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Five zoos that are worth the flight for you and your family

With more than 355 zoos across the U.S., travelers don't have to go far to see a lion, tiger or bear these days. But some of these animal attractions are more renowned than others with special animals and exhibits. We've narrowed down five top zoos that are worth the flight - nonstop from TPA, of course. Check them out!

San Diego Zoo

With more than 3,500 resident animals, the San Diego Zoo is the most visited zoo in the United States. The zoo is so popular, it even has its own show on Discovery+, called “The Zoo." Looking to visit the San Diego Zoo in the near future? You’ll get the chance to see some new faces including a flamingo chick, an infant Merry Monkey and a wildebeest calf. Single-day tickets are now available.

Get to San Diego nonstop on Southwest Airlines.

St. Louis Zoo

Lemurs and Tasmanian devils and capybaras – oh, my! These are just three of the nearly 13,000 animals that call the St. Louis Zoo home including a mix of nearly 500 species. This zoo is known as “America’s Top Free Attraction” – yes, you read that right – it won’t cost you to visit this critter-filled facility, so bring the whole family along! The zoo is as serious about its animal management, wildlife conservation, research, education as it is visitor safety, so make sure you reserve a date for your visit and bring your masks.

Get to St. Louis nonstop on Southwest Airlines.

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Be it Sunset Safari for the whole family or wine, beer and bourbon tasting, the Cincinnati Zoo has more to offer than animal watching. The zoo, which opened its gates in 1875, is the second oldest in the U.S. and averages 1.5 million visitors annually. Home to more than 3,000 plant species, you’ll probably enjoy the botanical garden if you’ve got a green thumb, or if you just like to see pretty plants! Not into the greenery? The zoo has plenty of unique occupants like the golden-headed lion tamarins, arctic fox and the aye-aye. Reservations are required and it’s recommended to reserve your day at least two weeks in advance.

Get to Cincinnati nonstop on Delta, Frontier or Southwest Airlines.

Bronx Zoo

Since it first opened in 1899, the Bronx Zoo has been the largest metropolitan zoo in the U.S. with its 265 acres land and habitats separated by the Bronx River. The zoo is world-renowned for its massive animal collection, award-winning exhibits and makes for a great escape from the bustling metropolis surrounding it. With more than 600 species, this attraction earns a spot on the best things to do when visiting New York City. The Bronx Zoo is now open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. weekly with hours extending until 5:30 p.m. on weekends. Visitors must have date-specific tickets and a reservation.

Get to New York City nonstop on Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit or United Airlines.

Philadelphia Zoo

Known as the first zoo in the U.S., this famed Philly amenity is where Rocky proposed to Adrian in Rocky 2– it’s true! Beyond its historic accolades, the zoo is home to almost 1,300 animals including a sloth bear cub (yes, that’s a real creature) and a Rare Animal Conservation Center with some of the world’s most endangered species. The Philadelphia Zoo is now open daily and timed reservations are required for all guests and members.

Get to Philly nonstop on American, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest or Spirit Airlines.

From the east to west coast - and somewhere in between - the best zoos in the country can be visited via nonstop flights from Tampa International Airport. Book your flight, make your reservations and bring the whole fam - your adventure awaits.