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TripAdvisor Takes A Walk On The Wild Side With America's Top 10 Zoos

Travelers' Favorite Menageries Offer Four-Footed Family Fun

NEWTON, Mass., May 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- TripAdvisor®, the world's largest travel site*, today announced the top 10 zoos in the United States, according to the TripAdvisor Popularity Index. Animal aficionados of all ages can take in an array of scales and tails at these animated attractions.

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1. Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha's famous zoo boasts the Desert Dome – the largest indoor desert in the world, which spans 84,000 square feet and is home to a variety of vegetation and a colony of critters. Travelers can also take in the Lied Jungle, a rainforest setting featuring cascading waterfalls and monkeys jumping from tree to tree. "It's a wonderful education for children and adults," commented a TripAdvisor traveler. Admission costs $13.50 for adults (ages 12 and up), $12.50 for seniors, and $9 for children (ages three to 11); children under two get in for free.

2. St. Louis Zoo, Saint Louis, Missouri

Home to more than 650 species, this popular Midwest zoo features creatures of all kinds. Travelers can immerse themselves in the ten-acre River's Edge exhibit, a naturalistic habitat featuring roaming hyenas, hippos, elephants and more. Feathered friends-galore can be spotted  at the Penguin and Puffin Coast, while Bear Bluffs boasts some less cuddly beasts, such as Grizzlies, Andeans and Sloth bears. "This is a great zoo and the fact that it's free is wonderful for families on a budget," said one TripAdvisor traveler. Admission is free, but some attractions require a small fee.

3. Cape May County Park & Zoo, Cape May Court House, New Jersey

Situated on the southern Jersey Shore, this wildlife sanctuary showcases more than 250 species of animals. Travelers can acquaint themselves with a bevy of birds, amphibians, reptiles, and furry friends – and, when not gawking at quadrupeds, can wander through one of the lush nature trails, or hop on the train and carousel rides. A TripAdvisor traveler noted, "If you and your family like to see animals treated in a fair and humane way and enjoy a wonderful park setting, the Cape May County Park and Zoo is the place to go." Admission is free.

4. Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden, Columbia, South Carolina

From African Plains to Lemur Island, this attraction's exhibits let travelers get up close to more than 2,000 animals and 350 species. Giraffes, zebras, and ostriches roam across a vast expanse resembling the African savanna, while wallabies and kangaroos amble around an interactive walk-through area. A TripAdvisor traveler said, "Riverbanks Zoo is the perfect family outing." Admission costs $11.75 for adults, $10.75 for seniors, and $9.25 for children (ages three to 12); children under two get in for free.

5. Memphis Zoo, Memphis, Tennessee

In the midst of Memphis, travelers can connect with wildlife in an array of exciting settings, including Cat Country, Primate Canyon, and Crocodile Cove. Those wishing to learn more about the zoo's remarkable residents can also take in one of the daily shows, which star a lineup of cuddly cast mates. "Well-timed feedings and shows give the experience an educational element," noted a TripAdvisor traveler. Admission costs $15 for adults (ages 12 to 59), $14 for seniors (age 60 and up), and $10 for children (ages two to 11).

6. San Diego Zoo, San Diego, California

Set across 100 acres of sun-drenched SoCal soil, this zoo is home to more than 3,700 rare and endangered residents, including giant panda bears, as well as an exotic collection of flora and fauna. Animal lovers can even sleep over at this wildlife kingdom, and enjoy an after-hours stroll through the grounds, before retiring to their tents. "A must-see if you visit San Diego," commented a TripAdvisor traveler. Admission costs $42 for adults (ages 12 and up) and $32 for children (ages three to 11).

7. Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, Kansas

This family-friendly attraction lets visitors come face-to-face with exciting species from across the globe. Travelers can visit Malaysian tapirs in the Asian forest, see penguins at play in the Cessna Penguin Cove, or discover the Children's Farm, where dozens of domestic breeds dwell. "The animals seem to have nice habitats, the zookeepers are frequently roaming around answering questions and educating the visitors," noted a TripAdvisor traveler. Admission costs $13.95 for adults (ages 12 to 61), $11.95 for seniors (age 62 and up), and $8.95 for children (ages three to 11); children under two get in for free.

8. Brevard Zoo, Melbourne, Florida

Built by a community of nature enthusiasts, this sanctuary in the sun showcases several natural habitats, including "Wild Florida". In this exhibit, travelers can feed white-tailed deer or climb into a kayak for a guided tour through acres of wetlands and their denizens. A TripAdvisor traveler noted, "This zoo is a perfect size for young children. I love the opportunity to get so close to the animals." Admission costs $14.50 for adults (ages 12 and up), $13.50 for seniors, and $10.50 for children (ages two to 12); children under two get in for free.

9. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs, Colorado

This elevated establishment mirrors the natural habitats of more than 800 animals. Travelers can view wildlife from across the globe, including giraffes and meerkats in the African Rift Valley and grizzly bears in the Rocky Mountain Wild exhibit. Animal-gazers can also soar like a bird and enjoy panoramic views of the mountains in an open-air chairlift ride. A TripAdvisor traveler said, "It's got everything the large zoos have but in a smaller space on the side of a mountain." Admission costs $17.25 for adults, $15.25 for seniors (ages 65 and up), and $12.25 for children (ages three to 11); children under two get in for free.

10. Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, Louisiana

At this zoo in the Big Easy, travelers can enjoy a parade of spots, stripes, and scales. Activities at this swamp-side attraction include bug tosses and "Creature Features", during which patrons can pose for a picture with a critter and learn fascinating facts. Warm-blooded travelers can chill out at the Cool Zoo, a water park that boasts an alligator water slide and water-spitting snakes. A TripAdvisor traveler said, "One of the best zoos I have been to; great displays, beautifully maintained... simply a delight!" Admission costs $16 for adults, $13 for seniors (age 65 and up), and $11 for children (ages two to 12); children under two get in for free.

"The exotic sights and sounds at these zoos offer travelers a virtual round-the-world trip, without the price tag," said Karen Drake, senior director of communications at TripAdvisor. "Whether it's gazing at gorillas or peeping at penguins, these wildlife sanctuaries offer herds of fun for adults and children alike."

About TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor® is the world's largest travel site, enabling travelers to plan and have the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools. TripAdvisor-branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, with more than 50 million unique monthly visitors*, and over 60 million reviews and opinions. The sites operate in 30 countries worldwide, including China under daodao.com. TripAdvisor also includes TripAdvisor for Business, a dedicated division that provides the tourism industry access to TripAdvisor's millions of monthly visitors.

TripAdvisor, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRIP) manages and operates websites under 19 other travel media brands, and together the sites attract more than 69 million unique monthly visitors**. TripAdvisor's travel media brands include www.airfarewatchdog.com, www.bookingbuddy.com, www.cruisecritic.com, www.everytrail.com, www.familyvacationcritic.com, www.flipkey.com, www.holidaylettings.co.uk, www.holidaywatchdog.com, www.independenttraveler.com, www.onetime.comwww.seatguru.com, www.sniqueaway.com, www.smartertravel.com, www.tingo.com, www.travel-library.com, www.travelpod.com, www.virtualtourist.com, www.whereivebeen.com, and www.kuxun.cn.

*Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, Worldwide, January 2012

**Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Inc. and its subsidiaries, Worldwide, January 2012

©2012 TripAdvisor, Inc. All rights reserved.

SOURCE TripAdvisor