Discover The 6 Best Zoos In Georgia (And The Ideal Time To Visit Each)

Written by Lev Baker
Updated: May 24, 2023
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Cheehaw Park & Zoo in Albany, Georgia advocates for conservation programs, veterinary programs, safety, and education.

Georgia is a state with diverse landscapes and a rich history. It’s natural beauty and cultural attractions draw visitors from all over the world. Among the many attractions in Georgia, its zoos stand out as some of the fascinating places to visit. From exotic animals to educational exhibits, Georgia’s zoos offer something for everyone.

In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the best zoos in Georgia, highlighting their unique features and attractions that make them worth visiting. So whether you live in the area or are around for a visit, pack your bags, grab your camera, and prepare for an adventure in these wild zoos in Georgia!

1. Zoo Atlanta

Zoo Atlanta entrance

The Atlanta Zoo offers close encounters with over 1,500 animals from around the world, including endangered species.

©Rob Hainer/

Zoo Atlanta is a renowned zoological institution in the United States, accredited by AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums), with a mission to inspire appreciation and preservation of wildlife through education and family experiences. The zoo offers close encounters with over 1,500 animals from around the world, including endangered species.

Zoo Atlanta is a unique and adventurous site, spanning 40 acres and home to the largest collection of gorillas and orangutans in any US zoo. With a history dating back to 1889, it’s a significant piece of local and state-wide heritage.

Visitors should not miss popular exhibits like Boundless Budgies: A Parakeet Adventure, Trader’s Alley: Wildlife’s Fading Footprints, and Ford African Rain Forest. The World of Reptiles, with over 450 amphibians across 100 species, is also worth exploring during any visit to the zoo.

Zoo Atlanta’s ticket prices vary depending on the entry date, and it is open all year round except for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Located in Grant Park, the zoo is just a few minutes away from downtown Atlanta and has a rich historical significance.

Best Time To Visit

It’s best to plan a visit to Zoo Atlanta on a weekday since weekends, particularly Saturdays, tend to be the busiest. Additionally, some visitors may find winter to be the best time to visit the zoo as the cold weather animals tend to be active, and the crowds are generally smaller.

Visitors can expect to spend approximately two to three hours exploring all the exhibits at Zoo Atlanta, depending on their itinerary.

2. North Georgia Wildlife Park & Safari

The North Georgia Wildlife Park offers an abundance of fun and educational experiences suitable for animal lovers of all ages. With more than 400 animals ranging from zebras to alligators, the wildlife park is truly a one-of-a-kind attraction.

Visitors are invited to explore the zoo’s working farm, which features over 200 rare breeds and miniature farm animals that include cows, mini pigs, water buffalo, camels, and goats. Baby animals are born throughout the year, offering visitors a firsthand look at the miracle of life. Guests are welcome to feed and pet the animals while learning more about them.

The North Georgia Wildlife Park also offers visitors the opportunity to experience exotic animals up close, either through a guided Wildlife Walk or other structured experiences like animal shows, camel encounters, and pony rides.

In addition to these amazing experiences, a Safari Drive-Thru allows visitors to witness majestic animals roaming freely in their natural habitat. As a partner in conservation, the animals receive top-notch care and protection.

Ticket prices vary depending on the activities you choose and can be conveniently purchased online. It is located just a short 10 to 15-minute drive from Cleveland, Georgia.

Best Time To Visit

Close up of a camel’s head peeking into the driver’s window of a vehicle at a drive-thru zoo.


The North Georgia Wildlife Park offers a planner on its website to help visitors plan their trip based on the activities they are interested in. Since the zoo is not open every day, visitors should plan accordingly. And try your best to avoid rainy days to ensure the best experience with the animals!

The North Georgia Wildlife Park generally has fewer crowds throughout the year than other major zoos. However, visitors should keep in mind that the zoo is closed on Christmas Day.

3. Chestatee Wildlife Preserve & Zoo

Apex predator: Tiger

Want to see a Siberian


© Prosicky

Chestatee Wildlife Preserve spans 30 acres of tranquil farmland and provides a permanent home to over 100 exotic and native animals, many of which were rescued or orphaned. The preserve is a non-profit organization dedicated to education and is authorized to showcase both domestic and exotic wildlife species.

Visitors can observe and interact with the animals, and a team of volunteers works closely with them. The facility is home to numerous rare and endangered species of animals, such as African lions, white Siberian tigers, leopards, servals, zebras, emus, and macaws.

Feeding sessions and close encounters with the animals are available to visitors, but it’s important to note that animals may bite, so extra care must be taken. Additionally, the zoo offers birthday celebration services, and they can accommodate parties of any size. 

Admission fees for the preserve are $10 for children aged 11 and below and $15 for those aged 12 and above. Children aged 12 months and under are granted free admission. The preserve is open throughout the year, providing visitors with the opportunity to experience the beauty of nature and wildlife all year round.

The wildlife preserve is located 13 miles away from the mountainous town of Dahlonega.

Best Time To Visit

The ideal times to visit are typically from mid-May to late June and from mid-August to early October.

Weekdays are generally the best option if you’re looking for a quieter experience at this fantastic zoo, as weekends can be busier. However, the zoo is open every day of the year, so visitors have many opportunities to visit. According to the zoo’s recommendation, the best time to visit is in the morning.

4. Cheehaw Park & Zoo

Albany. Georgia. USA


Located in South Georgia, Chehaw is a remarkable destination with more than 700 acres of expansive conservation land. It also has a wild animal park that puts a strong focus on education. The foundation of Chehaw is based on three core values: conservation, preservation, and education.

Chehaw’s Zoo boasts an impressive 234 specimens from 73 species. Visitors can enjoy natural open-air exhibits showcasing amazing animals such as black bears, cheetahs, meerkats, alligators, and black rhinos. In addition, there are scenic boardwalks and cypress swamps, providing an opportunity to relish the great outdoors. Animal feedings and keeper talks are available every weekend, and the zoo upholds high standards in animal care. The zoo also advocates for conservation programs, veterinary programs, safety, and education.

Chehaw caters to visitors of all ages. The zoo has something for everyone. You’ll find Wild Animal Park, train rides, a petting zoo, recreational activities, and Georgia’s largest kids’ play park. Thrilling attractions like nature trails and BMX bike racing are also available.

Visit the zoo on weekdays from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm and on weekends from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. To access the zoo, you’ll need to purchase a parking pass, as the zoo is inside the park.

Chehaw is located in Albany, Georgia – just a few minutes’ drive from downtown Albany.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Chehaw Park and Zoo depends on individual preferences and interests. Georgia summers can be hot and humid. If you prefer cooler weather, it may be best to visit during the fall or spring.

Weekdays are generally less crowded than weekends. But it’s best to visit on weekends if you’re interested in animal feedings and keeper talks.

5. Wild Animal Safari

What Do Zebras Eat

Want to see Zebras up close? Visit the Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain.


Pine Mountain, Georgia, is perfect for those seeking to get close to some of the world’s most exotic animals. Wild Animal Safari, a popular destination in the area, lets visitors observe a wide range of creatures. This includes tigers, lions, zebras, rhinos, and giraffes from their own vehicles.

Apart from the thrilling safari drive, Wild Animal Safari provides several educational programs. These include animal feeding demonstrations and keeper talks. The park also offers the option to book overnight stays in luxurious cabins or safari tents. This provides guests with an unforgettable experience.

Spanning across an impressive 600 acres, Wild Animal Safari is situated in the stunning Pine Mountain Valley. Here, visitors can discover a diverse range of habitats. From open grasslands to wooded areas that provide homes to countless species, including cheetahs, African elephants, antelopes, and many others.

Additionally, there are several riverside trails. These trails are ideal for those who want to explore the region’s natural beauty. Keep your eyes open; you’ll spot wildlife along the way!

General admission tickets will give you access to both the Drive-Thru Safari and the Walkabout Adventure Zoo. The Walkabout Adventure Zoo provides a unique opportunity to interact with the animals in a more traditional zoo setting.

Please note that the operating hours of Wild Animal Safari vary depending on the season. Always check before planning your visit. Also, keep in mind that the park is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Best Time To Visit

It usually takes about an hour and a half to complete the tour. It is recommended to visit the park in the morning when the animals are being fed. However, if you don’t mind crowds, you can plan your visit in the afternoon or on weekends.

Furthermore, you should check the weather forecast before planning a trip since the park remains closed during severe weather conditions.

6. Oatland Island Wildlife Center

Savannah, Georgia, USA at Forsyth Park Fountain.

Savannah’s Oatland Island Wildlife Center is a must-see! A big highlight is the two miles of nature trails!

©Sean Pavone/

The Oatland Island Wildlife Center is a nature reserve situated in Savannah, Georgia. The center offers an array of guided tours. It also offers interactive activities and educational programs suitable for all ages to learn about the indigenous flora and fauna.

A highlight of the center is the two miles of nature trails. These feature interpretive signs that allow visitors to observe native plants and animals up close. Visitors can also enjoy interactive exhibits. These exhibits feature live animals such as bobcats, owls, hawks, snakes, foxes, turtles, and the iconic American bald eagle. Staff members are available to provide demonstrations of raptor flight shows or species interaction talks. This allows visitors to witness how these animals interact with their environment.

The Oatland Island Wildlife Center’s primary goal is to promote environmental awareness among locals and tourists while providing an enjoyable experience for all visitors. This engaging platform allows individuals to gain valuable knowledge about indigenous wildlife while appreciating the natural beauty of the Savannah region.

The Oatland Island Wildlife Center also offers additional amenities, such as a gift shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs to commemorate their visit. Furthermore, the center provides an option to celebrate birthday parties surrounded by the reserve’s fascinating wildlife and natural scenery.

This nature reserve is open every day of the year except for Christmas and New Year’s holidays, with adult tickets costing only $5. It’s located an 11-minute drive from Savannah, making it easily accessible for visitors in the area.

Best Time To Visit

To fully enjoy the experience of the Oatland Island Wildlife Center, it’s recommended to plan your visit between March and June when the weather is warm and pleasant, and the flowers are in full bloom. It’s worth noting that mid to late summer can bring extreme heat and humidity, which may make it unpleasant for some visitors.

Additionally, visitors can avoid crowds by visiting on weekdays, as weekends tend to be busier. It’s advisable to check in advance as the wildlife center may be closed during severe weather conditions.

Summary Of The 6 Best Zoos In Georgia And The Best Time To Visit

#ZooLocationBest Time
1Zoo AtlantaAtlantaWeekday – Fall/Winter
2North Georgia Wildlife Park & SafariClevelandNot open every day so check the schedule
3Chestatee Wildlife Preserve & ZooDahlonega.Weekday – Spring/Fall
4Cheehaw Park & ZooAlbanyWeekday – Spring/Fall
5Wild Animal SafariPine MountainMornings – weather permitting
6Oatland Island Wildlife CenterSavannahWeekday – March through June

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Rob Hainer/

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About the Author

Lev is a writer at AZ Animals who primarily covers topics on animals, geography, and plants. He has been writing for more than 4 years and loves researching topics and learning new things. His three biggest loves in the world are music, travel, and animals. He has his diving license and loves sea creatures. His favorite animal in the world is the manta ray.

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