This place is a Zoo!

Last Saturday, I brought my grandson Callum to Dublin Zoo. My wife is a keen gardener and she wanted to spend the day at Bloom which was in full swing in the Phoenix Park so I thought that I’d kill two birds with the one stone and treat my grandson and myself to some zoological pursuits. It had been at least 30, if not 40 years since I had last stepped foot inside the facility and consequently had little or no recollection of what it had been like the last time I had visited but I needn’t have worried as the pair of us spent a wonderful few hours traipsing around the zoo’s 68 acres of luxuriantly landscaped grounds which are even an attraction in themselves.

I was aware of two bits of trivia regarding Dublin Zoo. The first was that it was one of the oldest zoos in the world —after Vienna (1752) and London (1828). Dublin Zoo was founded in 1831. The second was that the famous MGM lion that preceded many a Hollywood blockbuster was born and bred at Dublin Zoo. It got me to thinking about how many zoos and aquariums there are in the world (over 1,300); which are the biggest in terms of actual size and which are the largest in terms of numbers of species on display and my research threw up a number of surprises such as two of the largest such facilities in the world are two that I’ve never heard of and which are not even located in large cities — Columbus Zoo & Aquarium in Powell, Ohio which, at 580 acres, is nearly ten times the size of Dublin zoo — itself, a large enough facility and the Henry Doorley Zoo & Aquarium in Omaha, Nebraska. What really blew me away though was the 1,500 species on display at Berlin Zoo (in comparison, Dublin boasts just 400!)

So for all you lovers of menageries (the name given to zoos before they were called zoos!), here is a list of the top ten zoos in the world in ascending order:








San Diego Zoo California 100 Acres 650 Species


London Zoo England 36 Acres 755 Species


The Bronx Zoo New York 265 Acres 650 Species


National Zoological Gardens South Africa 210 Acres 705 Species


Moscow Zoo Russia 53 Acres 927 Species


The Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium (Omaha) Nebraska 130 Acres 962 Species


Beijing Zoo China 219 Acres 950 Species


Toronto Zoo Canada 710 Acres 491 Species


Columbus Zoo & Aquarium (Powell) Ohio 580 Acres 793 Species


Berlin Zoological Gardens Germany 84 Acres 1,500 Species
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