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Another attraction is the overhead Orangutan Transport System, 400-foot-long cables that allow orangutans to swing above you on their way to and from the Think Tank, where the apes use touch-screen computers while scientists measure their comprehension skills.
A full-fledged research center, the National Zoo also breeds a colony of golden lion tamarins (read: fuzzy orange monkeys).
In recent years, the Bronx Zoo, formerly known as the Wildlife Conservation Park, has changed more than its name, building natural habitats such as Jungle World and the Himalayan Highlands.
These sites re-create places where the zoo's scientists have embarked on field conservation efforts.
Members of this band are among the few zoo-bred animals ever to have been successfully released into the wild—in this case, Brazil's endangered Atlantic rain forest.202/673-4800; free.
Visiting the largest urban zoo in America—with more than 6,000 animals spread across 265 acres—definitely calls for a daylong picnic plan.
Not everyone is willing to ante up the adult admission to Disney's new 500-acre Animal Kingdom in Orlando, with its African Safari ride and 2,500 performing "cast members," but most find themselves happily exploring a neighboring zoo.
It's no wonder that the indoor exhibitions here are as extensive as the outdoor ones, given that in winter no living creatures except polar bears would be caught outside.
But to take full advantage of the zoo you should hike the Minnesota Trail and the Northern Trail.
Along these you're sure to spot the hardy wild animals of this state and of the world's Northern Hemisphere: fishers, lynx, woodchucks, wolverines, musk oxen, caribou, sandhill cranes, and Siberian tigers.
San Diego Zoo, 619/234-3153; adults, kids 311.
Wild Animal Park, 760/747-8702; .95 adults, .95 kids 311.
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While the Asian river otters, clouded leopards, tigers, giraffes, wallabies, and Komodo dragons seem quite pleased with the jungle-like weather, visitors, particularly in summer, should be prepared to sweat like warthogs (not that you can tell if a warthog is sweating).