Visiting zoos, botanical gardens, safari parks, dude ranches, and national wildlife refuges are great ways to get out and explore with our friends and families. You can enjoy beautiful blooms, observe animals you don’t often get to see in your daily life, and take in gorgeous scenery.
In our search to find the top spots across six categories, we invited a panel of experts to nominate their picks for the best, and now we need your help to decide the winners.
You can vote for your favorites once per day, per category until voting closes on Monday, March 4 at noon ET.
Click on each category below to vote:
Best Botanical Garden
Botanical gardens help educate about plant life in addition to conserving species — Photo courtesy of traveler1116 / E+
From desert climates to Japanese gardens, these 20 stunning venues — nominated by an expert panel as the best botanical gardens in the U.S. — showcase vast collections of plant life, helping to promote and conserve the plant diversity of our planet.
Which botanical garden is your favorite?
Vote: Best Botanical Garden »
Best Dude Ranch
Reconnect with nature on a dude ranch vacation — Photo courtesy of urbancow / E+
Dating back to the late 19th century, dude ranches offer a vacation experience unlike any other. Guests are invited to escape to the country, discover ranch life, and bask in the natural scenery around them. At these 20 dude ranches selected by an expert panel as the best in the U.S., visitors enjoy such activities as horseback riding, fishing, cattle pushing, and campfires, in addition to comfy accommodations and delicious meals.
Which dude ranch would you most like to saddle up at?
Vote: Best Dude Ranch »
Best National Wildlife Refuge
Observe all sorts of animals in their natural habitats at these 20 wildlife refuges — Photo courtesy of Mandy Fuller Photography / iStock / Getty Images Plus
The U.S. National Wildlife Refuge system protects some 150 million acres of land and water habitat from coast to coast, with at least one refuge in every state. The 570 refuges in the system, as well as another 38 wetland management districts, protect more than 220 species of mammal, 700 species of birds, over 1,000 species of fish, and 250 reptile and amphibian species. And 380 endangered or threatened plants and animals find sanctuary in these special places.
Our panel of experts have nominated 20 protected areas for Best National Wildlife Refuge, and now it’s your turn to vote. Which one is your top pick?
Vote: Best National Wildlife Refuge »
Best Safari Park
Learn about animals â and even interact with them â at safari parks — Photo courtesy of shalamov / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Safari and wildlife parks allow visitors to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most rare and endangered animals. These 20 safari parks — nominated by an expert panel as the best in the country — aim to educate visitors about the animals and the threats their natural populations face, as well as encourage conservation efforts.
Which safari park would you most like to explore?
Vote: Best Safari Park »
A visit to the zoo is a fun and educational outing for children and adults alike — Photo courtesy of Juhla / iStock / Getty Images Plus
The United States is home to hundreds of zoological parks, including more than 200 facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Short of heading out into the world’s wild places, nothing beats a visit to the zoo to foster an appreciation for the striking animal diversity of our planet.
A panel of experts has nominated their top 20 picks for the best zoos in the United States — facilities that excel in the fields of animal care and enrichment, while also facilitating meaningful interactions between animals and human visitors. Now, it’s your turn to decide the winners.
Which zoo is your favorite?
Vote: Best Zoo »
Best Zoo Exhibit
These zoo exhibits get top marks for their innovation — Photo courtesy of kali9 / E+
The best zoo exhibits not only educate but also engage visitors by transporting them to another place, whether it be the foothills of the Himalayas, a Florida swamp, or the Australian outback.
But which zoo exhibits are the most impressive, immersive, and informative in the country? We asked a panel of experts to nominate their top picks, and now we need you to decide the winners.
Which zoo exhibit is your favorite?
Vote: Best Zoo Exhibit »
Remember, you can vote once per day in each category. The 10 nominees with the most votes in each category will be announced on Friday, March 15.