Top Zoos in India: Where to Find the Best Wildlife Experience

Embark on a captivating journey through India’s best zoos, where the country’s rich biodiversity comes to life. Managed under the vigilant eye of the Central Zoo Authority, these zoological havens are not just about marvelling at wildlife but also about conservation and education.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or planning a family outing, India’s top zoos offer an unforgettable experience. With rare wildlife, exotic flora, and sprawling landscapes, you’re in for an adventure that’s as thrilling as it is informative. Get ready to witness the wonders of the animal kingdom up close, in settings that replicate their natural habitats.

Mysore Zoo, KarnatakaMysore Zoo, Karnataka

When you decide to explore India’s invaluable zoological treasures, Mysore Zoo, officially the Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, must be on your itinerary. At about 145 km from Bangalore in the heart of Karnataka, this sprawling sanctuary covers 157 acres of lush flora, offering habitats to a diverse array of species. It’s not just a zoo; it’s an immersive experience where you can see the magnificence of wildlife right in front of you.

Key Attractions: Exotic Wildlife and Pristine Landscapes

Walking through the gates of Mysore Zoo, you’ll encounter large enclaves housing elephants, zebras, lions, green anacondas, rhinoceroses, and baboons. Praised for spaciousness and cleanliness, the zoo promises an outstanding view of these majestic creatures as they roam within environments carefully curated to mimic their natural habitats.

Beyond the animal displays, the zoo’s greenery is breathtaking. It gives you a unique sightseeing experience, making it much more than just an animal exhibition. You can lose yourself in the lush beauty of this space, where each pathway leads you to another fascinating encounter.

Engage in the Exciting Experience of Karanji Lake

Adjacent to Mysore Zoo lies the enchanting Karanji Lake. The largest walkthrough aviary in the country surrounds this serene water body, teeming with avian life. Here, you can relax by the lake’s edge, unraveling from the engaging walk through the zoo, while the melodic chorus of birds provides a soothing backdrop.

In the early morning light, the zoo comes to life with a symphony of animal sounds. It’s the ideal time for you to visit, when the day’s freshness complements the vibrancy of the wildlife around you. With the zoo opening its doors at 8:30 am and remaining open until 5:30 pm, planning your visit around the cooler hours will enhance your experience.

Note: Mysore Zoo is committed to conservation and public education, endeavouring to create a lasting connection between visitors and wildlife. Keep in mind, the zoo is closed on Tuesdays for maintenance, ensuring the environment remains pristine for both animals and visitors alike.

Whether young or old, a day at Mysore Zoo offers an unparalleled blend of education, conservation, and recreation—allowing you to witness India’s rich biodiversity first-hand.

Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Tamil NaduArignar Anna Zoological Park, Tamil Nadu

Arignar Anna Zoological Park, or Vandalur Zoo, holds the distinguished title of being India’s first public zoo. Founded in 1855 and moved to its current location in 1985, this historic establishment has evolved into an essential destination for wildlife enthusiasts and families alike. Nestled in the bustling cityscape of Chennai, Vandalur Zoo gives you a splash of nature without having to stray too far from urban comforts.

Spanning a massive 510 hectares (1,300 acres), it’s the largest zoo in India by area, offering visitors a chance to explore a wide breadth of biodiversity. You’re likely to appreciate the extensive efforts in creating environments that not only house but also enrich the lives of the resident animals. With open year-round, except Tuesdays, from 9 am to 5 pm, your visit promises a full day’s immersion in nature’s wonders.

Animal Kingdom at Arignar Anna Zoological Park

Prepare to encounter a variety of species that call this zoo home. The animal roster includes:

  • Carnivores such as Tigers, Leopards, Lions, and Hyenas
  • Canids like the Indian Wild Dog and Jackals
  • Unique primates including Lion-tailed Macaques and Nilgiri Langurs
  • Herbivores such as Blackbucks, Indian Bison, Barking Deer, Sambhar, and Spotted Deer
  • A range of reptiles, with an emphasis on Crocodiles and an assortment of Snakes
  • Aviaries bustling with Water Birds and other feathered fauna

The Zoo’s timing and affordable entry fee – 90 Rs for adults and 50 Rs for children – make it an accessible adventure for visitors. Enhanced by facilities like snack bars and an unforgettable elephant safari, Arignar Anna Zoological Park combines the thrill of wildlife with the comfort of amenities. As the site that hosted the first All India Zoo Superintendents’ Conference in 1955, Vandalur Zoo is steeped in significant historical prestige.

Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park, PuneRajiv Gandhi Zoological Park, Pune

When you’re exploring the diverse landscapes and vibrant cities of India, visiting a top-rated zoo can add an unforgettable layer to your adventure. Nestled in the Pune district, Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park makes for a perfect educational journey into the world of wildlife.

This expansive zoo stretches over 130 acres and is managed meticulously by the Pune Municipal Corporation. Since its inception in 1999, it’s become a haven for an impressive array of animals, igniting the curiosity of visitors of all ages.

Explore a Wealth of Diverse Species

With 389 species to discover, you’re in for an enriching experience that takes you much closer to Mother Nature’s incredible creations. This park is home to a wide variety of animals, ensuring that there’s always something new and exciting around every corner.

Notable Animal Inhabitants:

  • Majestic big cats prowling their territories
  • Agile primates swinging through the treetops
  • Graceful herbivores roaming the expansive grasslands
  • Exotic reptiles basking in their carefully constructed environments
  • A plethora of birds adding a melodious backdrop to your stroll

Engaging Activities for All Ages

Whether you’re travelling solo or with your kids, this zoological park offers a mosaic of learning experiences. Children, especially, benefit from seeing the animals they’ve admired in books come to life in naturalistic habitats. You’ll find the zoo’s layout encourages exploration and imparts valuable conservation messages.

Operating hours cater to both early birds and those who prefer a leisurely start, with gates opening at 9 am and closing at 5 pm. Plan ahead, as the zoo takes its rest day on Wednesday, ensuring the animals have a day of minimal disturbance each week.

As you roam through the verdant spaces of the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park, don’t miss the chance to visit nearby attractions. Shraddhaanjali Kanan Park, a mere 200 meters away, extends your communion with nature, while the ISKCON Temple, just a small journey of 3.5 km, offers a spiritual retreat to wind down your day.

Alipore Zoo, Kolkata

Alipore Zoo, Kolkata

When you’re exploring Kolkata, you can’t miss the chance to visit Alipore Zoo, Kolkata’s premier spot for wildlife enthusiasts and families alike. Opened to the public in 1876, Alipore Zoo, also known as Calcutta Zoo, stands as the oldest zoological park in India, boasting a rich history and a sprawling 18.81 hectares of lush enclosures.

Exploring the Grounds of Alipore Zoo

Alipore Zoo is a sanctuary in the heart of Kolkata, situated near Alipore in West Bengal. The zoo’s gates open sharp at 9 am, inviting you into a world where you can come face-to-face with some of the planet’s most majestic creatures until 4:30 pm, but remember, it’s closed on Thursdays. With an affordable entry fee of ₹30 for adults and ₹10 for children, it’s a day out that won’t break the bank.

Meet the Exotic Inhabitants

Prepare for an immersive experience with Alipore Zoo’s diverse animal residents. You’ll encounter the might and splendor of big cats like the Royal Bengal Tiger, the imposing African Lion, and the regal Asiatic Lion. Not to forget the powerful Jaguar, majestic Hippopotamus, and the iconic great Indian One-horned Rhinoceros. The zoo also features:

  • Reticulated Giraffe
  • Grant’s Zebra
  • Emu
  • Indian Elephant

Additionally, for bird lovers, Alipore Zoo hosts a vibrant collection of Golden Pheasant, Ostrich, Turacos, and Hornbills, alongside some endangered species, offering a colourful spectacle of avian life.

The Legacy of Aldabra and Conservation Efforts

Alipore Zoo was once home to Aldabra, the legendary giant tortoise who lived until 2006. While Aldabra may have passed away, the zoo’s commitment to conservation lives on, exemplified by its efforts in breeding and caring for endangered species. The environment here is not just an exhibit; it’s a haven where animals thrive under dedicated supervision, allowing visitors a peek into the delicate balance of our planet’s ecosystem.

Bannerghatta Biological Park, Karnataka

Bannerghatta Biological Park, Karnataka

Nestled amidst the lush landscapes of Karnataka, Bannerghatta Biological Park is a remarkable destination for wildlife enthusiasts like you. Established in the vast expanse of 26,050 hectares, this park began enchanting visitors since its inception as a biological park in 1975. It’s a unique sanctuary that integrates a zoo, jungle safari, an elephant sanctuary, and a Butterfly Park, offering a multi-faceted nature experience.

Bannerghatta is known for housing an impressive array of flora and fauna. Within the park’s confines, 25 species of animals coexist harmoniously with an abundant variety of 15 types of floras, though these numbers are not set in stone and may vary with new additions or breeding success rates.

Experience the Richness of Wildlife

Your visit to Bannerghatta Biological Park isn’t just a walk through the lush greenery; it’s an immersive journey through different habitats where numerous animal species reside. Here’s what you can expect to see:

  • Exotic birds chirping and soaring across the aviaries
  • Majestic mammals like Bengal tigers and elephants, commanding attention with their presence
  • A plethora of insect species, with the Butterfly Park offering a kaleidoscope of colours

Take a Safari into the Wild

One of Bannerghatta’s most sought-after experiences is the safari. It provides an up-close and personal encounter with wildlife in an environment that closely mimics their natural habitats. You’ll find yourself within whispering distance of some of the planet’s most fascinating creatures.

The commitment of Bannerghatta Biological Park towards conservation is evident in their breeding programs and the careful maintenance of animal enclosures. These efforts ensure species such as the Royal Bengal Tiger and various primates not only survive but flourish.

Activities for Everyone

The park isn’t just about observing animals; it’s about engaging with nature in all its forms. Whether you’re a budding botanist keen to explore the diverse plant life or an animal lover eager to learn about wildlife conservation, Bannerghatta has something to offer. Their range of activities caters to all ages and interests, ensuring that every visitor leaves with a better understanding of nature’s intricate balance.

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Darjeeling

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Darjeeling

Nestled in the Himalayan foothills, the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (PNHZP) stands as a testament to India’s commitment to wildlife conservation. Visiting this park, you’re stepping into the best zoo in the country, as declared by the Central Zoo Authority. This award-winning destination in Darjeeling, West Bengal, tops the list against approximately 150 other zoological parks nationwide, with Kolkata’s Alipore Zoological Garden not far behind at fourth place.

Explore a Sanctuary for Endangered Species

Dedicated to preserving rare Himalayan fauna, the PNHZP isn’t just a zoo; it’s a sanctuary. As you wander through this serene atmosphere, you’ll witness a range of endangered animals thriving in conditions meticulously tailored to their natural habitats. Lauded for its efforts in conservation, the zoo currently houses a diverse population from the animal kingdom.

Rare and Exotic Animals You’ll Discover

Prepare to be enchanted by the sight of the Red Panda and the Himalayan Black Bear, signature species of the region. Moreover, this park is also home to an impressive lineup of other Himalayan wildlife:

  • Snow Leopard
  • Goral
  • Himalayan Thar
  • Siberian Tigers

Each species contributes to the transforming experiences that the park offers, creating moments where nature’s beauty comes alive right before your eyes.

Renowned for its namesake Padmaja Naidu, an illustrious freedom fighter, the park extends across the mountainous terrain, offering visitors breath-taking views alongside a rich wildlife experience. Operational since 1958, PNHZP has evolved into a vital custodian of biodiversity, managed with care by the Darjeeling authorities. Open from 8 am to 5:30 pm, with Thursdays reserved for the animals’ day of rest, the park ensures that each visitor is privy to scenes that echo the harmony of wildlife and nature.

When you plan your visit, remember that you’re not just heading to any ordinary zoo. You’re about to immerse yourself in an initiative where animal welfare and ecological education stand as paramount objectives, allowing for a meaningful connection between humans and the animal kingdom.

Chattbir Zoo, Chandigarh

Chattbir Zoo, Chandigarh

When you’re eager to explore a diverse collection of wildlife in Chandigarh, Chattbir Zoo, formally known as Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, is your perfect destination. Spread across 202 hectares, this expansive haven for animals and birds provides an ideal retreat for nature lovers and enthusiasts.

Set just 17 km away from Chandigarh in the vicinity of Zirakpur, the park promises an immersive experience amidst a variety of species. Known for its Royal Bengal Tigers and Asiatic Lions, the zoological park doesn’t just offer a glimpse but a full-on encounter with some of Earth’s most majestic creatures.

A Peek Into the Animal Kingdom

At Chattbir, you’ll find an impressive range of species spread across its vast landscapes. Here’s a quick snapshot of what you can expect:

  • Royal Bengal Tigers: Majestic and powerful, these big cats are a true sight to behold.
  • Asiatic Lions: Witness the grandeur of these magnificent beasts in their enclosures.
  • Variety of Birds: From colourful peacocks to the serene beauty of waterfowl, the range of avian life is abundant.
  • Reptiles: Discover the intriguing world of reptiles, well-represented at the zoo.

Engage With Nature

Chattbir Zoo is not just about observing animals; it’s about engaging with the natural world. You’ll find a water body within the park that adds to the serene atmosphere, making it a calm oasis away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

A unique feature is the Lion Safari — an encounter that brings you up close to these regal animals in a protected environment. Surrounded by the lush greenery, you’re bound to feel a sense of tranquility while also experiencing the thrilling proximity to wildlife.

Your visits aren’t just entertaining but educational as well. The zoo’s layout, information boards, and exhibits are designed to enhance your understanding of animal behavior and their habitats. Whether you’re alone or with family, especially kids, the Chattbir Zoo in Chandigarh presents an enriching day out, merging excitement with awareness about animal conservation efforts and the importance of biodiversity.

Sakkarbaug Zoological Gardens, Junagadh

Sakkarbaug Zoological Gardens, Junagadh

Nestled on the bustling Junagadh-Rajkot Highway, Sakkarbaug Zoological Gardens, also known as Junagadh Zoo, unfolds as an exceptional wildlife retreat. It’s a sanctuary renowned for its purebred Asiatic Lions—a majestic species that finds a secure home within this vast enclosure.

As you wander through the park, you’ll encounter an impressive array of species. The zoo’s residents include:

  • Wild Boar
  • Blue Bull
  • Antelope

These mammals share their home with a plethora of bird species that bring the air to life with their varied songs and vibrant plumage. You can’t help but appreciate the vitality and diversity of life that thrives here.

Explore the Inhouse Treasures

Beyond observing the living marvels, Sakkarbaug Zoo offers more than just animal sightings. The zoo prides itself on an in-house natural history museum, where the mysteries of evolution and biodiversity are on full display. Whether you’re a history buff or a curious soul, the museum’s exhibits are sure to captivate your interest.

Additionally, the zoo’s commitment to animal welfare is underscored by its veterinary hospital, dedicated to the health and well-being of its inhabitants. Witness firsthand the meticulous care and expertise provided to all zoo residents—from the smallest bird to the mightiest lion.

Visit Details You Need to Know

Visiting the Sakkarbaug Zoological Gardens is both easy and affordable. Here’s a quick reference for your planning:

Visit Aspect Details
Location Junagadh
Timings 9 am – 12:15 pm and 3 pm – 6 pm
Entry Fee Adults INR 10
Kids (aged 3-12) INR 5

Taking a trip to this verdant expanse of biodiversity, your encounter with nature’s splendour will be both enriching and memorable. Step into the realm of the wild at Sakkarbaug and immerse yourself in an experience that celebrates life in all its forms.

Factors to Consider in Choosing the Best Zoo in India

When you’re planning a visit to a zoo in India, several factors play a key role in ensuring an enriching and memorable experience. It isn’t just about spotting animals but also about the educational value, conservation efforts, and quality of visit. Keep these considerations in mind to choose the zoo that best fits your interests and needs.


The first aspect to consider is the location of the zoo. Zoos such as Alipore Zoo in Kolkata and Bannerghatta Biological Park in Karnataka are conveniently situated and easily accessible. You might prefer a zoo like Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park in Darjeeling located at higher altitudes offering scenic beauty along with its celebrated residents like the Red Panda and Snow Leopard. Accessibility plays a crucial role, especially if you’re travelling with family or have limited time at hand.

Size and Variety of Animal Species

Look into the size and variety of animal species the zoo offers. A larger area might mean more ground to cover but it often comes with a greater variety of habitats and species. Zoos like the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad (380 acres) boast an impressive collection including Asiatic Lions, while the Sakkarbaug Zoological Gardens, home to the purebred Asiatic Lions, offer an insight into specific conservation programs for these majestic beasts. Keep an eye out for:

  • Bengal Tigers
  • Elephants
  • Exotic Birds
  • Reptiles
  • Himalayan Bears

It’s not just about the quantity though; the quality of animal-keeping and the success of breeding programs for endangered species are also important factors to weigh.

Visitor Facilities and Amenities

The visitor facilities and amenities can greatly enhance your zoo experience. Essential facilities such as clean restrooms, convenient parking, and accessible walkways are a must for a hassle-free visit, especially for those with young children or physical disabilities. Additional amenities like guided tours, educational programs, and interactive exhibits can also enrich your visit. For instance, Chattbir Zoo offers a thrilling Lion Safari, providing a unique encounter with these kings of the jungle.

When planning your zoo visit, ensure that the zoo provides adequate visitor services to make your experience comfortable and engaging. Whether it’s enjoying a meal at a café overlooking the tiger enclosure or finding ample seating areas to rest, these details can make a significant difference in your overall enjoyment.


Selecting the best zoo in India boils down to what you value most in your wildlife experience. Whether it’s the diversity of animals, the ease of access or the quality of facilities, you’re spoilt for choice. Remember, a great zoo visit isn’t just about the spectacle of exotic creatures but also the assurance that they’re cared for with the highest standards. So go ahead, plan your visit with these insights in mind and you’re sure to have an enriching and memorable encounter with some of the most fascinating wildlife India has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the smallest zoo in India?

Maharajbagh Zoo is recognised as the smallest zoo in India, offering a more intimate wildlife experience.

Which is the tallest zoo in India?

The term “tallest zoo” isn’t typically used to describe zoos. The question might refer to the zoo at the highest altitude, which requires further research.

Which is the No 1 zoo in India?

The Mysore Zoo, also known as Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, is often cited as one of the best zoos in India.

What is the 1 best zoo?

The San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, US, is heralded as one of the best in the world, with over 12,000 animals and a vast botanical collection.

Which is the 2nd largest zoo in India?

Nandankanan Zoological Park in Odisha is acknowledged as the second largest zoo in India, known for its extensive wildlife and conservation efforts.

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