Discover 42 Amazing Zoos Where You Can See Komodo Dragons

Written by Mike Edmisten
Updated: November 12, 2023
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The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is the largest and most dangerous lizard in the world. Any animal with those kinds of superlatives is endlessly fascinating to humans. Here is a look at the Komodo dragon, along with lots of zoos where you can see this amazing creature up close.

Komodo Dragon Charging

The Komodo dragon is the largest lizard on Earth.

©iStock.com/kiwisoul

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Komodo Dragons

The Komodo dragon can grow over ten feet long and weigh 300 pounds or more. This reptile is native to six islands in the Indonesian archipelago, though it has since been extirpated on one of those islands and is under severe threat on another. It is classified as ​​endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. The creation of Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in 1980 may have saved the animal from extinction.

Apex Predator

This huge lizard is the apex predator in its very limited range. The Komodo dragon has the smallest home range of any large predator in the world. Its preferred prey is Timor deer, but these dragons will also predate water buffalo, Asian palm civets, boars, birds, rats, snakes, fish, goats, chickens, and eggs. They will also scavenge carrion. A Komodo dragon can go weeks at a time without eating. However, when this predator does snag a meal, it can eat up to 80% of its body weight in one sitting.

The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) attacks the prey. It is the biggest living lizard in the world.On island Rinca. Indonesia.

The Komodo dragon is the apex predator of its limited range.

©Sergey Uryadnikov/Shutterstock.com

The Komodo dragon is one of only three venomous lizards in the world, along with the Gila monster and Mexican beaded lizard. The lizard’s sixty serrated teeth deliver venom similar in composition to that of a rattlesnake. The venom prevents the blood of the lizard’s victim from clotting, causing the animal to bleed to death.

This reptile was not discovered by the Western world until 1910. Due to the world’s fascination with this newly discovered giant lizard, it wasn’t long until it was placed on exhibit in a zoo. The first Komodo dragon displayed in captivity was at the London Zoo in 1927. The first exhibition of the animal in the United States was at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., in 1934, but the animal only lived for two years. These lizards are susceptible to infection and disease when removed from their native environment. Breeding in captivity also proved challenging. However, further research has allowed zoos to create much more hospitable environments where these lizards can thrive and even reproduce.

Zoos With Komodo Dragons

Here are 42 zoos where you can see these amazing reptiles. These organizations do more than display these lizards, though. They work diligently for the conservation and care of these amazing reptiles.

1. ABQ BioPark Zoo

Albuquerque’s ABQ BioPark Zoo houses a Komodo dragon named Indah in the Reptile Building. Lucky visitors may even see keepers taking Indah for a stroll. The lizard is on a leash, of course, but that is still quite a sight in central New Mexico

2. Akron Zoo

Akron Zoo sign

The Akron Zoo is home to two Komodo dragons.

©Mark Tee from Akron, Ohio, USA / CC BY 2.0 – License

Draco, a 12-year-old female Komodo dragon that called the Akron Zoo home since 2010, died in January 2023. Her keepers mourned her passing, noting the “exceptionally trusting relationship” she had with her care team. The zoo is now home to two male dragons. Padar is the senior of the two. The zoo recently welcomed a young dragon named Jasper in September 2023. Since male Komodos prefer a solitary life, the two will alternate appearances in the public habitat. 

3. Audubon Zoo

Audubon Zoo sign, New Orleans

New Orleans residents can catch a glimpse of the Komodo dragon at the Audubon Zoo.

©The Erica Chang / CC BY 3.0 – License

Located in Uptown, New Orleans, the Audubon Zoo features unique habitats such as the Louisiana Swamp and Jaguar Jungle. The Reptile Encounter exhibit features more than 50 species of reptiles, including the Komodo dragon.

4. Birmingham Zoo

Approximately 180 species and 550 individual animals reside at the 122-acre Birmingham Zoo. The Komodo dragon is one of forty reptile species at this Alabama zoo.

5. Brevard Zoo

It can be difficult for a smaller zoo to provide for the needs of Komodo dragons, but the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida demonstrates how it can be done. The zoo opened in 1994 and welcomes 400,000 visitors each year.

6. Bronx Zoo

The Komodo dragon in Bronx Zoo, NYC

The Bronx Zoo houses a Komodo dragon in the Zoo Center, pictured here.

©ndotampu/ via Getty Images

The Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States by area. The zoo houses over 700 species and over 10,000 individual animals. Included in that number is the Komodo dragon, which resides at Zoo Center.

7. Cameron Park Zoo

Waco, Texas, residents don’t have to travel to Indonesia to see a Komodo dragon. They can just go to the Cameron Park Zoo. The Komodo dragon exhibit is part of the zoo’s Asian Forest, which opened in 2009.

8. Chattanooga Zoo

Southeastern Tennessee is home to the Komodo dragon thanks to the Chattanooga Zoo. The zoo even offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for guests to feed a Komodo dragon! That experience requires preregistration and an additional fee.

9. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The Cincinnati Zoo recently lost Hudo, a 20-year-old Komodo dragon who lived at the zoo for 14 years. The zoo described his loyal behavior as more like that of a golden retriever than a lizard. He was the first Komodo dragon in history to undergo successful double cataract corrective surgery. President George H.W. Bush gave the lizard to the zoo after he received it as a gift from President Suharto of Indonesia.

Komodo dragon at the Cincinnati Zoo

The Cincinnati Zoo recently lost its 14-year resident Komodo dragon, Hudo (pictured here).

©Mark Dumont / CC BY 2.0 – License

While the zoo mourns the loss of its beloved Hudo, there is a new dragon on display. Frunobulax, a 1 ½ -year-old Komodo dragon, arrived in Cincinnati from the Bronx Zoo in May 2023.

10. Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland

This specialized zoo in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, is home to over forty species of reptiles and amphibians. The Komodo dragon can be seen in the zoo’s Island Giants exhibit.

11. Denver Zoo

Komodo dragon at the Denver Zoo

The Denver Zoo provides close-up photo opportunities of the Komodo dragon, such as this shot captured in the zoo’s Tropical Discovery habitat.

©Postdlf / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Much of Komodo Island, where Komodo National Park is located, sits between 300 and 1,200 feet above sea level. Denver’s one-mile high elevation is certainly a departure for this lizard, but thanks to the Denver Zoo, the animal thrives at that high elevation. The dragon can be viewed in the zoo’s Tropical Discovery habitats.

12. Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Komodo dragon at Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Komodo dragon exhibit at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, seen here, is a highlight for the park’s millions of visitors.

©David R. Tribble / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Visitors to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park in Orlando, Florida, can check out a wonderful Komodo dragon exhibit.

In an interview with A-Z Animals, Lauren Enochs of Travel to Infinity said, “Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened to the public on April 22, 1998 (Earth Day), with a unique concept that combines live animal exhibits and cutting-edge theme park technology.” 

The travel professional specializing in Disney vacations went on to note, “[Animal Kingdom’s] Komodo dragon habitat is intended to mimic the diverse ecosystems of the Indonesian rainforest and is located along the Maharajah Jungle Trek, just waiting to welcome any of the nine million visitors who attend the park each year.”

13. Essex County Turtle Back Zoo

The Reptile House at the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo in New Jersey is home to the zoo’s Komodo dragon. The lizard shares its habitat with a flock of Taveta golden weavers. The house also has a Komodo dragon skull on exhibit, so guests can learn even more about this massive predatory lizard.

14. Fort Worth Zoo

This Texas zoo is a leader in Komodo dragon care. It provided dragons for multiple other zoos on this list. In 2017, the Fort Worth Zoo welcomed eleven Komodo dragon hatchlings. 

15. Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Located in California’s San Joaquin Valley, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo is home to over 200 species of animals. The Komodo dragon is one of more than 20 reptile species housed at the zoo.

16. Honolulu Zoo

Komodo dragon at the Honolulu Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo’s Komodo dragon exhibit provides plenty of space for climbing.

©RL0919 / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

Komodo dragons are native to islands, but those islands are some 6,200 miles away from the islands of Hawaii. However, Hawaiians can marvel at these massive lizards at the Honolulu Zoo.

17. Houston Zoo

Komodo dragon at the Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo’s Komodo dragon is quite photogenic.

©David Li / CC BY 3.0 – License

The Komodo dragon is the world’s largest lizard,, and it resides in Texas’s largest city, thanks to the Houston Zoo. Over two million people visit the zoo each year to view the 6,000+ animals that call the zoo home.

18. Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

Jacksonville, USA interstate highway i295 road in Florida and sign directions for Jaxport port authority terminals and zoo exit only lane on us 105 street

This way to a fun day at the Jacksonville Zoo!

©krblokhin/ via Getty Images

Northeast Florida residents can see this massive Indonesian predator at the Jacksonville Zoo. The Komodo dragon is part of the zoo’s Asia Loop.

19. Louisville Zoo

Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) at the Louisville Zoo

The Louisville Zoo provides great photo opportunities for Komodo dragon fans, as seen in this great shot of a dragon “smiling” for the camera.

©Ltshears / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

You may not expect to find the founder of Rome in Kentucky, but that’s (kind of) what you will encounter at the Louisville Zoo. Romulus is the zoo’s Komodo Dragon. The male, who came from the Fort Worth Zoo in 2018, is named after the legendary founder and first king of Rome.

20. Los Angeles Zoo

Komodo Dragon at the Los Angeles Zoo

This Komodo at the Los Angeles Zoo thinks L.A. is A-Okay!

©Neskaya / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

The Los Angeles Zoo houses more than 2,000 animals representing over 270 species, including 60+ endangered species. The Komodo dragon is one of those endangered species that call this southern California zoo home.

21. Memphis Zoo

Komodo Dragon at the Memphis Zoo.

Memphis may be the Birthplace of Rock and Roll, but its zoo’s Komodo dragon exhibit, seen here, also rocks!

©Unicurse at English Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Elvis Presley was known to wear jumpsuits embroidered with dragons, so it seems only fitting that the city where Graceland is located is also home to the Komodo dragon. The Dragon’s Lair habitat at the Memphis Zoo opened in 1998. The zoo has a long history of caring for these endangered animals.

22. Minnesota Zoo

Take a hike down Tropics Trail at the Minnesota Zoo, and you’ll encounter animals such as the binturong (bearcat), tapir, red river hog, rhinoceros hornbill, lemur, and gibbon. You’ll also find the Komodo dragon.

23. Montgomery Zoo

Merlin, a two-year-old male Komodo dragon, made his debut at the Montgomery Zoo in 2020. The lizard, now five years old, can be seen by visitors to this Alabama zoo.

24. Nashville Zoo

This zoo in Tennessee’s capital city opened the largest Komodo dragon habitat in the Americas in July 2023. The habitat is designed to house two adult males, three adult females, and multiple juvenile Komodo dragons. Nashville Zoo’s collection of dragons includes Lil Sebastian. This ironically named lizard is the largest of the zoo’s dragons at nine feet long.

25. North Carolina Zoo

A brother/sister duo of Komodo dragons lives at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, North Carolina. Monte’ (male) and Marigold (female) came to North Carolina from the Fort Worth Zoo.

26. Oklahoma City Zoo

Komodo dragons exist in central Oklahoma. At least, they do at the Oklahoma City Zoo. The zoo houses two dragons, a ten-year-old female named Kotara and a seven-year-old male called Padar. These lizards reside in the zoo’s Sanctuary Asia habitat.

27. Phoenix Zoo

Komodo dragon at the Phoenix Zoo

The Komodo dragon loves basking in the Arizona sun at the Phoenix Zoo.

©Scotwriter21 / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

The Komodo dragon is native to the rainforests of Indonesia. However, thanks to the Phoenix Zoo, they can also be seen in the Arizona desert.

28. Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium

Welcome sign, Pittsburgh Zoo

The Pittsburgh Zoo is indeed a welcoming place to see the Komodo dragon.

©Christopher “Rice” from Pittsburgh, PA, United States of America / CC BY-SA 2.0 – License

Western Pennsylvania residents don’t have to travel far to see a Komodo dragon. A quick trip to Pittsburgh is all it takes. The Pittsburgh Zoo houses its Komodo dragon in the Forest Passage area near the main entrance of the zoo. 

29. Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

This zoo in Columbia, South Carolina, opened in 1974 and houses more than 3,000 animals. Two Komodo dragons are part of the zoo’s animal family. The dragons, named Dutch and Anna, reside next to Siamang Island at the zoo.

Rhode Island residents can see a Komodo dragon at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence. The female lizard, named Elsie, resides in the zoo’s World of Adaptations exhibit. The zoo claims Elsie to be the only Komodo dragon at any zoo in New England.

31. Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park

This zoo in New York State is home to over 700 animals. Syracuse residents can see animals ranging from the tiny dart frog to an 8,000-pound Asian elephant at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. And, of course, the world’s largest lizard, the Komodo dragon.

32. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

San Diego Zoo street sign on Park Blvd w/ ivy fully grown in.

The San Diego Zoo opened a new Komodo dragon exhibit in 2021.

©Jim1138 / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

The first Komodo dragons arrived at the San Diego Zoo in 1968. Since then, the zoo has become a leader in Komodo dragon breeding research. The Kenneth C. Griffin Komodo Kingdom opened at the zoo in 2021.

33. San Francisco Zoo & Gardens

This historic zoo is home to two Komodo dragons. The newest of the two arrived in November 2022. The San Francisco Zoo announced the name of this young male dragon in January 2023. It is named Rinca, after one of the islands in the Komodo dragon’s native range.

34. Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Komodo dragon, National Zoo

Murphy enjoys chilling out in his space at the National Zoo.

©Rawpixel Ltd / CC BY 2.0 – License

The National Zoo was the first zoo outside of Indonesia to hatch Komodo dragons successfully. Today, it is home to Murphy, whom the zoo describes as a “calm, laid-back lizard.” The zoo also welcomed a new young Komodo dragon named Onyx in 2021.

35. Toledo Zoo & Aquarium

This northern Ohio zoo is home to 150 reptile species, 60 of which are venomous. One of those venomous species at the Toledo Zoo is, of course, the Komodo dragon.

36. Toronto Zoo

Toronto Zoo flag

Komodo dragon fans in Canada can see the massive lizard at the Toronto Zoo.

©JasonParis / CC BY 2.0 – License

Canada’s largest city is home to its largest zoo. Visitors to the Toronto Zoo can view Indonesia’s apex predator while visiting the Australasia Pavilion.

37. Tulsa Zoo

Residents of T-Town can see the Komodo dragon at the Tulsa Zoo. The 84-acre zoo is located in Mohawk Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the United States.

38. Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

Located in Virginia Beach, the Virginia Aquarium is home to all sorts of marine species, such as sharks, eels, and sea turtles. There is also an impressive array of terrestrial reptiles, including Komodo dragons. That is not to suggest that Komodo dragons are unfamiliar with a marine environment. On the contrary, these lizards are excellent swimmers and can dive up to 15 feet. The Virginia Aquarium is home to three dragons named Teman, Bejo, and Kado. 

39. Woodland Park Zoo

entrance to Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington

Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo is a wonderful place to view Komodo dragons in the Pacific Northwest.

©The Ninjaneer / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo renovated its Komodo dragon habitat in 2021. Ultraviolet heat lights are hidden in artificial logs. A new tree root area encourages digging and tunneling, natural behaviors for Komodo dragons. And the exhibit’s updated glass offers better viewing for the zoo’s guests. This zoo in Washington State features two male dragons, 4-year-old Nakal and 8-year-old Berani. They can be seen in the Adaptations Building.

40. Zoo Atlanta

Residents of Georgia’s capital can see this amazing lizard in their city. Zoo Atlanta’s male Komodo dragon can be viewed in his outdoor habitat during the summer or in his indoor habitat during the cooler seasons. Komodo dragons need a hot and humid climate to thrive. Sounds like summer in Georgia!

41. Zoo Miami

Situated on 750 acres, Zoo Miami houses nearly 400 different species with over 2,500 individual animals, including the Komodo dragon. Residents and vacationers alike can enjoy this lovely zoo in southern Florida, which includes four miles of walkways that wind through the zoo’s various exhibits. 

Zoo Miami entrance

Komodo dragons are among the many animals that await guests of Zoo Miami.

©Ivan Curra / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Visitors to this zoo (and any other zoo) are urged to use caution while viewing the animals on exhibit. In 2020, a Komodo dragon at Zoo Miami underwent emergency surgery after the lizard swallowed a one-foot-long rubber water bottle with a metal lid and carabiner. The bottle was dropped into the Komodo dragon’s exhibit by a zoo guest. Since it was too large to pass through the animal’s digestive system naturally, immediate surgery was the only option to remove the obstruction. Otherwise, the animal would have died. Thankfully, the Komodo dragon named Estrella survived the surgery.

42. ZooTampa at Lowry Park

History was made recently at ZooTampa at Lowry Park when, for the first time in the zoo’s history, Komodo dragon eggs successfully hatched. In August 2023, six new hatchlings arrived. They were the offspring of Aanjay (mother, age 13) and Titus (father, age 12). 

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Mark Dumont / CC BY 2.0 – License / Original


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About the Author

Mike is a writer at A-Z Animals where his primary focus is on geography, agriculture, and marine life. A graduate of Cincinnati Christian University and a resident of Cincinnati, OH, Mike is deeply passionate about the natural world. In his free time, he, his wife, and their two sons love the outdoors, especially camping and exploring US National Parks.

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