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The Solo Traveler’s Guide to US Zoos and Aquariums

The Solo Travelers Guide to US Zoos and Aquariums featured

Are you a solo traveler and an animal lover? Then you’re in luck! The United States has some of the best zoos and aquariums in the world, offering a variety of opportunities to explore wildlife and marine life. From the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere to free admission zoos, you’ll find something for everyone on this list. Let’s dive into the ten best places to explore wildlife and marine life in the US!

1. Embrace the Wild Nature at San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo animals

The San Diego Zoo is not just any zoo – it’s the largest in the United States, covering over 100 acres in San Diego, California. It presents wildlife from all over the globe, featuring more than 3,700 animals from over 650 species. With its innovative exhibits, the San Diego Zoo provides an extensive experience of wildlife where you can interact with the animals and the zoo personnel. Perfect for solo travelers seeking to explore the wild nature!

2. Dive in the World of the Sea at Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium whale sharks

The Georgia Aquarium, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the most amazing aquariums on the planet! With its colossal size of ten million gallons of water, this aquarium hosts over 100,000 animals from 500 species. You’ll be blown away by the Ocean Voyager exhibit, where you can see whale sharks, manta rays, and enjoy the mesmerizing viewing room that immerses you into their world. If you’re passionate about marine life, this aquarium is a must-visit destination for any solo traveler!

3. Visit The Great Apes at Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo gorillas

Lincoln Park Zoo offers an environment that connects people with nature through excellent exhibitions and learning opportunities. As a free admission zoo located in Chicago, Illinois, your journey through the zoo will include over 200 species of wildlife, from kangaroos to polar bears. The Regenstein Center for African Apes hosts a highlight of gorillas and chimpanzees in their space-like natural habitats. Solo travelers that admire studying nature’s calling will find the Lincoln Park zoo a striking backdrop to absorb wildlife history and amazement!

4. Discover the Arctic World at Alaska SeaLife Center

Alaska SeaLife Center sea otters

The Alaska SeaLife Center is located in the coastal town of Seward, where the Arctic and sub-Arctic marine life populates abundantly. The facility’s exhibits harbor a diversity of marine creatures such as sea otters, harbor seals, Steller sea lions, and sea birds, making for a great opportunity to experience wildlife firsthand. The I.Sea.U exhibit focuses on changing ocean conditions in Alaska, and it’s a must-see attraction for nature lovers. A solo trip to the center sets a perfect getaway for learning more about marine life in the Arctic region.

5. Take a Walk on the Wild Side at Bronx Zoo

Bronx Zoo Jungle World

The Bronx Zoo, conveniently located in New York City, New York, is a spacious and impressive location. It covers 265 acres of wooded area, housing more than 4,000 animals from 650 species. Visitors can participate in interactive experiences, such as the Madagascar! exhibit, Congo Gorilla Forest, and Jungle World. The Wild Asia Monorail tour is a must-see ride for solo travelers that wish to experience animal habitats up close within the Bronx Zoo. Bronx Zoo truly offers a wild and natural escapade that gives a break from urban life for the solo traveler.

6. Get Up Close with the Creepy Crawlies at Butterfly Pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion Rosie tarantula

The Butterfly Pavilion has a different approach to the animal world than the zoos previously mentioned on this guide. They focus on invertebrates, presenting more than 5,000 arthropods from 1,600 species. Located in Westminster, Colorado, the Butterfly Pavilion offers a unique opportunity to interact with wildlife, especially the star attraction, Rosie, the tarantula, which will take your experience to the next level. You can explore the tropical rain-forest conservatory and butterfly house or stroll through the outdoor gardens. A solo traveler that doesn’t compromise on the variety of wildlife will find the Butterfly Pavilion amusing and fantastic!

7. Explore the Underwater World at Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California features over 600 species of plants and animals, with more than 35,000 animals and plants living in the aquarium. The aquarium’s mission is to inspire oceanic conservation and feature diverse exhibits such as Kelp Forest, Open Sea, and Sea Otter. An evening splash tour or diving with the sharks are available for solo travelers, making for a memorable trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium.

8. Experience the Wildness at San Antonio Zoo

The San Antonio Zoo is a popular destination located in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 750 species of animals covering nearly 56-acres of land. The zoo also features Amazonia, Africa Live, and the Gibbon Forest exhibits and activities such as the Zootennial Carousel and feeding the Lory Landing birds. A solo traveler who wants to escape the hustle of an urban city and encounter a day with wildlife can head straight to San Antonio Zoo.

9. Discover the Outback at Taronga Zoo

Explore the beauty of Sydney Harbour where the Taronga Zoo is located, and marvel at the wild and exotic animals that inhabit the location. The zoo stretches over 52 acres and features more than 350 species with over 4,000 animals. Travelers can experience the Koala Encounter, the Seal Show, and the Keeper’s Tour, where they can observe zookeepers’ daily activities. Taronga zoo is a spectacular journey for solo travelers that enjoy wildlife and the breathtaking Sydney skyline view.

10. Get Lost in Nature at Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is a family-friendly destination located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, that features unique exhibits and interactive activities for children and adults. The zoo offers the African Journey, where you can see lions, zebras, and giraffes, as well as the Australian Adventure, with kangaroos, wallabies, and emus. The Stingray Bay or the Animal Encounters are other options for travelers that want to get up-close and personal with animals. Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo provides a complete worldwide animal experience to inspire both children and solo travelers to be future animal advocates.

Author: Caroline Hunter

Author: Caroline Hunter

Caroline Hunter is the ultimate travel chameleon - she can switch from a rugged backpacker to a glamorous hotel-goer in the blink of an eye. With a decade of solo traveling experience, she's collected tips and tricks from every corner of the globe. And now, she's generously sharing her secrets with us mere mortals who still struggle to pack a suitcase without forgetting something crucial. So, whether you're a fan of roughing it or prefer to indulge in luxury, Caroline's got you covered.

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