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America's Best Zoos: A Travel Guide for Fans & Families Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The Intrepid Traveler (May 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 188714076X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1887140768
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #430,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

GreenDaily.com ...written in clear, engaging prose... I especially appreciated their efforts to showcase the unique aspect of each zoo. (GreenDaily. )

From the Author

It's a common misconception that all zoos are alike. This erroneous belief keeps many people from adding zoos to their travel itineraries. People ask, "We already have a good zoo in our hometown, so why should we want to see some other zoo?" The fact is, though, that each zoo is different, and some are unique. The tropical foliage at the Jacksonville Zoo is quite different from the evergreens of Portland's Oregon Zoo. An African savanna exhibit in the desert at the Phoenix Zoo is not at all similar to the savanna at the urban Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. Some zoo exhibits, such as the Bronx Zoo's Congo Gorilla Forest or the Lied Jungle in Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, are unparalleled. Koalas, okapis, giant otters, and even moose are displayed at very few zoos, and there are still fewer than half a dozen U.S. zoos where you can go to see a giant panda. Thus, visiting a new zoo is almost guaranteed to be a very different experience than a visit to your local zoo.

Together, we have visited all sixty of the "Best" zoos featured in this book, many of them more than once. We have visited these zoos as tourists, often with family members (including children) accompanying us, and we have been careful to notice what would interest the typical visitor. Our hope is that this book will inspire you to visit more zoos around our nation, and that it will make your experience of these zoos even more rewarding.


More About the Author

I was born in California but grew up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. I developed my love for travel and for zoos during my family's frequent zoo visits and many cross-country vacations. After high school, I joined the U.S. Army and spent the better part of three years in Hawaii, training in field artillery. Living there stoked my interest in seeing more exotic locations and the fauna that inhabit them. Following my discharge, I earned my Bachelor's and Master's Degrees at the University of Wisconsin and then went to work for the U.S. Census Bureau for a year in the Washington area (my Master's is in Statistics). I moved to Indianapolis in 1984 when I began my career as a statistician in the field of medical research.

My interest in zoos stayed with me as I grew up, married, and had children. In 1988, just about the time my children were getting old enough to enjoy zoos, the brand new Indianapolis Zoo opened, whetting my appetite still further. I started visiting zoos in other cities while on business trips and discovered how fascinating and different every zoo is. I was so interested in them that I wrote long, detailed descriptions of the zoos I visited to my brother and fellow zoo-lover, David. He finally told me I "ought to" write a book about zoos. So in 1994, I wrote The Zoo Book: A Guide to America's Best. I've been a member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums for over 15 years.

In addition to working full-time for Eli Lilly and visiting every zoo I possibly can -- over 225 worldwide so far, I teach statistics part-time as an Adjunct Professor for Indiana University's School of Public Health. My wife Kathy is kind enough to indulge me in my zoo habit. We are the proud parents of four children.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Thanks for a great resource book.
K. Brinkman
They also provide information about special shows or educational offerings the zoo has available.
Craig Matteson
There are also lists of each author's 25 favorite zoo exhibits.
Share Lindsey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
This really cool book can enhance any trip you make. If you are travelling on business and are tired of sitting in your motel room watching idiot TV shows, this book can point you to a nearby zoo that will provide fun, education, and new experiences. Unlike a chain restaurant, each zoo is different and emphasizes different things. If you are on vacation, a zoo can be a surprisingly affordable family outing. A trip to the zoo doesn't have to be an all day event. You can go for just a couple of hours and focus on the specific exhibits that interest you. This guidebook can help you do that.

As Newt Gingrich points out in the introduction, America's zoos have played a much bigger role in protecting wildlife and conserving species than most people realize. The authors, Allen Nyhuis and Jon Wassner, have visited hundreds of zoos and provide you with valuable information on what to look for at each zoo and what each zoo's specialty is.

This book is organized very well and provides its information in helpful ways. After Newt Gingrich's foreword, the introduction provides information on trends at modern zoos, what to expect when going to the zoo, and how to take in the experience when you have children along (shorter visits, mix up viewing exhibits with rides and shows, for example). There is also a section on unusual and favorite animals and which zoos specialize in them. The next section explains how to use the book and how the zoo reviews are laid out.

The 97 zoos reviewed in this book are grouped into seven areas by geography. Each section intro also includes a map of the region and dots mark where the zoos are. Another 37 zoos are given a paragraph as the "best of the rest" at the end of each section.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Reid on May 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
America's Best Zoos really makes a case for including a zoo in your next family vacation, or check out the zoos in your own state. My local zoos The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and The Phoenix Zoo were really described well with the "can't miss" displays highlighted. I remember going to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha and thought it was excellent at the time and it has a great write-up as well. My original hometown zoo the Minnesota Zoo is also featured. If you have little ones, the children's activities are pointed out to make this zoo trip fun for everyone. Makes me want to visit zoos across the country! America's Best Zoos: A Travel Guide for Fans & Families I also like how the book points out how zoo breeding programs are saving species and keeping them genetically diverse. I never miss the bears and big cats on my trip to the zoo. My favorite animal is the elephant, what's yours?
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael De Groote on May 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
A foreword by Newt Gingrich? Who knew his political career started by lobbying his city council for a zoo? Anybody who has a kid knows that zoos are not just great fun, but instill a love for animals and honoring the earth. If your kid has obsessed on a particular animal, you can use this guide to find the best places to see sifakas, for example.

Some of the best creative exhibit design in America is found in zoos. And it is all in this book.

It is fun to browse through a book that was an obvious labor of love. Let's face it, some of your best childhood memories took place in zoos.

Each zoo has its own character. So use this guide whenever you are going someplace. That old zoo you remember has probably changed a lot--for the better.

The book profiles zoos, highlights kids features, and has regional maps to plot out that day trip or keep track of your goal to visit them all.

We have a year's membership at our local zoo here in Salt Lake City. It also gives us admission and/or discounts at other zoos as well. So pack this book and bring your yearly membership.

Remember, there might be penguins!

(I love penguins. Nothing is as good as penguins.)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sara Gregg on May 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a valuable zoo guide for anyone, especially for parents with children. This book is well written with up-to-date information on my own local zoo, the San Antonio Zoo and Aquarium. I like that it has tips for the best times to view animals and lists the best children's zoos. There is even a section that lists the best places to view lesser-known animals and favorites as well. Another thing I like is that zoos that are part of the reciprocity program are noted by their fees. Since we have a zoo membership, it is nice to be able to save money on fees when we visit another zoo. We do quite a bit of traveling so this guide will be well used in our family. Thanks for doing all of the leg-work and research for us.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Donald Armerding on May 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
I had no idea there were so many good zoo's in America. America's Best Zoos: A Travel Guide for Fans & Families is a great tool for navigating them. The organization by geographical areas helps to find zoos near where you're visiting. "Featured Exhibits" and "For the Kids" sections for each zoo highlight things to look for when you're there. I especially like the authors' top 25 lists at the end. Thanks for all the legwork to put this book together.
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