One of the best zoos in the country is our very own Lincoln Park Zoo.
Blooloop, “the world’s leading online resource for professionals working in the visitor attractions sector,” recently conducted a study to determine the best zoos in the United States. Considering the institutions from a lens of conservation, animal welfare, and education, Lincoln Park Zoo came in at number 6 on the list!
The study, published last month, includes a list of 17 zoos across the United States – all accredited by the AZA (the Association of Zoos and Aquariums). Accredited zoos have had to undergo a stringent review process to earn it, and demonstrate their commitment to animal welfare every five years. Only 10% of licensed facilities in the US are accredited.
Not only did Lincoln Park Zoo make the top 10 but it was also acknowledged as the only free and privately managed zoo in the US. The zoo was founded in 1866 and is now home to over 1000 animals from around 200 species, including polar bears, gorillas, big cats, penguins, monkeys, reptiles, and more.
Speaking to blooloop last month president and CEO of Lincoln Park Zoo, Dr. Megan Ross said: “The zoo’s mission is to connect people with nature. Our tagline is ‘For wildlife. For all’, which encompasses who we are and what we stand for. We have one of the largest science departments of any zoo in the country and are one of the top 10 science organizations. We have about 40 scientists on staff doing different research studies.”
Blooloop also highlighted the recently opened Pepper Family Wildlife Center – a renovated state-of-the-art home for lions and big cats. The expansive new exhibit was created taking into account behavioral data collected on zoo-born lions, Canada lynxes, red pandas, and snow leopards for many years to best promote positive animal welfare. The data revealed how they spent their time and which parts of the space they used the most so that designers could create the optimum lion and big cat habitat.
The Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C. took the number one spot and was recognized for its two world-class campuses, the 163-acre public site in Rock Creek Park and the 3,200-acre Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. “Together, these are home to around about 2,700 animals of 390 different species, including giant pandas as well as a variety of birds, apes, big cats, elephants, insects, reptiles, aquatic animals, and more,” wrote Blooloop.