Newt’s Favorite Zoos

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Newt has liked animals and zoos since he was a little boy. His relatives used to take him to the Hershey Zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo and the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.  When he was ten he went to the Harrisburg City Council and made an appeal for a zoo for Pennsylvania’s capital city.  As a teenager, Newt wanted to be either a zoo director or a vertebrate paleontologist.  As a young college professor, he coordinated the Interdisciplinary Program on Environmental Studies at West Georgia College. Newt and Callista visit zoos and museums everywhere they go.  Newt has visited nearly 100 zoos around the world. Callista is catching up.

Here are some of their favorite zoos.

  • San Diego Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park.  These two great attractions combine to be the finest zoo in the world.  They are amazing in the quality of exhibits and the number of species
  • Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo. Both are run by the Wildlife Conservation Society. The Bronx zoo was the great attraction of my childhood. The Central Park Zoo is a little gem in the middle of the city.  The Wildlife Conservation Society does more research in the wild than any other zoo in the world.
  • Zoo Atlanta is the zoo my daughters grew up visiting and now the zoo Callista and I take our grandchildren to see. Maggie and Robert love its world class gorilla exhibit and its exciting panda exhibit.
  • The Animal Kingdom at Disney World is an extraordinary experience of animals, rides and performances. Robert and Maggie loved the Lion King and would go again and again.
  • The Palm Beach Zoo (led by my friend Terry Maple who saved Zoo Atlanta and is once again creating real breakthroughs) has a world class jaguar exhibit, wonderful giant anteaters and Malayan Tigers;
  • Audubon Zoo in New Orleans is only four blocks from my home as a graduate student.  My daughters were first zood (if that is a word) at Audubon Park and Ron Forman has done a brilliant job creating a modern zoo on an old historic park. Their Louisiana swamp exhibit is spectacular.
  • The North Carolina Zoo is the best kept secret in the zoo world, naturalistic exhibits spread over 1000 acres.
  • Cincinnati has one of the most diverse animal collections in the world and a really good insect exhibit.
  • The innovative and highly specialized Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which provides great depth in featuring the flora and fauna of the desert.
  • I have to mention the small but lovely Zoo America at Hershey Park which is 3 miles from where I grew up and where I spent many wonderful afternoons wandering around and imagining that someday I could become a zoo keeper.
  • Finally, The Omaha Zoo is one of the three best zoos in America. Its nocturnal house is the best in the world.
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