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Saint Louis Zoo named nation’s top zoo, awarded top honors for Sea Lion Sound

It’s official! Sea Lion Sound has been chosen as the nation’s best Zoo Exhibit. [Saint Louis Zoo photo]

The Saint Louis Zoo was chosen for the second year in a row as the top winner in the “Best Zoo” category of the 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards contest sponsored by USA TODAY. Sea Lion Sound also won “Best Zoo Exhibit” in a separate poll.

The Zoo and Sea Lion Sound were among 20 nominated U.S. zoos and zoo exhibits, all accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and hand-picked by a panel of zoo and family travel experts.

Visitors to 10Best.com were asked to vote for their favorite U.S. zoo and zoo exhibit from April 2 to April 30. The results of the top 10 in each category were announced May 4 on 10Best.com.

“We’re humbled to be chosen again as the Best Zoo by our dedicated fans in the St. Louis region, across Missouri and friends around the country,” said Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D., Dana Brown President and CEO, Saint Louis Zoo.

The top 10 Best Zoos list includes:

  1. Saint Louis Zoo
  2. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
  3. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
  4. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
  5. Fort Worth Zoo
  6. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
  7. Dallas Zoo
  8. Audubon Zoo
  9. Zoo Miami
  10. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

The top 10 Best Zoo Exhibits list includes:

  1. Sea Lion Sound (Saint Louis Zoo)
  2. African Grasslands (Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium)
  3. Museum of Living Art (Fort Worth Zoo)
  4. Polk Penguin Conservation Center (Detroit Zoo)
  5. Simmons Hippo Outpost (Dallas Zoo)
  6. Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center (Indianapolis Zoo)
  7. Meerkat Maze (Philadelphia Zoo)
  8. Arctic Passage (Henry Vilas Zoo)
  9. Predator Ridge (Denver Zoo)
  10. Gibbon Trails and Langur Landing (Zoo Knoxville)

On its website, 10Best.com offered this description of Sea Lion Sound: “The 1.5-acre Sea Lion Sound at the Saint Louis Zoo is about as close as you can come to swimming with sea lions without actually jumping in the water. At the heart of the exhibit, home to nine California sea lions and three harbor seals, is a 35-foot-long underwater viewing tunnel where visitors can see the marine mammals swimming around them. The exhibit’s 881-seat amphitheater hosts the First Bank Sea Lion Show where the sea lions show off their amazing abilities.”

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