employment, and anyone interested in supporting financially can contact the corporate office to make donations or sponsor an animal.