Lions and Tigers and . . . Sea Turtles!

We’ve been talking about all things exotic, scary, fast, and volcanic recently so  I decided today that I would tone it down and remind our study abroad readers that you don’t need to do something nation specific to have fun.  In fact, sometimes even a quick trip to the zoo or aquarium on a lazy Saturday afternoon can really make your day.  I grew up 30 minutes from the Bronx Zoo in New York and zoos are undeniably charming.  Even if you’ve been to a zoo or aquarium recently, it’s no reason to skip out while abroad.  Check out some of the best international zoos and aquariums below.

Oceanário de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal:

This aquarium opened in 1998 and I remember seeing it featured in Architectural Digest (don’t ask) during that time.  The central tank holds 5,000 cubic meters of water and showcases sharks, rays, tuna, and one of the few captive sunfish.  The aquarium as a whole holds over 16,000 animals and plants from over 450 species.

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Osaka, Japan:

800px-osakaaquarium_seaturtleOne of the largest aquariums in the world, the Osaka Aquarium’s main attraction is its pair of whale sharks.  It displays habitats from the Ring of Fire, including the Aleutian Islands, the Gulf of Panama, the Ecuador Rain Forest, and more.  Other highlights include seals, otters, and 12 tanks of jellyfish.

Sydney Aquarium, Sydney, Australia:

The Sydney Aquarium makes this list because it houses more species of shark than any other aquarium.  You can get up close and personal with them as well, through a series of underwater, see-through, tunnels.  The aquarium also contains exhibits for Australia’s northern and southern rivers.

Basel Zoo, Basel, Switzerland:

Basel Zoo successfully bred Cheetahs

Basel Zoo successfully bred Cheetahs

Founded in 1874, the Basel Zoo has around 1 million visitors annually and is the second most popular Swiss point of interest.  Over 600 species and 6,000 animals call it their home.

Berlin Zoological Garden, Berlin, Germany:

This zoo opened in 1844 and managed to survive WWII mostly intact.  Over 13,000 animals from 1,400 different species live there.

National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa:

This expansive zoo sits on 198 acres in Pretoria and is home to over 2,500 species of animals.  Interestingly, almost all of the animals at the zoo were born there.

Thai Elephant Conservation Center, Chiang Mai, Thailand:

Having been to this center I can say that it’s definitely worth it.  The facilities aren’t exactly what a normal tourist would expect (it’s in the jungle), but the handlers love their elephants and it shows.  Also, you can take a mahout training class and learn to direct and ride the elephants.

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Gulliver helps students Study Abroad. Our blog covers: current issues in Study Abroad; featured posts by Study Abroad students; and Gulliver updates, news, and behind-the-scenes peaks. Thanks for reading!

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