Lied Jungle at Henry Doorly Zoo named Best Exhibit

Winning zoo exhibit is nation's largest indoor rainforest

A great zoo exhibit engages visitors with the animals they're observing while keeping the welfare and enrichment of its animal residents front and center. 

  • Lied Jungle
    Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

    Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is home to the largest indoor rainforest in America. The Lied Jungle features lush vegetation and a crashing waterfall, where gibbons, monkeys, tapirs, macaws and pygmy hippos reside. The rainforests of South America, Asia and Africa are represented within the space.
    Photo courtesy of Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

  • Reed Family Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley
    Sedgwick County Zoo

    This 5-acre exhibit at Sedgwick County Zoo is the third largest elephant habitat in the country. The African elephants have access to both indoor and outdoor spaces, including a 550,000-gallon pool, while visitors can observe these gentle giants from the comfort of a covered pavilion.
    Photo courtesy of Sedgwick County Zoo

  • Judy and Jerry Kent Family Sea Lion Sound
    Saint Louis Zoo

    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 seal, 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.
    Photo courtesy of Ray Meibaum / Saint Louis Zoo

  • Expedition Peru: Trek of the Andean Bear
    Nashville Zoo

    Among the newest exhibits at the Nashville Zoo is Expedition Peru: Trek of the Andean Bear, marking the first time this species has appeared at the zoo in its entire history. The exhibit is fashioned after a traditional indigenous village, with unobstructed views of the bears from aboveground and underwater observation points.
    Photo courtesy of Nashville Zoo

  • Rocky Mountain Wild
    Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

    Colorado wildlife is front and center at this exhibit at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs. The 3-acre exhibit is home to moose wandering amid pine woods with their own small lake, mountain lions in a naturalistic rock canyon, the elusive Canada lynx, river otters playing in a waterfall and grizzly bears roaming the mountainside.
    Photo courtesy of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

  • African Savanna
    Fort Worth Zoo

    The first stage of a larger expansion at the Fort Worth Zoo, the 10-acre African Savanna lets visitors observe giraffes, springbok, ostriches and other animals in a single exhibit, all from the comfort of shaded walkways. The exhibit also includes an aviary and an impressive hippo habitat with above and below-water viewing areas.
    Photo courtesy of Fort Worth Zoo

  • Sanctuary Asia
    Oklahoma City Zoo

    The Oklahoma City Zoo’s Sanctuary Asia provides a home for endangered animals from across the Asian continent, including Asian elephants, Indian rhinos, Komodo dragons, langurs, red pandas, cassowary, tufted deer and tanuki. The Lotus Pavilion rises up from the center of the habitats, providing stellar views from a wraparound balcony.
    Photo courtesy of Oklahoma City Zoo

  • Centene Grizzly Ridge
    Saint Louis Zoo

    The $11 million Centene Grizzly Ridge exhibit expanded the old bear grottoes at the Saint Louis Zoo to twice their original size. Visitors can observe the bears throughout their 7,000 square feet of outdoor habitat, including a large wading pool, waterfall, stream, climbing rocks and other features designed to offer mental and physical stimulation.
    Photo courtesy of Ray Meibaum / Saint Louis Zoo

  • Painted Dog Valley
    Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

    Located in the Africa area of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Painted Dog Valley serves as home to a pack of large-eared African painted dogs. Besides being one of the most attractive exhibits in the zoo, it’s also one of the greenest, thanks to a massive underground storage facility that captures, filters and reuses storm water runoff to irrigate the exhibit.
    Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

  • Simmons Hippo Outpost
    Dallas Zoo

    The 2.1-acre Simmons Hippo Outpost, an expansion of the already incredible Africa experience at the Dallas Zoo, features a replicated African waterhole habitat with a 120,000-gallon pool and a 24 by 8-foot underwater viewing window, bringing guests up close to the zoo’s Nile hippos. Above the water, the hippos share their home with an okapi herd. The zoo hosts daily keeper chats where guests can get up close with the hippos and okapi during educational training demonstrations.
    Photo courtesy of Dallas Zoo

The top 10 winners in the category Best Zoo Exhibit are as follows:

  1. Lied Jungle - Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
  2. Reed Family Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley - Sedgwick County Zoo
  3. Judy and Jerry Kent Family Sea Lion Sound - Saint Louis Zoo
  4. Expedition Peru: Trek of the Andean Bear - Nashville Zoo
  5. Rocky Mountain Wild - Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
  6. African Savanna - Fort Worth Zoo
  7. Sanctuary Asia - Oklahoma City Zoo
  8. Centene Grizzly Ridge - Saint Louis Zoo
  9. Painted Dog Valley - Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
  10. Simmons Hippo Outpost - Dallas Zoo

A panel of experts (listed below) partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning zoo exhibits!

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AlertThe Experts

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Eileen Ogintz

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Nicky Omohundro

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Allison Taylor

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