African bush elephant at the San Diego Zoo
Image credit: By Bernard Gagnon [<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC BY-SA 3.0</a> or <a href="http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html">GFDL</a>], <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:African_bush_elephant_in_San_Diego_Zoo.jpg">from Wikimedia Commons</a>

Zoos aren’t just fun places to spend an afternoon with the family. They also play a crucial role in educating the public about animals, helping to protect and breed species that are threatened or endangered in the wild, and conducting scientific research. National Zoo Lovers Day conveniently occurs on a weekend this year, making it a great day for a rendezvous with your favorite wildlife.