Zoos aren't just about watching cute and interesting animals laze around their habitat. May zoos around the country are focusing heavily on research and conservation efforts, and that includes The Denver Zoo.

In Travel + Leisure magazine, writer Evie Carrick ranked the top 9 zoos in the U.S. based on their conservation efforts. "Many activists view zoos as prisons," she writes, "That's why it's important to do your research and carefully choose the zoo you support."

The 84-acre facility in Denver is highlighted as one that focuses primarily on animal welfare. Not only that, but the zoo was noted for its efforts to protect animals from going extinct and researching habitat loss in the areas of Botswana, Peru, and Mongolia.

According to Denver7, the ranking system was based on information from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and Denver Zoo ranked 7th. Other zoos on the list include Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Nebraska, and the number-one, top-rated zoo: Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park in Bay Lake, Florida. That facility's efforts to grow their elephant and giraffe herds and return animals to the wild were the reason it ranked so high on the list.

The Denver Zoo is currently open and you can grab your pass right here. 

Get our free mobile app

Photos: How Tiger King's Cats Now Live in Colorado