In the past, animal parks showcased glum animals trapped behind bars, pacing back and forth and sometimes causing visitors to wonder whether zoological facilities are a good thing or not. However, the modern zoological exhibit aims to be as close to a natural habitat as possible, offering visitors the ability to get up close to exotic animals, which don’t appear to be caged but are unable to leap their barricades nevertheless. As Charles Stovall of Walt Disney World says, “We don’t think of it as just a zoo… it’s a full-fledged theme park.” In fact, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of the most famous zoos in the world and has inspired a new ilk of animal exhibits.
It should come as no surprise that America houses many of the world’s best animal habitats. In New York City, the 265-acre Bronx Zoo is home to over 6,000 animals, many of which are on the endangered species list. The Bronx has been operating its animal center since 1889 as the largest of the metropolitan animal parks and was the first place to house (and breed) rare snow leopards. Additionally, it’s the first park to house a predator-prey animal exhibit, where lions and gazelles are separated merely by dry moats, and it was also the first zoological center to host an educational program. Visitors love the Wild Asia tramway monorail, the indoor JungleWorld display and the 6.5-acre Congo Monkey Forest, which is the largest man-made rainforest in the world. Guests will also see a number of babies at this bustling breeding facility, including dwarf mongoose, lemur, okapi, sea lion, rhino, lion and pit viper species.
The Philadelphia Zoo is one of the modern animal parks to embrace natural habitat design. Its cage-less model offers rare views of giant Rodrigues fruit bats, naked mole rats, blue-eyed lemurs, tree kangaroos, black jaguars, amur tigers, red pandas, clouded leopards, warthogs, reticulated giraffes, giant anteaters and other rare animals. The Philadelphia facility offers a number of kids’ programs and also houses the nation’s best animal hospital facility. They are the only zoological park that breeds giant otters in North America. Their McNeil Bird House features two species that are extinct in the wild: the Guam rail and the Micronesian kingfisher.
There are also a number of European animal parks that have achieved world fame for their impressive exhibits. For instance, the Berlin Zoological Garden in Germany boasts the largest animal collection in the world with more than 14,000 animals from 1,440 species. They have had enormous success breeding white rhinos, black rhinos, gaurs, pandas and polar bears, as well as rare deer and pig species. The Chester Zoo in the UK ushers in 1.2 million visitors a year, who come to see their sizable collection of endangered species, including the Congo buffalo, jaguars, blue-eyed cockatoos, Madagascar tree boas, gemsboks (all ESB species), black rhinoceros, Ecuadorian Amazon parrots, Mindanao writhe-billed hornbill and Rodrigues fruit bats, all of which are bred at the park. They’re also noted for having the largest ape enclosure in all of Europe.
Beth Kaminski is the co-author of Curing Your Anxiety And Panic Attacks which detailed treating panic disorder as well as tips on the various anxiety attack medications available at anxietydisordercure.com.