Written for Orange Line to be used by Expedia
Without even leaving our backyard, Zoos can make us reconnect, learn and grow as protectors of the natural world. The best zoos will make you feel like you’ve been transported into a storybook; travel into the depths of the Indian jungle with Moglie and Shere Kahn, or deep sea dive with Jacques Cousteau - whilst dedicating their time and efforts towards sustainable practices and conservation. Most major cities around the world have zoos, and the four below work as hard at creating suitable living environments for their animal residents and reducing their carbon footprints as they do maintaining a magical animal kingdom to inspire and capture our hearts and imaginations.
Australia Zoo, Queensland, Australia
Founded by the late Steve Irwin, Australia’s Crocodile Hunter, the Australia Zoo encourages lots of hands-on interaction. Visitors can take part in encounters with wombats, koalas, kangaroos elephants, snakes – even tigers. And of course there is a horrifyingly entertaining crocodile show! It feels more like an animal sanctuary than a zoo – animals roam freely in large enclosures and mingle as they would in nature. Not only can kids get up close and personal with the animals, they might also be able to meet the whole Irwin family while learning about wildlife conservation. The Australia Zoo is all about conservation and is currently helping to protect many species – tigers, wombats, elephants, cheetahs and crocodiles – to name a few. Be sure to make a booking and wear comfy shoes, because you are in for a day of walking!
Where to stay
Glass on Glasshouse
Situated just 10 minutes from the Australia Zoo on the edge of the Glass House Mountains National Park, the floor to ceiling glass walls will make you feel like you are sleeping under the stars, in the comfort of a lush B&B cottage. Free Wi-Fi can help you plan your itinerary while the DVD player and sound system will keep you entertained. Start your day off making breakfast prepared from food provided in the kitchenette and end it by sinking into the decadent spa bath, next to an open fire with a view of the bush and kangaroos outside.
Wellington Zoo, North Island, New Zealand
Simply by visiting the Wellington Zoo, you will feel like an animal conservationist. Chat with the zookeepers about the many conservation projects the zoo is involved in and learn about how they make their animal residents feel at home. New Zealand’s first zoo is also the world’s first CarbonZero certified zoo – meaning that the staff work hard to make sure they are leaving a low carbon footprint and protecting the planet, while protecting the animals. On top of housing more than 500 animals and 100 different species, the Wellington Zoo has long list of animal encounters - you can leave with stories of how you came face-to-face with a cheetah, walked alongside wallabies or fed a lion from your bare hand!
Where to stay
The Set Up On Dixon
The Set Up on Dixon is not your standard hostel. With modern, comfortable rooms at budget prices (and linen included), TV and private or shared bathroom, you can spend your money on the sites, not your stay. Centrally located opposite the iconic Opera House, 4 kilometres from the Botanic Garden and steps from the bus stop that will take you into the Wellington Zoo, this is the perfect starting off for exploring this capital city.
Quest on Thorndon
These stylish, immaculate serviced apartments are conveniently located near shopping, bus and ferry ports and only a 15-minute walk from the city centre, but far away enough to avoid the city noise. Choose between spacious studio-style, one or two-bedroom apartments all fully equipped to cook your own meals and do your laundry, and ample lounge space with a TV so you will feel at home away from home.
Philadelphia Zoo, Pennsylvania, United States
America’s first zoo is older than some of its states! Since its opening in 1874, the Philadelphia Zoo has built a reputation for its conservation efforts – breeding endangered species in captivity and creating simulated natural habitats for the 1300+ animals that call it home. Orangutans, polar bears, African lions, amphibians, migratory birds and more depend on these conservation efforts to keep their species alive and well. Like monkeying around? You’ve come to the right place – Philadelphia Zoo boasts one of the most expansive, state-of-the-art primate exhibits on the globe. Watch gibbons, Sumatran Orangutans, lemurs, gorillas and more ‘hang out’. The Zoo360 experience is the first of its kind – mesh trails across the zoo allow animals more room to roam – as you view the animals, they will be watching you back!
Where to stay
Sonesta Philadelphia Downtown
Just off Rittenhouse Square in the heart of Philly, a stay at the Sonesta will leave you saying ‘wow!’ From its ideal central location near restaurants, buses and museums; to the rooftop pool boasting city views; to the hotel’s very own “Art Bar”. You will feel spoilt with the spacious and modern rooms and friendly staff who pull out all the stops to ensure your visit is nothing short of fabulous – your hotel stay will be nearly as memorable as the zoo and city attractions!
The Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square
This historical landmark on the Parkway provides upscale service at affordable prices. From the minute you make a booking, to when you are welcomed at the door by the gracious front desk staff – you will be made to feel at home. Take advantage of the rooftop pool and gym, freshen up in the on-site salon or savor the best cuts of meat at The Prime Rib. And then return your newly refurbished room with sleek and modern styling, free Wi-Fi and a bed you won’t want to leave – perfect to fall into after a day exploring the city’s many tourist spots.
Loews Philadelphia Hotel
Located in the nation’s first skyscraper, Loews Philadelphia Hotel is practically a tourist destination in its own right. Each of the 581 guest rooms and 12 suites are newly renovated and equipped with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs – not to mention stunning views of the city skyline. The indoor pool and fitness centre will help you keep your routine, even on holiday. Its central location lets you begin and end your days of sightseeing 15 minutes walking from the Liberty Bell and historic attractions and a 30-minute bus ride away from the zoo!
Berlin Zoo, Berlin, Germany
Since 1844, more species than any other zoo in the world call the first zoo in Germany home. Located in the heart of the city, the Berlin Zoo and aquarium houses over 17,000 animals – from the unusual and exotic, to endangered, to rare domestic breeds. The spacious and diversified parkland creates ideal grounds for conservation, and for visitors to watch animals in their near-natural habitats. The Zoo originated from the private collection of King IV of Prussia and although a majority was destroyed during WWII – there is still a regal presence in the architecture. Visitors can witness sea lion shows and an array of feedings – from gorillas, to king penguins to brown bears (and more)! You can even see the newest residents – a panda couple on loan from China!
Where to stay
Sofitel Berlin Kurfürstendamm
Sofitel Berlin has a 5-star rating and delivers the quality you can come to expect from a Sofitel – spacious rooms, cloud-like beds and friendly, attentive staff. You will be able to relax in the hammam, sauna and gym; catch-up with friends on the free Wi-Fi or leave full-bellied from the amazing breakfast buffet. Walking distance from the main tourist attractions of the city, trendy shops and restaurants, as well as the U-bahn, you won’t find a better place to begin your day’s adventures.