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Top 20 Bird and Parrot Related US Vacation Destinations
Looking for a fun vacation destination? Do you also want to indulge your interest in birds and parrots? Then you have come to the right place. I’ve done your research for you and found the best holiday destinations for pet and parrot lovers.
The following list includes amazing aviaries and zoos in the United States with amazing exhibits of rare and not-so-rare birds from around the world. These holiday destinations should be on every bird lover’s holiday wish list.
Do you have a favorite bird-related resort that didn’t make the list? Send Kibibi an email through this Email Link and let her know about it. This list was created in December 2008 so it may be out of date. Please review each website website and call them for the latest information.
20 Philadelphia Zoo – Established in 1874, this is the oldest zoo of its kind in the United States. While the city is known for being a tourist destination, the zoo is usually not on the short list of places to visit in Philly. But according to many visitors, it should be. They have a small selection of birds including raptors, cranes and rails, waders, waterfowl and other birds including parrots and penguins.
19 Sacramento Zoo – This is not considered a large zoo by many. With just over 400 species of animals in total, some would actually say this is a small zoo. As you might expect, their selection of birds and parrots can be considered small compared to some of the other holiday destinations on this Top 20 list. However, there are some bird species in the exhibition that are Endangered or Threatened with Extinction such as the American Flamingo, Button Hornbill, Great Hornbill and the Thick-billed Parrot. So if you’re in the area, it’s worth a day visit.
18 Detroit Zoo – Where is the Detroit Zoo located? Answer….NOT Detroit. Okay, that was a trick question. It is actually located in Royal Oak Michigan. The Detroit Zoo has a variety of bird species throughout the park. They specialize in flamingos, storks, spoonbills and vultures. They also have cranes, barn owls, ostriches (ostriches and pygmies) and a number of other bird species. The more popular bird habitats at the Detroit Zoo are the African Waterhole and the Matilda Wilson Free-Flight Aviary which has more than 30 species of birds.
17 Lowry Park Zoo – Lowry Park Zoo is located on 56 acres of land in Tampa Florida. It was once recognized (2006) as the “Number One Family-Friendly Zoo in the United States” by Child magazine. So the kids loved it but did the bird lover? That depends on who you ask. According to Yahoo Advisor, this site only gets a 3.5 out of 5.0 rating. Most complaints are about the price tag as it is a “Pay as you go” lure. Although not much better, Trip Advisor rates it as 4.0 out of 5.0. One featured attraction, Spirits of the Sky, is an “interactive and entertaining show featuring birds of prey” according to the Lowry Park Zoo.
16 Oakland Zoo – This zoo is conveniently located near the highway and hidden in a hilly wooded area. There are dozens of species of birds at the Oakland Zoo from the African Crow to the Yellow-necked Amazon parrot. This site received 4.5 Stars (out of 5) on Yahoo Travel. The only complaint seemed to be that it was a small zoo. Although it may be small, most visitors agree that this will be a good zoo experience especially for children.
15 Buffalo Zoo – According to TripAdvisor.com this is the 3rd oldest zoo in the US! And according to at least one of its visitors “The Buffalo Zoo has to be one of—if not the—cleanest and most beautiful zoos.” Although it does not have a large selection of birds to see, it does have some unusual birds that you will want to see. These include Bourke’s Parrot, Cloncurry Parrot, and (9) different species of Lories and Lorikeeets.
14 Knoxville Zoo – Some of you may recognize one of Knoxville Zoo’s most famous avian residents: Einstein. Einstein and ‘his’ coach have appeared on many TV shows and a quick search for “Einstein” on YouTube will give you some great results. But is Einstein big enough to attract you to a small zoo? Maybe not, but at least some visitors and many locals agree that the Knoxville Zoo is the perfect size zoo for a day visit. Besides, how can you leave Einstein’s home off any Top 20 list of birding vacation destinations?
13 Louisville Zoo – The Louisville Zoo is a large but well planned zoo so plan to do some walking. It’s also built on a hill side, so some of your walking will be uphill, so plan your route ahead of time. One main attraction for bird lovers is Lorakeet Landing, where you feed the birds (for a fee) from a cup of sugar water. The staff are also more than happy to take your picture with the birds to create a souvenir (for a fee of course) to take home with you.
12 Franklin Park Zoo – Franklin Park Zoo was founded in 1913 and covers 72 acres in Boston’s historic Franklin Park. Their Bird’s World exhibit has been there since the beginning of Franklin Park in 1913. It has seen many changes over the years and is still the favorite exhibit of many visitors. It is home to dozens of species of birds from around the world from many habitats including swamps, scrub and wetlands. A unique exhibit is the Night and Day exhibit, featuring brown frogs that are nocturnal. So to accommodate visitors they changed day and night? But how is that possible? when the exhibit opens at 10 o’clock, it is dark inside and thus “night” to the birds. Then around 2pm the exhibit is filled with light to simulate “day”. This is a big secret, so don’t tell the brown frogmouths.
11 Minnesota Zoo – This is a large zoo covering more than 500 acres. Its focus is to recreate natural habitats. But according to more than one visitor, they are not focused on supporting prices. While others agree that it is very expensive, they also say that it is worth it. One main attraction for bird lovers is the World of Bird Shows. The birds in this show, according to the Minnesota Zoo, “will amaze you with their antics” and will include “… one of the rarest birds in the world, a representative of the largest owl species in the world, and one bird whose image is. included on the official emblems of twelve states”.
10 Toledo Zoo – It is a small zoo but most of those who visit the Toledo Zoo agree that it is a great zoo. The Aviary of the Toledo Zoo was designed in 1937 and underwent major renovations in 1998. This is an award-winning aviary with a wide variety of species including the Rhino hornbills, Cuban Amazon parrots, Sunbirds, Cuban Grassquits, Victoria crowned pigeons, and owls.
9 Sarasota Jungle Gardens – This vacation destination is high on the list of anyone visiting the Sarasota Florida area. And for good reason! Where else can you get flamingos to eat out of your hand? The Sarasota Jungle Gardens have two major bird-related attractions; Raptors and Birds of the Rainforest. Their birds of prey exhibit consists mostly of rescued birds (Hawks, Owls, Vultures etc.) while the Birds of the Rainforest includes “…presenting an exotic bird show with a twist.” However, if you are looking for a huge attraction, this will not be your favorite destination. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in quality exhibits and friendly staff.
8 Busch Gardens Africa – Tampa Bay – Busch Gardens offers a little bit of everything for everyone old and young and that includes something for the bird and parrot enthusiasts. They have (8) theme parks and one of those is the Bird Garden, which has over 500 birds from all over the world, which guarantees that you will see something interesting. So whether it’s a show at the Bird Garden Theatre, a walk through Lory Landing or a stroll through the Aviary, you’ll find something to satisfy your inner bird lover.
7 Jungle Island – If location, location, location is important then this is your destination. Jungle Island is located (can you guess?) on an island! Jungle Island is located on an island between Miami and Miami Beach. This Island park has more than 1,100 exotic birds. You and your kids can get up close and personal with some of their birds by having parrots on your shoulders. But according to at least one visitor, this “hands-on” experience will cost you!
6 Tracy Aviary – The Tracy Aviary has existed since 1938 when it was created by a charitable act by banker Russell Lord Tracy when he donated his private bird collection to Salt Lake City. Located just south of downtown Salt Lake City, this aviary is a great vacation destination. It is home to more than 500 birds of 150 species and you will have the opportunity to meet them up close and personal. This should be on any bird lover’s short list of holiday destinations.
5 Parrot Mountain and Gardens – If you are looking for a ‘Bird Only’ attack, this might be your choice. Parrot Mountain is located….wait for it….on a MOUNTAIN! This is a beautiful outdoor attraction with several parrot species from around the world. This is an absolute must-see according to many visitors. It features outdoor caged exhibits as well as macaws and cockatoos on perches for visitor interaction and dining (for a fee of course). According to one visitor “The aviary was a wonderful exhibit unlike any exhibit found in any zoo!”
4 Zoo of Houston – Although it is located in the heart of the city, you will lose yourself once inside and forget all about the bustling city outside. The Zoo of Houston has about 250 species and 800 samples of birds from around the world. These species include everything from the familiar Green-winged, Blue-and-Golden and Red-fronted macaws to more exotic birds such as the Golden Vulture and Turacos. You’ve probably never heard of Turacos but you’ll want to see them. They have a unique color that is not found anywhere else in the animal kingdom. Is it strange behavior you’re looking for? What about the Blue-crowned Motmot? This is a small jay-sized bird with a long rocket-tipped tail that digs long tunnels in the ground or earth banks for its nests.
3 Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden – This is the second oldest zoo in the United States. It has more than 100 species of birds and a wide selection of parrots (more than 25 parrot species in all). Does size matter to you? They have some of the largest birds in the world (Andean condor) and the largest bird in the kingfisher family (Kookaburra). Just be sure to keep your ears around the Kookaburra, not because it eats ears but because it is known for its LOUD calls. Too loud or big for your interests? Then maybe you and your kids will love the Lorikeet Landing, where you get to be the “landing”.
2 San Diego Zoo – This is a world-class zoo known around the world, but is it a destination for bird enthusiasts? According to many visitors, the answer is a resounding “YES!” The Macaws in the Children’s Zoo, the Flamingo Pond and the Wings of Australasia Exhibition are all guaranteed to ignite the bird lover in you. Isn’t that enough? How about the Owens Rainforest Aviary, which offers bird lovers an up-close and personal look at more than 200 feathered friends representing 60 species and about 180 birds. This holiday destination should be on every bird lover’s bucket list.
1 National Bird Sanctuary – This historic aviary may be small in area but it packs a LOT of variety into that small package. There are several walk-through indoor aviaries and glass observation cages. Don’t forget to check their schedules as they have hourly interactive demonstrations with different living species throughout the day and scheduled lectures on different species. Plan to take lots of pictures and spend several hours enjoying the great variety of species, daily events, special events and interactive encounters. This bird-related holiday destination is a must-see for any bird lover.
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