11 Planet Zoo tips we swear by - how to make the best zoo ever

Planet Zoo tips
(Image credit: Frontier Developments)

Immersing yourself in the world of Planet Zoo can be a brilliant way to spend your spare time, but some Planet Zoo tips will help get your head around it all quicker. Particularly when you're building a zoo from scratch. But don't fear, that's why we're here, to make all the mistakes first, and then report back to you with some handy Planet Zoo tips that should help make things a little easier. 

1. Make sure to work through the Career mode first

planet zoo career mode

(Image credit: Frontier)

A lot – although not all – of the biggest questions I had about building a zoo are answered by playing through the Planet Zoo Career Mode. There are definite gaps in its tutorials, but it will run through the important things like how to make your animals happy, create basic habitats, and keep your critters healthy is all covered in there. It's just when it gets more complicated you might want a Planet Zoo tip or two. 

2. Start with the easier, smaller animals

planet zoo easy animals

(Image credit: Frontier Developments)

Although you might think it's best to start with the big-ticket animals when starting your zoo, they are usually the highest maintenance residents with high enrichment and social requirements that you won't be able to meet straight away. Instead, start small and simple, with animals like ostriches, warthogs, and tortoises, which are all easy to maintain and will earn you Conservation Credits, and money to build more things in your zoo to bring in even more guests. 

3. Buy animals for cash to begin with

planet zoo conservation

(Image credit: Frontier)

Conservation Credits are a little bit like gold dust in Planet Zoo, so it's easier to focus on the animals you can buy for cash money to begin with. That way, you can get them in cheaply, and they can start earning for you without you having to sacrifice the Credits you'll need for the biggest purchases later. Don't get greedy with the Grizzlies okay?

4. You can't trade animals you bought with money for Conservation Coins

planet zoo wild animals

(Image credit: F)

Although you can buy animals for money, it means that they're basically useless when you release them to the wild, in terms of earning you precious Planet Zoo Conservation Credits. Instead, turn your acquired critters into your breeding pair, and set their offspring lose to the wild for Credits instead. Yes, this might make your zoo sound like a breeding business, but it's the best way of getting everything you want.  

5. Don't forget to place donation boxes

planet zoo donation boxes

(Image credit: Frontier)

Money, money, money. How can your guests show how much they appreciate your zoo unless you give them buckets to chuck their spare change into? Make sure you place enough Planet Zoo donation boxes for your guests to appreciate you, and boost your zoo's revenue funds. 

6. Make sure to hire enough keepers and mechanics

planet zoo keepers and mechanics

(Image credit: Frontier)

Although Planet Zoo caretakers and vets are obviously important, it's the keepers and mechanics that will keep your critters safe, fed, clean, and happy. Planet Zoo mechanics will maintain your habitats and make sure there aren't any escape risks, and Planet Zoo keepers will do everything animal related – namely clean up their poop, fill water and food troughs, and bring them new friends from the trading centre. 

The game will tell you that you need to build all the staff facilities immediately when starting a new park, but actually you can get away with just the following:

  • Trade Centre 
  • Staff Room
  • Quarantine
  • Keeper Hut

You can then have enough to get your zoo up and running, trading in the smaller animals, which will earn you enough money through guests to fund the other staff facilities a little later. It's a good way to save money in the short term.

7. A merchandise shop is a great way to please your guests

planet zoo merchandise shop

(Image credit: Frontier)

Toys, balloons, a novelty eraser? Everyone wants some merch, so why not give the people what they want by placing a Planet Zoo merchandise shop as your first port of call? They always say exit through the gift shop, after all. It'll bring in enough dosh to make sure you can give them the things that might also keep them alive. Namely, toilets, food and water. But first, the merch!

8. Watch how many male animals you have

planet zoo male animals

(Image credit: Frontier Developments)

If you have happy critters, they're going to start making some of their own to add to your zoo. That's obviously a great thing because a) baby animals are the cutest b) they can be raised and released into the wild for Conservation Coins and zoo reputation and c) pull in more guests. But, beware. If you have more than one male adult animal per enclosure they'll start fighting for alpha status, which means injuries, vet bills, and unhappy guests. 

9. Don't be afraid to use contraception

planet zoo contraception

(Image credit: Frontier)

If you're struggling to keep a Planet Zoo population at a manageable state, then don't be afraid to add some contraceptives to your animals' dinner. You can just slide across the toggle in the animal tab to add or remove contraceptives, at least until you've got your monkey problem under control. 

Take advantage of the Steam Workshop blueprints

planet zoo steam qorkshop

(Image credit: Frontier)

If you don't want to be that creative yourself when it comes to building a zoo from scratch, you can root through the Planet Zoo Steam Workshop blueprints to discover what the community has already created. There's a raft of beautiful habitat, exhibit and other designs that already exist and can just be dropped straight into your zoo. 

Sam Loveridge
Global Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+

Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August 2017. Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for a decade, and for GamesRadar, she's in charge of the site's overall direction, managing the team, and making sure it's the best it can be. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. She plays across all platforms, and specializes in titles like Pokemon, Assassin's Creed, The Sims, and more. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles! In her spare time, Sam likes to live like Stardew Valley by cooking and baking, growing vegetables, and enjoying life in the countryside.