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ST. LOUIS, MO — 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 The contest was sponsored by USA TODAY. Sea Lion Sound also won “Best Zoo Exhibit” in a separate poll.  Your votes helped the St. Louis Zoo to win the 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 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 today on

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, offered these descriptions of the Zoo and Sea Lion Sound:

Situated within the nation’s largest urban park, the free-to-the-public Saint Louis Zoo features a stunning diversity of animals — more than 600 species in total. The zoo is divided into six zones, including Lakeside Crossing where the award-winning Sea Lion Sound combines a stellar exhibit experience with educational presentations and shows. Centene Grizzly Ridge, new to the zoo in fall of 2017, expanded the original bear grotto to twice its original size.

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.