With over 350 different animal species and an acclaimed exotic breeding program, Buenos Aires Zoo is the go-to place for urban wildlife spotting, hitting headlines at the start of 2013 when one of its Bengal White Tigers produced a rare litter of four cubs. Located close to Plaza Italia in the heart of the city’s Palermo district, the zoo has been running since 1888 and today houses over 2,500 animal inhabitants, as well as spearheading Argentina’s zoological research, education and preservation efforts.
The 18-hectare park aims to mimic a range of different ecosystems, with a variety of unique enclosures and architecturally impressive buildings, set around a boating lake and island inhabited by a population of Madagascan Lemurs. Highlights include the subtropical jungle exhibition, where a suspension bridge offers a prime view of the lush vegetation and birdlife; an aquarium where piranhas, sea sharks and tropical fish are displayed alongside a penguin and seal pool; a Japanese style pagoda housing a family of Giant pandas; and a dimly-lit bat enclosure. Giraffes, rhinoceros, pumas, lions, monkeys and elephants are just some of the zoo’s animal inhabitants, along with some more unique specimens like Red Pandas, Orangutans and a colorful array of native birdlife. There’s even a petting zoo where visitors can interact and feed goats, donkeys, llamas and Shetland ponies. The zoo also frequently opens its doors during the evening hours with after-dark visits offering the chance to see a different side of the animals’ lifestyle as well as getting the rare opportunity to watch the zoo’s nocturnal animals at large.