Zoo Island Design Ideas For Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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If you’re like me, you play Animal Crossing for… well, the animals.

The same reason why so many people enjoy spending time at the zoo.

Days filled with looking at cute, exotic, and ferocious animals. Always quite enjoyable.

And now you have the ability to bring the fun of the zoo into your own Animal Crossing island.

Here’s a few build ideas to spark some of that wild zoo inspiration!


10. Fish and Bug Display

Basic simple zoo on the beach - ACNH Idea
Image Source by @Aikoyomi_

Now here’s a way to create a fun animal display with minimal effort.

All you really need to do is catch some of your favorite fish and bugs, and neatly display them across your island.

The key to making this idea work is keeping it organized, otherwise it’s just a chaotic mess.

While this player went with horizontal rows, you can do vertical rows, sort out bugs and fish, or carefully stack them as you wish.

Some of my favorite creatures I would recommend are the ribbon eel, rajah brook’s birdwing, the puffer fish, and surgeon fish.


9. Caged Monster

Caged Dinosaur statue idea - ACNH Zoo Design
Image Source by SeaShanties

Most of these ideas focus on different ways to display animals in exhibits.

However, it takes a lot more than hedges and ropes to cage this beast.

Just purchase a monster statue from Nook Miles and craft some prison bars to house him.

The rope fence and security uniform are nice touches that help give off the illusion that this is some high security exhibit that you don’t want to mess with.


8. Ticket Counter

Custom ticket counters area - ACNH Zoo Idea
Image Source by @Betty_LunaPark

Any zoo needs an entrance to the grand nature inside.

And here’s a cute little idea to try out for your entry area.

You simply need to customize some stalls and signs to your liking, whatever logos or symbols you want. Then your zoo is open for business.

I like that there are separate stalls here for the aquarium and zoo, plus the ticket displays are well coordinated to match.

Pick your favorite animals/fish and create custom designs for the stalls and signs. Then finish them off with tickets for the guests, as well as desktop computers.

In here, everyone is welcome to enjoy the animal fun!


7. Zebra Exhibit

Custom Zebra Exhibit in ACNH Zoo
Image Source by @bitchesnmodels

There are plenty of different animal exhibits that you can create using some odd items available for purchase.

Here’s a fun little zebra exhibit that utilizes zebra springy ride-ons.

Just make sure they’re zebra patterned, otherwise they’re not even zebras.

Grass standees and hay beds provide sources of food for the zebras, so they can thrive in their new island home!


6. Turtle Petting Zoo

Turtle petting zoo area in ACNH
Image Source by just1moretattoo

Who wouldn’t want to pet a snapping turtle?

Well, a lot of people.

Nevertheless, this is yet another way you can create some animal-loving fun for your island.

Firstly, you’ll need a lot of snapping turtles to live in your petting zoo.

Then purchase a cat tower. Because your turtles now magically have the ability to climb.

The pet food bowl and cat bed are also nice items to make it seem like you’ve really built a habitat for your turtles.

But my favorite part here is the custom signage for the petting zoo. It helps the place feel completely interactive!


5. Flamingo Exhibit

Flamingo zoo exhibit idea in ACNH
Image Source by @solstar_crossing

There’s a lot going on in this image, but I want to particularly focus on the flamingos.

To re-create this you’ll need to buy many flamingos to fill the spot, both Mr. and Mrs.

Drop down a nice dirt flooring surrounded by waterfalls to create a natural environment that these birdies call home.

The custom designed puddle on the ground is a nice touch as well.

After all, your flamingos need to stay hydrated.

One last thing I want to point out here, while not specific to the flamingos, is the popcorn machine and bench.

They make nice decorations for the community to enjoy your tropical birds!


4. Seaside Aquarium

Seaside Aquarium Area in ACNH
Image Source by @yumeland_acnh

This aquatic build puts many different creative ideas into action.

The turtles consist of custom designs placed on the ground for the bodies, and naturally we’re using beach shells for the shells.

Pretty cool, I must say.

The custom water flooring and simple panels are also a must. Because it would not be an aquarium without the aqua.

The last custom design you’ll need is the seashell and stone pathways, which are beautifully placed in an alternating pattern here.

And for the finishing touch, you’ll need many fish models. Which you can get by giving three of the same fish to CJ when he visits your island.

Once finished, you can enjoy the sea life of your amazing aquarium!


3. Penguin Exhibit

Custom Penguin Zoo Exhibit - ACNH Idea
Image Source by @animalcrossingislander

I have this idea ranked so high on my list simply because I adore penguins.

It’s honestly a fun and creative idea, though.

The penguins are simply custom clothing designs put on display. While they do look kind of funny, it’s a cute way to embrace the wildlife.

But you’ll need to craft some basic garden rocks, flat garden rocks, and tall garden rocks, all for your penguins to play on.

And lastly you’ll also need some custom snow or ice flooring so that your arctic birdies can enjoy the cool.


2. Wild, Wild Zoo

Custom Zoo with Tigers and Pandas - ACNH Idea
Image Source by @Stormabelle

This design showcases two different animal exhibits that are brought together in a rather unique way.

To make this yourself, you’ll need paper tigers and mama pandas as the inhabitants of the exhibits.

And some country fencing to enclose them inside.

Obviously, the pandas need you to plant some bamboo trees for nourishment. So get on that too!

The part that stands out here is the custom-designed pathways and stalls.

The tiger prints help bring together the two exhibits in a wild and ferocious manner.

With some creative water-scaping and weeding, you have two great zoo exhibits for your local villagers to enjoy.


1. Individual Villager Exhibits

Roald Penguin Zoo Exhibit in ACNH
Image Source by @jennpadillart

To really think outside the box, you can simply make your whole island into a zoo.

Each villager gets their own exhibit with custom items, plants, and landscaping to suit them.

With Aurora here, she has a nice pond for her to swim in, and some chairs and stones to relax on.

The part that makes this truly feel like a zoo is the custom sign with her face on it. This acts sort of an information summary board for each animal.

Another fun idea that I’ve seen is custom animal icons that you can place on the path outside each “exhibit” (basically their homes).

So you can put a penguin on the ground for Aurora, a rhino for Hornsby, and an alligator for Gayle.

Everyone can be a part of this wonderful zoo community!

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