ZOOS! Who doesn't enjoy visiting the zoo? Even though I basically grew up in places fraught with nature and wild animals everywhere, Zoos are still great.
When I was quite young, we visited the Minneapolis Zoological Gardens. I have vague memories of that... I think I - or maybe someone else in my family - took a ride on a camel? Was that a thing? I had to be just 6yo or younger.
I don't remember visiting a zoo in Sri Lanka, India or Taiwan. My dad swears by the Butterfly House in Taiwan - presumably part of a zoo? - but I was only there in the summers and I was a teenager so probably didn't leap at the chance to go. (Besides, Taiwan is NASTY in the summer! Temps in the mid-90s, and humidity equally as high. No exaggeration.)
My 6th grade class at Kodai took a class trip to a safari park, but we didn't see anything cool. No big cats or anything. Advantage of a zoo - you WILL see the cool animals!
When I lived in Chicago, we went to the Brookfield Zoo a couple times. That's a nice zoo. Even in the winter! I went to the Cleveland Zoo when I visited my brother's family. They had two young children at the time, and a season pass. That was also a good zoo.
The saddest "zoo" I've been to is in Salisbury, MD. It's in a park, and free admission, but the animals are in quite small enclosures, and there aren't a lot of animals anyway. Although they have some cute, tiny owls that I love! (Made me think of the hyper owl Ron Weasley got in the Harry Potter books.)
Zoomerica, attached to Hersheypark is better. Still some smallish enclosures, but not as bad, and they have a reptile house, and the most beautiful grounds you could hope for.
A couple years ago my sister and I took my brother and his two little girls to the Indianapolis Zoo. They loved it. It was nice, but I think Brookfield is better. They have a Butterfly House that Titania (7yo) loved. Brett immediately said St. Louis Zoo is better, but it took another couple years for us to get there.
Our first trip through St. Louis together, we didn't have time for the zoo, but we went to Grant's Farm, which is kind of like a zoo. It has animals from every continent (except Antarctica) - most in enclosures which enable you to pet them. It also has a beer garden, where all adults can have two free beers - Anheuser-Busch brands only. Lovely, short visit.
On a longer visit, we had the nieces along (from the Indy Zoo visit) and got to the St. Louis Zoo. It is free.
It is expansive.
It is crowded.
It was hot.
Brett was right: It is an awesome zoo. I'd love to go sometime maybe in the fall when it's cooler.
Moral of the Story: Zoos are cool.