Go wild


Ready for a wild time?

Then make a trip to one of Ohio’s six zoos and monkey around with some chimpanzees, take a splash with an otter or watch a real polar bear plunge.

Summertime is the perfect time to take a one-tank trip to one of the wildest spots in the state — for children and seniors alike.

At the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Heart of Africa exhibit is popular. The exhibit offers lions, cheetahs, monkeys, gazelles, zebras, giraffes and a bounty of other animals. A female Masai giraffe calf was born in December 2020, the third giraffe calf to be born at the Columbus Zoo in 2020, marking an important achievement for the conservation of this endangered species.

Pirate Island, a boat ride with a pirate theme, also is popular zoo feature. The exhibit has two factions — good and bad pirates — and is comprised of dozens of realistic, life-size, animatronic swashbucklers. Pirate Island features a boat ride tour of the zoo’s Australia and the Islands region and is designed to send an important message about conservation.

On June 18, 2022, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium will be marking the 50th year of Zoofari, presented by Fifth Third Bank.

For one night of the year at the Columbus Zoo, adults ages 21 years and older can explore the park from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. while enjoying delicious food, signature cocktails and live music—all to benefit the Zoo’s conservation education programs.

This year’s fundraiser will take place throughout most of the Zoo and will feature signature dishes from nearly area restaurants and establishments, adult beverages and soft drinks, and multiple stages featuring bands that have been popular over the years at this event

“It’s wonderful to see how much Zoofari has grown since it first began and how it has become a beloved summer event in our community. From enjoying amazing bites from more than 60 local restaurants and different types of music to fill the night air, guests can enjoy all this while taking in the incredible sights of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium—all while knowing they’re helping to make a difference wildlife. This is a celebration that everyone won’t want to miss!” said Suzanne and Kevin Larson, Zoofari Committee Co-Chairs.

General admission tickets cost $125 per person online or $200 at the door if the event does not sell out before hand. Tickets include food sampling; three drink tickets for beer, wine, or specialty drink; and live entertainment access.

Visit www.columbuszoo.org to purchase tickets.

The zoos available in the Buckeye State and what they have to offer, include:

• Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Located just north of Columbus, The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is home to more than 11,000 animals representing nearly 600 species. In 2009, it was named the No. 1 Zoo in America by USA Travel Guide.

The zoo complex spans 588 acres, more than 200 of which have been developed as animal habitats and public spaces. The zoo habitats are organized into six geographic regions: Asia Quest, Australia and the Islands, Congo Expedition, Heart of Africa, North America and Polar Frontier, and Shores. The newest region, Heart of Africa, is designed as a mixed species savanna spanning 23 acres.

Package your getaway to the Columbus Zoo with an adventure at Zoombezi Bay, a nearly 23-acre water park, which is right next to the zoo. Those who purchase tickets for the water park will get into the zoo for free.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is located at 4850 Powell Road, Powell.

More information can be found at www.columbuszoo.org.

• Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

The Cincinnati Zoo was recently rated the No. 1 attraction locally and one of the top zoos in the nation by Zagat Survey. More than 1 million people traveled to the zoo’s award-winning exhibits, and more than 500 animal and 3,000 plant species annually. There are animals from every continent at the Cincinnati Zoo, along with some of the most beautiful blooming flowers in the more than 20 on-site gardens.

The zoo is located at 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati.

Visit columbuszoo.org for more information.

• Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

One of the most popular year-round Cleveland attractions is the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Check out the new attraction of the African Elephant Crossing, a large area dedicated to giving visitors closer access to the majestic animals.

Founded in 1882, the Cleveland travel hot spot is one of the oldest and largest zoos in the United States. It’s located on 168 rolling, wooded acres just minutes from downtown Cleveland. The Cleveland Zoo is the Ohio home to 3,000 exotic animals representing 600 species from six of the world’s seven continents.

The Zoo is divided into several areas: Australian Adventure; African Savanna; Northern Trek; The Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building; The RainForest; and Waterfowl Lake.

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is located at 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland.

Visit http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Zoo for more information.

• Akron Zoo

The Akron Zoo is an accredited world conservation zoo, a distinction given to only 10 percent of zoos across the country. When you travel to the Akron zoo, you’ll come nose-to-nose with more than 700 animals, including endangered Humboldt penguins, Sumatran tigers, sloth bears, jaguars, snow leopards, lemurs, Komodo dragons and more. The zoo offers several special events during the year such as Snooze at the Zoo, Party for the Planet, Senior Safari, Boo at the Zoo, Snack with Santa and more.

The Akron Zoo is located at 504 Euclid Ave., Akron.

For more information, visit www.akronzoo.org.

• Toledo Zoo and Aquarium

The Toledo Zoo is one of the world’s most complete zoos — it’s one of the region’s top family vacation destinations and has more than 5,300 animals representing more than 760 species. At the zoo, visit the Arctic Encounter, the Africa! exhibit, observe hippos and polar bears from an under-water viewing area, and more. The Toledo Zoo is proud at the forefront of many conservation efforts, working to preserve endangered and threatened species — from butterflies and birds to crocodiles and elephants.

The Toledo Zoo is located at 2 Hippo Way, Toledo.

Visit http://www.toledozoo.org for more information.

• The Wilds

This is not your typical zoo or wildlife habitat. The Wilds, located near Cumberland, Ohio, is one of the largest and most innovative conservation center attractions in the world. Don’t think because The Wilds doesn’t have the zoo name that it’s lacking in animals or space — its scope measures 14-square-miles in southeastern Ohio. Travel aboard a safari transport or open-air safari to view and learn about rare and endangered animals from around the world roaming freely in large, natural habitat, including rhinos, giraffes, zebras and antelope.

See the animals like nowhere else when you strap into The Wilds Zipline Safari Tour. Soar through the sky as you overlook the majestic animals of The Wilds. You’ll zip along a network of cables, through the trees, over the animal watering holes, lakes, and pastures, finally landing among the amazing giraffes.

The Wilds is located at 14000 International Road, Cumberland.

Visit thewilds.columbuszoo.org for more information.

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