Entertaining the kids during the summer can get pretty expensive, especially when you’re away on vacation. So whenever you can come across a few spots that offer a lot of fun and go easy on the wallet, it’s gotta be added to the “must see” list.

Luckily, there are plenty of zoos around the US that offer free admission and are a perfect way to get a few hours of education and entertainment in on any sort of budget.
Baby Lion and Father
Let’s take a look at some free zoos across America to add to your vacation itineraries.

1. National Zoo

In addition to being free, one of the absolute best zoo’s in the country has to be the National Zoo in Washington, DC. As part of the Smithsonian system the National Zoo offers visitors a number of education exhibits to chose from. But, one of the most popular animals at the zoo have to be the baby panda’s, they are too cute to miss out on! This is just one of the many free attractions in D.C.!

2. Lee Richardson Zoo

One of the more unique zoo’s out there, the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas offers acres and acres of exhibits to explore and enjoy. Featuring animals from lions to kangaroos to emu’s the zoo is free for those who would like to explore the plains of North America and Africa on foot.

3. Cape May County Park and Zoo

Perfect for a cloudy day or if the kids get a little bit tired of the beach, the Cape May County Park and Zoo (New Jersey) offers a perfect little oasis just steps from the ocean. Beyond the 200 acres of the zoo itself, the county also provides grounds that include a kids playground, a small fishing pond, disk golf area and picnic spots.

Elephant Birthday Decorations at the Zoo

4. Saint Louis Zoo

Many consider the Saint Louis Zoo as one of the top two or three zoos in the country, and the best part? It’s free! With just under 100 acres this zoo features almost daily events all summer as well as almost 20,000 wild animals to check out, including polar bears, giraffes, elephants and tigers. The zoo does charge small admission fees to certain exhibits, but if you are early risers the first hour is free for all visitors.

5. Lincoln Park Zoo

Tucked on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago, you’ll find the Lincoln Park Zoo. This zoo gets consistently high ratings online from visitors and while it might not be quite as large as some of the other zoo’s on this list, it has a number of cool features like an interactive farm, outdoor Yoga classes and live music.

These five free zoos are going to be able to add a lot of bang for your buck during any vacation you take this summer. Even if you just live in the area, it can’t hurt to take a little day trip to teach the kids a little something about animals and have a really great time. You might even get to see some baby zoo animals!

What zoo do you love to visit? Share your zoo pictures with us on Instagram @DriveTheNation!

Image Credits: National Zoo, St. Louis Zoo