Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Carol. Carol Wonders, “Is the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, NC the largest zoo in the world?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Carol!

Do you love animals? We do! Here in Wonderopolis we love to learn about all creatures, great and small. One fun way to see lots of animals in one trip is by visiting a local zoo.

Are there any zoos near you? Maybe there are other animal attractions, such as game reserves. What’s the difference? In zoos, animals are contained in their own shelters. Game reserves allow wildlife to run free throughout their grounds.

Game reserves allow people to sightsee and sometimes even hunt the animals. Zoos, on the other hand, care for animals for conservation, entertainment, and educational purposes.

The word “zoo” was first used to describe the London Zoological Gardens in 1847. Up until that time, zoos were usually called menageries. They were often set up for the scientific study of animals, also known as zoology. It was only natural that the word “zoo” would eventually come to describe these places.

The idea of bringing together a collection of wild animals has ancient origins. The oldest such collection existed in Egypt in 3500 B.C.E It contained elephants and baboons. The first zoo in the United States was the Central Park Zoo. It opened in New York City in 1860 and is still in operation.

Most zoos have special enclosures. They’re built specifically for each type of animal they house. These enclosures are meant to be as similar as possible to the animals’ natural habitats. For example, penguins might be placed in an enclosure with cold climate conditions they’re used to in the wild.

Where is the largest zoo in the world? There are actually many zoos that claim to be the largest zoo in one way or another. It all depends on what criteria you use to measure the size of the zoo.

If you measure size by the number of different species housed at the zoo, then the largest zoo would be the San Diego Zoo. As one of the most famous zoos in the world, the it houses an astounding number of animals: over 4,000 animals from over 800 different species!

If you combine land area and number of species, one of the largest zoos has to be the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. It houses thousands of animals from hundreds of species on over 130 acres of land. It’s no surprise that the Henry Doorly Zoo is the top paid attendance attraction in Nebraska!

Other large zoos around the world include the Beijing Zoo, Toronto Zoo, and Moscow Zoo. Each has its own characteristics that make it special. Have you ever been to a zoo? If not, would you like to? Many see them as great places to learn about new animals!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.7

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow’s brand-new Wonder of the Day might have you speaking a whole new language!