Brevard Zoo, take a bow.
Months after the Brevard Zoo ranked No. 3 on USA TODAY's 10 Best Readers Choice Awards, the attraction made U.S. News and World Report's list of "26 Best Zoos in the U.S" for 2023. Here are some things to know about the Brevard Zoo, what it offers and why it's getting national attention.
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U.S. News and World Report picks Brevard Zoo for 'Best Zoos in the U.S.' list
In honor of summer vacation, travel and family-friendly things to do, U.S. News and World Report picked their favorite zoos for summer 2023: "While not all zoos are created equal, the editors at U.S. News used an extensive research process to create this list of the top zoos in the country. All the destinations receive favorable traveler reviews on multiple websites, are accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums – an organization focused on the well-being and care of animals – and have been evaluated by experienced veterinarians and animal care specialists."
Here's what the publication said about Brevard Zoo: "The Brevard Zoo, which sits roughly 60 miles southeast of Orlando's theme parks and about 30 miles southwest of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, offers fun and educational activities in a manageable setting. Families can peruse the open-air exhibits to see alligators, giraffes and zebras. Recent visitors say the habitats were impressive, there was ample shade, and the zip lining experience was a must try. For a unique zoo adventure, join a guided kayak tour to see the rhinos and lemurs of Expedition Africa from the water or board the train to see camels, antelope and African cattle. What's more, the zoo is focused on conservation efforts to protect the local ecosystem with a sea turtle healing center and the building of living shorelines."
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What other zoos made the '26 Best Zoos in the U.S.' list?
The editors at U.S. News and World Report also selected the St. Louis Zoo, San Diego Zoo and Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, Florida, for its list of "26 Best Zoos in the U.S." feature.
Here's the full list, in no particular order:
Oakland Zoo in Oakland, California
Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C.
Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska
St. Louis Zoo in St. Louis, Missouri
Fort Worth Zoo in Fort Worth, Texas
San Diego Zoo and Safari Park in San Diego, California (two separate parks)
Bronx Zoo in New York City, New York
Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida
Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Minnesota
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, Nebraska
Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, Louisiana
Denver Zoo in Denver, Colorado
Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, California
Philadelphia Zoo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Zoo Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia
Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona
Indianapolis Zoo in Indianapolis, Indiana
Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois
Memphis Zoo in Memphis, Tennessee
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden in Cincinnati, Ohio
Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, Virginia
Houston Zoo in Houston, Texas
Lion Country Safari in Loxohatchee, Florida
Brevard Zoo ranks No. 3 in USA TODAY 10 Best poll
In April, the Brevard Zoo was voted the top zoo in Florida, and the No. 3 zoo in North America, according to USA TODAY 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards for 2023.
Here's what USA TODAY's 10 Best editors said about Brevard Zoo: "Home to more than 900 animals, the AZA-accredited Brevard Zoo takes the zoo-going experience to adventurous new levels. Guests can zip-line through the jungles of South America or kayak through the African savanna or a restored Florida wetland."
Pawesome news! Brevard Zoo ranked No. 3 in North America in USA TODAY poll
What animals will I see at Brevard Zoo? What are the hours, cost of admission?
Brevard Zoo, 8225 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne, is home to more than 900 animals, with over 195 species represented from across the globe. Features include an exhibit with three lion brothers, monkey section, aviary, flamingos, exotic birds, otters, rhinos, zebra, crocodiles and marine life. Guests are able to feed giraffes and alligators. Other highlights of the zoo include kayaking, a train and Treetop Trek aerial adventure zipline (see below).
Brevard Zoo's hours of operation are from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with the last admission at 3:30 p.m. Admission is $33.95 for adults ages 12 and older, $28.95 for seniors ages 65 and older, $21.95 for children ages 3 to 11, and free for kids younger than 3. There's a $2 discount if tickets are purchased online. Call 321-254-WILD (321-254-9453) or visit brevardzoo.org.
Treetop Trek zipline features five obstacle courses, ranging from beginner to expert, with incredible views of the zoo and its inhabitants (ziplining over the alligators is so Florida!). Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Monday. Cost is $24.95 for chutes and ladders, mostly for young children (two ziplines), $49.95 for the zipline course (10 ziplines), $39.95 for beginner (two ziplines), $59.95 for intermediate challenge (14 ziplines), and $74.95 for expert or black diamond (14 ziplines). Some discounts are available. Call 321-254-WILD (321-254-9453) or visit brevardzoo.org or treetoptrek.com.
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: US News & World names 26 best zoos for 2023: 2 from Florida made list