Destination Exclusive | Animal Kingdoms

Go wild at these world-renowned zoos and aquariums

A favorite pastime of Americans, more than 175 million people visit zoos and aquariums each year in the United States. A Florida vacation provides many opportunities to get up close and personal with some of your favorite exotic animals, from the Naples Zoo in Naples to the Sea Life Aquarium in Orlando. While the Sunshine State offers some amazing experiences, there are quite a few exceptional RTX destinations where the wildlife takes center stage. Book your next exchange at one of these destinations and find your inner wild side.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is an adventurer’s safari paradise in Southern California. The 1,800-acre Safari Park is home to more than 2,600 animals representing more than 300 species—many living in wide, open field enclosures. So jump onto one of our thrilling array of tours and create memories of adventure for you and your family – all while benefiting the conservation of species here and in more than 22 countries across the globe. PERMITTED USE: Images are provided to the media solely for reproduction, public display, and distribution in a professional journalistic context in connection with newspaper, magazine, broadcast media (radio, television) or Internet media (ad enabled blog, webcasts, webinars, podcasts). Images may not be made available for public or commercial download, licensing or sale. REQUIRED CREDIT AND CAPTION: All image uses must bear the copyright notice and be properly credited to the relevant photographer, as shown in this metadata, and must be accompanied by a caption which makes reference to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Any uses in which the image appears without proper copyright notice, photographer credit and a caption referencing the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are subject to paid licensing.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is an adventurer’s safari paradise in Southern California. The 1,800-acre Safari Park is home to more than 2,600 animals representing more than 300 species—many living in wide, open field enclosures. 

San Diego Zoo and Safari Park: San Diego, CA

Consistently listed as one of the top zoos in the world, a visit to the San Diego Zoo is a must for anyone in the southern California area. Just north of downtown in Balboa Park, the renowned zoo has 100 acres of exhibits and habitats to explore including more than 3,700 animals representing more than 650 species.

While there are plenty of world-class exhibits not to be missed, it is the giant pandas that the zoo is most famous for. On loan from China, San Diego Zoo is one of only four zoos in the U.S. to house the legendary creature, providing a rare opportunity for visitors.

Just as impressive as the animals are the lush grounds themselves. Maintained as an arboretum, more than 70,000 rare and exotic plants can be found on site, many of which are used to feed the animals.

While in the neighborhood animal lovers will want to head 32 miles north to the zoo’s Safari Park. An open-aired sanctuary originally intended as a private breeding ground for the zoo, the park is now home to more than 2,600 animals from 300 species and offers a variety of adventures.

St. Louis Zoo: St. Louis, MO

Recognized as one of the nation’s leading zoological parks, the St. Louis Zoo is a great way to experience more than 600 species up close and personal. Located in the city’s sprawling Forest Park, the zoo is free to the public and known for its commitment to sustainable preservation of animals and natural, humane exhibits.

Take a ride on the Emerson Zooline Railroad for a guided tour of the most exciting animal exhibits in the park, or venture on your own through attractions like the Penguin & Puffin Coast exhibit, considered one of the best penguin habitats in the country.

After hanging out with the penguins be sure to stop by McDonnell Polar Bear Point and visit the newest star of the zoo, Kali, an 850-pound male polar bear. 

samson and the lion by Gleb DeburskyLowcountry Zoo: Murrells Inlet, SC

Just south of Myrtle Beach in Murrells Inlet, the Lowcountry Zoo at Brookgreen Gardens is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the Grand Strand while getting in tune with mother nature. Located on the grounds of a world-renowned sculpture garden, the zoo is the only one accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on the coast of North and South Carolina.

The zoo provides native species that have been orphaned, injured, diseased, or captive born a place to live. Some exhibits include North American river otters, foxes, eagles, white-tailed deer, alligators and much more. If you love butterflies be sure to visit from April through October when the Butterfly House comes to life with the colorful insect.

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