Karla Courtney visits five of the best zoos around the world.
A short ferry ride from Market Square, this zoo is on rugged Korkeasaari Island, with a perfect view back to central Helsinki. It’s open throughout winter, when most of the animals choose to stay outdoors in the snow. A real wonderland.
Don’t miss: Coco, the Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth (above). More than 40 years old, she’s a visitor favourite.
The best way to experience this zoo is on a Night Safari – a guided tram ride around the park at dusk with soft light, balmy air and a selection of exotic animals from across Asia and Africa, housed in large and well-laid-out habitats.
Don’t miss: The bat enclosure. Not for the faint of heart, it's dark and bats will fly around you. But it’s a unique experience and oddly exhilarating.
San Diego Zoo tops so many lists: it’s certainly one of the biggest and most famous in the world. It’s also known as the pioneer of cageless enclosures and will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2016.
Don’t miss: Pay extra and book ahead for the Early Morning with Pandas experience, when you can watch them eat their breakfast before the park opens.
Canada’s largest city is home to one of the world’s largest zoos. The Toronto Zoo is located inside Rouge Park (rougepark.com) – a massive urban wilderness with woods, wetlands and a beach on the shore of Lake Ontario.
Don’t miss: A toss-up between the moose, the polar bears and the rainforest gorillas.
There is no shortage of stunning harbour views in Sydney but Taronga Zoo offers one of the best. Just over a 10-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay, Taronga features some 4000 animals from more than 350 species – including, of course, Australian natives such as kangaroos, koalas, quokkas and wombats. For a truly unique experience, book the family into a Roar & Snore sleepover at the zoo.
Don’t miss: The giraffes – apart from being incredible creatures in their own right, their habitat looks back onto Sydney for a perfect photo opportunity.