Sep 29 2009

Review of America’s Best Zoos: A Travel Guide for Fans and Families

When I was growing up in North Dakota, we didn’t have any zoos in our area. I suppose we visited the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul on a trip once, and we went to Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo when on a weekend trip to Manitoba, but we didn’t have a nearby zoo. I remember classmates going to the “new” Minnesota Zoo (and it was new at that time) and being awed by it. I finally made it there when I was in college.

I’m happy that my children have had more and varied zoo experiences. From Chicago to Columbus, from St. Paul to Sioux Falls, and from Apple Valley to Winnipeg, we’ve taken them to several zoos.

We know the kids always enjoy the zoos, and when we’re vacationing, a zoo is a nice change from museums or amusement parks, but my husband and I always had the same thought in the backs of our minds: Aren’t zoos pretty much all the same?

America’s Best Zoos: A Travel Guide dispels this myth. With detailed entries about 60 zoos in the U.S., and “best of the rest” mentions of another 39, this isn’t just a zoo directory. The authors have a lifetime of zoo experience, and personally visited all of the zoos in this book. Because of this, they have been able to list specifics about each of the zoos highlighted in the book, including don’t-miss exhibits and animals that you won’t find in many other places.

In addition, they point out various animals and the best places to see them. I’ve noticed that Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo tops several of the lists, and thus I have added it to our list of things to see if in Omaha. (Those of you who read my Travels with Children blog can guess that a trip to Omaha would not be out of the question.)

While the bulk of the book will likely be used as a reference, arranged geographically so it can coincide with travel plans, the beginning pages are helpful in outlining the history of American zoos as well as their purpose and tips for visiting. This introduction to zoos is concise yet complete in telling the story of zoos in the U.S.

America’s Best Zoos is subtitled “A Travel Guide for Fans and Families” and families are indeed included. Each zoo entry includes specifics about things kids will enjoy, and the introduction contains many tips especially for visits with children.

With a list price of $15.95, this book deserves a place on bookshelves of traveling families. I’ll be using it to help plan our future trips so that when we visit zoos along our journeys, we’ll find the best of the best.

Disclosure: I was provided a review copy of this book at no charge by the publisher, The Intrepid Traveler.

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3 comments so far

3 Comments to “Review of America’s Best Zoos: A Travel Guide for Fans and Families”

  1. [...] Article has been moved to Travels with Children. [...]

  2. Jen on 29 Sep 2009 at 11:19 pm

    Will definitely be checking this out. We’re near one of the best zoos (in my opinion, San Diego) so I wonder where/if it made the list! With four children ranging in age from 18 to 5, we’ve been frequent visitors and regular annual passholders.

    Love the idea of getting inside info about other zoos that may have different animals and exhibitions than what we’re used to.

    BTW, the link to the book doesn’t seem to be working right.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..San Diego Vacations | Visit San Diego with Kids =-.

  3. Free Things to Do in St. Louis on 13 Dec 2010 at 1:31 pm

    [...] Zoo.  Not only is the Saint Louis Zoo free, it’s one of the best in the USA, according to America’s Best Zoos.  It’s free to wander around the zoo and enjoy the animals, but extras such as carousel [...]

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