Hippos are one of Africa’s most beloved animals. With their pudgy bodies and large mouths, the hippo is easily one of the top animals that zoo patrons rush to see. In this listing, we’re counting down the top 5 hippo exhibits in the world! The rankings this week are based on water quality, animal visibility, and group size.
5.) Hippo Haven: Adventure Aquarium, Camden, NJ
This playful exhibit is fun, educational, and highly accessible for all guests to Adventure Aquarium. Two Nile hippos named Button and Genny call Hippo Haven home and don’t mind sharing the water with a school of African fish. The whole exhibit area takes visitors through “a day in the life on an African river” and stresses the importance that all living creatures have in the river ecosystem and hippos. With above and underwater viewing areas, clear water, and places outside of the water for the hippos to relax, Hippo Haven gives visitors a very unique look at the lives of Nile hippos.
4.) Hippo Cove: Cincinnati Zoo, Cincinnati, OH
Hippo Cove, a new state of the art exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, makes guest viewing easy with two clear and immersive viewing areas. It also educates younger visitors about hippos through an interactive play area with statues and ropes to climb on. What makes this exhibit so amazing is that it is designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible. The main pool is sourced by rain water, a practice that has been used for all other water features at the zoo since 2005. Since the installation of this water system, over 1,000,000 gallons of water have been saved. To make this exhibit even more awesome, the AZA has given the Cincinnati Zoo a hippo breeding recommendation, meaning they believe this exhibit is so enriching for the animals, it is a great place for hippos to breed. And speaking of breeding, Hippo Cove is home to Fiona, the adorable premature baby hippo blowing up everyone’s social media news feeds. Shutout to the Cincinnati Zoo for doing a tremendous job hand-raising her!
3.) Pygmy Hippo Exhibit: Singapore Zoo, Singapore
The Singapore Zoo is home to Pygmy hippos, smaller cousins of the large and charismatic Nile hippo. This enriching exhibit is built like an aquarium with huge picture windows looking into the underwater portion of the exhibit. Guests can view the animals in comfort from seating on a lower level of the area. Included in the water are fish and vegetation native to African rivers. There is also a space behind the water for the animals to leave the water and sunbathe. The Singapore Zoo is home to several hippos, something that is very important to hippo health, as they are highly gregarious animals.
2.) Simmons Hippo Outpost: Dallas Zoo, Dallas, TX
This gorgeous exhibit is an enormous 2.1 acres, highlighted by a crystal clear 120,000 gallon pool that includes a viewing window that is 24 feet wide and 8 feet tall. The two Nile hippos that call this exhibit home share the space with a small herd of Okapi, a giraffe relative that is native to Africa. Along with the large pool, the exhibit features waterfalls, large rocks, and a viewing area above the exhibit. This brand new, multi-million dollar enclosure is one of the many gems at the Dallas Zoo and is one of the best hippo exhibits in the world.
1.) Nile Hippo Exhibit: Zoom Erlebniswelt, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Topping off our list is this beautiful exhibit at Zoom Erlebniswelt. At around 3/4 of an acre, this moderately large exhibit features a gorgeous infinity pool, appearing as though the pool turns into a river at one end. A mixed species exhibit, the herd of Nile hippos live among sitatungas (an antelope species) and Saddle-billed storks, both native to Africa. Despite not having an underwater viewing area, visitors will be delighted to see hippos from above the water through a 20 minute boat ride through the spacious exhibit. Because of the incredible ways to view the animals, the size, and the beauty and clarity of the exhibit pool, this exhibit makes its way to the number 1 spot on this week’s list!
There are so many amazing hippo exhibits throughout the world, and we encourage you to visit your local zoo to see what they have to offer. When it comes to the best hippo exhibits in the world, these 5 really steal the show! Be on the lookout for our next top list of zoo exhibits next week!