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The 10 Best Drive-Through Zoos in the United States

Drive Thru Zoo

Some people prefer drive-through zoos for various reasons. For instance, the visitors stay safe in case wild animals charge at them. Another reason they like drive-through zoos is that they can tour by driving without experiencing any fatigue. Seeing how advantageous they are, you probably wonder which drive-through zoos you can visit in the United States. Of course, there are several of them, but here are the top ten best drive-through zoos to visit in the country today.

10. Lion Country Safari, Loxahatchee, Florida

Despite its name, lions are not the only animals you will find in the zoo. Besides lions, you will see zebras, rhinos, ostriches, chimpanzees, and water buffalos. However, when it was first opened in 1967, lions were the only animals there. Later on, other animals were introduced to the zoo. Apart from looking at the animals, you can also closely interact with them. For example, the drive-through zoo has a petting zoo and a section where you can feed giraffes.

9. Virginia Safari Park, Natural Bridge, Virginia

The zoo is home to at least 1000 animals. Some of the animals you may meet are white rhinos, cheetahs, penguins, zebras, sloths, Bengal Tigers, etc. The zoo was opened so that visitors could see the animals naturally in their habitat. For instance, you may meet fighting animals or one giving birth. How would you want to feed the animals? From your car or outside your car? Whichever your preference, you will be allowed to feed parrots, llamas, and giraffes.

8. Bearizona Wildlife Park, Williams, Arizona

This zoo is ideal for people who want to visit the native species of North America. Some of the animals you will see are black bears, wolves, bobcats, beavers, jaguars, and raccoons. The park is located in a region that experiences all four seasons. Therefore, depending on the season you visit, you will be able to observe different animal behaviors. The management of this zoo discourages people from getting in with a convertible. Although a fashionable vehicle, you wouldn't want to be the victim of bear attacks.

7. Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, San Antonio, Texas

This drive-through zoo will give you the ultimate African experience. For instance, you will encounter African animals like giraffes, zebras, buffalos, antelopes, etc. Also, there is a store where you can purchase animal carvings and take them home as a souvenir. Essentially, you do not need to visit Africa. As you tour the zoo, you will be able to choose your favorite ice-cream from their restaurant called Safari Camp Grill. Some of the ice-cream flavors they offer are starburst, vanilla, rocky road, strawberry, etc.

6. Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Commerce City, Colorado

Most animal lovers consider this zoo a great place to escape from the noisy city. While in the wild, you should spot deer, bald eagles, bison, and many other animals. Instead of touring the site in your car, you can do so on foot or by bicycle. If you choose to hike or bike, you should expect to cover 20 miles. Initially, the drive-through zoo was built in 1942 to manufacture chemical weapons. In 1986, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) discovered 330 species. In 1992, the American government then turned it into a zoo.

5. Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Glen Rose, TX

The park occupies 1800 acres of land. That means you have to prepare for a two-hour drive in the area. Being huge, the zoo houses at least 1100 animals. You should see blue and gold macaws, cheetahs, armadillos, wolves, sables, wild turkeys, and many more. Sometimes, your child may fear interacting with wild animals. As a result, the management has a children's animal center where they can interact with harmless animals like goats and tortoises.

4. Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari Park, Pine Mountain, Georgia

Have you ever seen a liger? It is a cross-breed between a lion and a tiger. Ligers are extremely rare to spot in zoos or anywhere else. Luckily, this is the zoo where you can spot them. Besides ligers, you will encounter other animals like wallabies, wolves, parrots, and lemurs. Besides seeing the wild animals, you can go on a horseback riding adventure. With the horse, you will be able to explore the valleys and mountains of this drive-through zoo.

3. Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari Park, Pine Mountain, Georgia

If cheetahs fascinate you so much, this is the proper zoo to visit. The zoo is home to several cheetahs because the management has a breeding program. Cheetahs are generally docile animals. That means you will be allowed to get close to them. Other animals in the zoo include African elephants, hippos, and American alligators. The zoo management allows you to adopt the animals at a fee. Some of the animals you can adopt are cheetahs, hippos, red pandas, and many others.

2. African Safari Wildlife Park, Port Clinton, Ohio

In this drive-through zoo, you will meet alpacas, gemsboks, llamas, elks, emus, giraffes, etc. If you come to the zoo specifically for the giraffes, ensure you visit during the warm season. During winter, the management locks away the giraffes so that they do not succumb to the extreme cold season. An activity you can do fun in this zoo is watching pigs race. One thing to note is that pigs love to run. Holding pig racing events is therefore not an act of animal cruelty.

1. Buffalo Safari Jeep Tour, Custer State Park, South Dakota

There are two ways to explore this drive-through zoo. First, you could use your car or board an open-air jeep for a guided tour. Expect to see prairie dogs, buffalos, elks, and pronghorns in your exploration. When you opt for the guided tour, it will take roughly 2 hours. Besides taking a road trip, you can go for boat rides on the mountain lakes. If you enjoy the view of the mountain lakes, you can also pay for accommodation near them.


Have you ever wanted to go on a road trip but didn't know where to go? From the list of the drive-through zoos, you can decide which zoo appeals to you. Besides seeing animals you have never seen, you can consider it a welcome break from the noisy city life. Are you a selfie enthusiast? Why not visit one of these zoos and post photos of you there for memories to your social media handles?

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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