In English, if we want to say something about a place where a lot of different kinds of animals are kept for viewing by the public, we just refer to it as "a zoo". Ditto for other quantifiable or specifiable nouns. But in Chinese, you usually have to put a measure word [m.w.] or classifier [class.] between the quantifier or demonstrative and the noun. (In this post, I won't go into the subtle distinction between measure word and classifier.)
yī + class. + dòngwùyuán 动物园 ("zoo")
But what classifier / measure word should we use with dòngwùyuán 动物园 ("zoo")? Here are the google hits for various possibilities, followed by the meaning of the measure word / classifier, which should not be translated when you render a text into English, otherwise you will be producing Chinglish):
yī chǎng dòngwùyuán 一场动物园 553,000 ("broad, flat, open space / place")
yī suǒ dòngwùyuán 一所动物园 231,000 ("place; spot; location")
yī gè dòngwùyuán 一个动物园 158,000 ("piece")
yī jiā dòngwùyuán 一家动物园 115,000 ("home")
yī zuò dòngwùyuán 一座动物园 24,200 ("seat; base; pedestal")
Taking into account that some of these are false hits (e.g., when the measure word is separated from the noun by punctuation), this gives us a rough idea of people's preferences in writing. My impression, however, is that in casual speech people would generally resort to the all purpose yī gè 一个, and that to use one of the others would sound pretentious.
A good dictionary, such as ABC, will specify which m.w. / class. goes with which noun (ABC gives zuò 座 for dòngwùyuán 动物园), and sticklers will try to use the right one. It seems to me, however, that more and more people tend to use the general or default gè 个 / 個 for many nouns that in the past would have merited their own special classifier. When I started learning Mandarin, I prided myself in knowing dozens of classifiers and measure words and which nouns to use them with. Forty or more years ago back in Taiwan, people would praise me for using the correct m.w. / class. But as the decades passed, and especially when I went to the mainland, even my friends started to give me amused looks when I pulled out an obscure m.w. / class. in speech, as though I were trying too hard or showing off. The effect was similar to that elicited by the overuse of chéngyǔ 成语 ("set phrases", aka "idioms"). Forty-five years ago when I peppered my speech with them I was praised, but now if I use too many, I will receive bemused stares as though I were being peculiar or pedantic.
Despite what the google numbers tell us, I'd wager that, if you say yī zuò dòngwùyuán 一座动物园 on the mainland, people will think you're a bit weird, though in Taiwan people might well be impressed by your erudition. Since I haven't used zuò 座 very much in recent years, I wouldn't want to attempt to list all the nouns with which it can be used, though I do remember that I was taught to use it for banks, thus yīzuò yínháng 一座银行 ("a bank"), which garners 43,800 ghits. I wonder if that's what they teach students to say on the mainland.
APPENDIX (for specialists and advanced learners)
Context makes a great difference. If we insert adjectives or adjectival phrases between the classifier and dòngwùyuán 动物园, the search results come out quite differently:
一场新的动物园 no results found
m.w. + hěn dà de 很大的 ("big") + dòngwùyuán 动物园 ("zoo")
一场很大的动物园 no results found
m.w. + shìjiè jí de 世界级的 ("world class") + dòngwùyuán 动物园 ("zoo")
一所世界级的动物园 no results found
一场世界级的动物园 no results found
We also need to take into account the fact that the search results include many strings in which dòngwùyuán 动物园 is modifying another noun (or noun phrase) that happens to use, for example, chǎng 场 as its measure word. Here are some of the strings returned in the Google search results:
yī chǎng dòngwùyuán sàichē bǐsài 一场动物园赛车比赛 ("a zoo race")
yī chǎng dòngwùyuán fēngbào 一场动物园风暴 ("a zoo storm")
yī chǎng dòngwùyuán dàzhàn 一场动物园大战 ("a zoo war")
yī chǎng dòngwùyuán biǎoyǎn 一场动物园表演 ("a zoo show")
In these cases, we need to be thinking about why chǎng 场 was chosen as the measure word for "nightmare", "race", "storm", "war", and "show", not for "zoo".
[Hat tip Rachel Kronick; thanks to Mark Liberman, Gene Buckley, Matthew Trueman, Bob Sanders, Zheng-sheng Zhang, and John Rohsenow]