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Planet Zoo: The Ultimate Zoo Simulator

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Build the zoo of your dreams with Planet Zoo

Played Planet Coaster and can’t wait to play Planet Zoo? Was Zoo Tycoon on Xbox One the last good zoo game you played and can’t wait to learn about this zoo simulation game? You are in luck, with this overview you will learn all about the game.

Planet Zoo is a zoo management simulation game made by Frontier Developments. This zoo simulator game was released in 2019.


The layout of Planet Zoo is like Planet Coaster. There is a menu on the bottom and one on the left. The setting button is in the upper right.

The menu on the left lets the player to view objectives, alerts, online players, replay dialogue, help and the Zoopedia.

The bottom menu is where all the stuff is. Located here are the zoo, animal and exhibit trading, habitat, barriers, facilities, nature, construction, paths and terrain tabs. Each tab has a plethora of features.

Animals are an important part of Planet Zoo

2 crocodiles swimming in their habitat at Panda Park.

Zoos cannot be a zoo without the animals. People don’t want to spend money to see empty exhibits or at least I don’t.

Different animals have different needs. Their overview tab contains information on their needs. The animals’ welfare depends on four factors:

  • Nutrition
  • Social
  • Habitat
  • Enrichment


Nutrition is very easy. You can set the food quality by clicking on the habitat the animals are in and click on the animal tab when the menu appears on the right. Done and done. 


Social needs are very different among animals. Some animals, like monkeys, require having many adults in their habitat and others do not. You need to keep this in mind when adopting animals and when animal children are about to mature into adults.


Habitat needs are more in-depth. You have to consider temperature, terrain, and foliage. Temperatures are controlled by heaters, coolers and sprinklers in habitats and exhibits are controlled by setting the exhibits’ temperature. There is a heat map you can use to help you see temperature ranges.

Also, there are barriers to think about. If the animals can climb, you need to make sure the barriers are not climbable. You also need to make sure the barriers are tall enough so the animals don’t jump over unless of course, your zoo’s goal is to become a thrilling survivor ultimate experience for your guests. Make sure you put that in the fine print somewhere so you don’t get sued.

2 exhibits are shown here.


Terrain needs include the amount of land, climbable areas, water, and types of land. These are adjustable with paint, water, and landscaping tools.


Foliage needs are plant coverage and the correct plants in the habitat. If you click on an animal inside the habitat, you will see the biome(s) and the continent it lives in. Under the nature tab, you can use this information to filter the plants you are looking for.

Getting Animals in Planet Zoo

The animal trading menu in Planet Zoo
The animal trading menu

Animals are purchasable either from the animal trading or exhibit trading. They can be adopted by using cash or by conservation credits. If you adopt them with cash, however, you cannot release them into the wild.


Now for your zoo to be profitable, you need to attract guests. Guests will spend money at shops and make donations at viewing areas for habitats and exhibits. 

Food stalls, which satisfies some of the guests' needs in Planet Zoo
Anyone recognize these stalls from Planet Coaster??

Guests have needs like the animals also. They can get hungry and thirsty. After fulfilling those needs, the guests will need the bathroom. Trust me. They will also need places to rest after walking great distances. They want great views of the animals, otherwise the zoo trip wasn’t worth it for them. However, they do not want to see the zoo facilities like power, keeper huts or anything of the like because it makes them unhappy.  

Unhappy guests mean they will leave the park sooner, spend less money, and the zoo attracts fewer guests. So give them what they want! Place shops, bathrooms, benches, food stalls, decor, build a mall around exhibits if you want, just make them happy!

Facilities in Planet Zoo

Facilities are needed for an effective zoo. You will need keeper huts in order for the zoo keepers to feed the animals. When you adopt an animal, quarantine is needed to check for disease. If disease is found in the animal then, vet surgery is needed to perform operations on animals. I think you get the picture.

Facilities connected by staff paths to stay out of sight of guests. A Planet Zoo mechanic
Facilities connected by staff paths to stay out of sight of guests.

In order for the facilities to work, they need power. You will have to make sure that there is enough power for all the buildings in the radius of the generator or the solar panel. You can see its radius by clicking the heat map button. Just make sure to keep this out of sight of the guests by using the staff paths to your advantage.

Facilities also need staff to run it. Staff do not like having to run across the zoo for things they need either. Because of this, you will most likely have to have facilities scattered across the zoo.

Game Modes in Planet Zoo

Part of the main menu in Planet Zoo
Part of the main menu that shows the 4 modes in Planet Zoo.

This zoo management game has several modes and a community challenge. There is a franchise mode that I have not seen before. The game modes are:

  • Sandbox
  • Challenge
  • Career
  • Franchise


Sandbox is a pretty basic offline game mode. You have unlimited money and unlimited conservation credits and can build to your heart’s content. No need to worry about objectives and goals because there are none! Whoohoo freedom! So if you want your zoo to be a survival park for your guests as mentioned earlier, this probably is the way to go. 


Challenge is like sandbox mode, however, there are limits on your money and conservation credits and you must keep your guests, animals, and staff happy to make sure the zoo runs efficiently and profitably. 


Career mode, which is also offline, is where you will most likely start since the first part of the scenarios are more like tutorials. The tutorials bored me, not gonna lie. In the tutorials, they will deny you access to features, even if they are needed in the tutorial until you listen to the lady and do EXACTLY WHAT SHE SAYS.

Well, since my laptop is not a huge gaming powerhouse, I had to wait about 5 minutes after completing a task, just to hear her tell me what to do next, even though I already know what to do next. Thankfully not all of the scenarios in career mode are tutorials.

Objectives shown in Planet Zoo
This is the objectives tab in career mode

There are objectives in career mode which are designed to make the scenarios challenging and they get harder with each scenario. There are bronze, silver and gold objectives with the gold being the hardest. After you complete all the objectives in the scenario, there really isn’t much to do except play with the zoo as you see fit or move on with the next scenario. 


Franchise is a lot like challenge mode but it is played online. Therefore, the longer you play the franchise mode, the more expensive the animals get to the point that they are barely affordable, if at all. This is encouraging you to trade for animals with other players. 

If you are like me and like to play solo with no interactions with other players, this mode will be extremely challenging. 

Planet Zoo in a Nutshell

Planet Zoo is a zoo simulator game with 4 modes:

  • Sandbox
  • Challenge
  • Career
  • Franchise

While most modes are offline, the franchise mode is online. Regardless of which mode you choose except for sandbox mode, you will have to focus on guests, staff and animal happiness to have a successful zoo. Make sure you check on the requirements for all your animals to keep them contained in their habitats.

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Author's avatar

Amber Borden

Amber is an avid gamer. The first game she ever played was Super Mario Bros on the NES. She has seen many genres of videos games due to her 30 years of gaming. However, Amber typically sticks to RPGs, Sandbox and Simulation.
Since she loves gaming, her first job was at a Gamestop. Also, she has written guides for Gamefaqs. Amber was a full time worker in the retail world, but now she is working on this site from home. No matter what, however, she still plays her video games.