Zoo Regions

family at animal encounter program with Baby alligator
Southern Swamps Southern Swamps icon

Southern Swamps

Swamps are forested wetlands associated with drainage from rivers or lakes. Providing a link between dry land and deep bodies of water, these regions in North America may be wet for all or part of the year. Wetlands provide natural flood control, help to filter pollution, and prevent erosion in adjacent areas. Featuring a subtropical climate with wet and dry seasons, the southern swamps support a wide variety of vegetation and wildlife, including unique animals like reptiles, and are vital to the survival of many wetland-related species.

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Great Southwest Great Southwest icon

Great Southwest

The dramatic landscapes of the great southwest include desert, grassland, chaparral, thorn scrub, and forest communities. Much of this iconic region in North America is characterized by very hot summer days, cooler nights, and limited seasonal rainfall. Despite these harsh conditions, a surprisingly wide variety of plants and animals have developed special adaptations that allow them to not only survive but thrive in this harsh, unforgiving environment. A snapshot of this dry, hot environment of the animal kingdom can be found right here in the Zoo!

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Eastern Woodlands Eastern Woodlands icon

Eastern Woodlands

Stretching from Maine down through the Appalachians, this region is characterized by broadleaf trees that drop their leaves in autumn and become dormant in winter. This deciduous forest changes dramatically with each of the four distinct seasons. Winters are cold, summers are warm, and precipitation falls throughout the year, making these North American animals especially adaptable in the wild. White-tailed deer, squirrels, black bears, and wild turkeys forage for buds, twigs, and nuts provided by the oak and beech trees that dominate the landscape.

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Big Sky Country Big Sky Country icon

Big Sky Country

From the Mississippi River to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, discover a region that features some of the coolest animals that are just as varied as the geography. Broad expanses of flat land give way to grasses, wildflowers, and a few widely spaced trees. All animals in this region adapt to quickly changing weather patterns and climate. Prairie dogs dig burrows for shelter, which provide refuge for many other species. Pronghorn and elk live in herds, providing safety in number and, in the higher country, mountain lions range widely in search of prey.

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Northlands Northlands icon

Northlands

Ranging from the evergreen forests of Canada, north to the tundra, and through all of Alaska, the northlands is a harsh wilderness environment, marked by long, extreme winters and short, mild summers. Spruce, tamarack, fir, and pine trees dominate the coniferous forests that make up this region. On the tundra, only low-growing lichens, mosses, and other ground-hugging plants are found. Survival of the harsh winters requires that the wild animals of this region maintain strong strategies like hibernation, burrowing under the snow, and growing thicker coats of fur. Birds often migrate south where food is more plentiful.

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