The Ultimate Family Guide to Zoos in the Mid-Atlantic

Over the past several years, I have visited a number of zoos around the Mid-Atlantic region - Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C.  There are a lot of great choices, but here are my top choices of where to visit with your family!  Click the subtitle link on each zoo to see my full review and guide to visiting!

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore 


Saying hi to a penguin friend at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore - July 2020


This is our "local" zoo at just about 45 minutes away and an easy drive from our house.  The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is located in Druid Hill Park and is completely picturesque - with winding trails, easy to navigate areas, and a good variety of animals.  One of our favorite exhibits here are the penguins - they are simply too cute to miss!  

Smithsonian's National Zoo

Panda Bear at the Smithsonian Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. - December 2019


This is a great choice for families visiting or living near the DC area.  It's free admission (that's right - FREE) makes it accessible for everyone and it definitely has the feel of a learning environment as much as a zoo for families to enjoy together.  Parking is a bit crazy in DC so I recommend taking the Metro if you are visiting from the suburbs.  We ended up visiting the zoo as part of a weekend trip to Washington DC and took an Uber from our hotel to the main zoo entrance.

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium


Visiting the Pittsburgh Zoo - July 2020


My five year old and I visited this zoo while my husband and older son were biking into Pittsburgh along the Great Alleghany Passage.  There is A LOT to see at this zoo.  It's well maintained and has a number of dining options as well.  The additional bonus of the aquarium is a nice perk.  The zoo is easy to access in Pittsburgh and offers plenty of free parking.

The Philadelphia Zoo


Flamingo at The Philadelphia Zoo - July 2018


The oldest zoo in America, Philadelphia has history all around it.  This zoo was the most interactive in my opinion with the staff.  Almost every exhibit seemed to have knowledgeable employees that shared fun information with our kids about the animals.  We spent a whole day here and could easily come back again.  Be sure to look up, down, and all around in this zoo as it packs a lot of fun into a relatively small footprint.  

With so many great zoos to visit around the Mid-Atlantic, which will you choose first?




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