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Whether you want to see wildlife in nature or at a zoo, Ohio has plenty of opportunities to get close to animals.
Ohio has some of the nation’s top-ranked zoos. See the lions at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, or get to know the friendly giraffes at the Toledo Zoo. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has tons of wildlife – go here for a chance to see hippos. The Akron Zoo has snow leopards and a train which circles the park – kids love it! The Columbus Zoo is one of the top-ranked in America and is home to polar bears, cheetahs, and grizzly bears – and has a great Christmas lights display.
If it’s a safari experience you are after, Ohio has you covered. The African Safari Wildlife Park lets you drive yourself – or walk yourself – through a landscape populated by giraffes, zebras, camels, bongo, and kudu, plus American wildlife like deer and bison. In Southeast Ohio, check out The Wilds, a wildlife conservancy home to exotic and endangered wildlife from Africa. See rhinos, cheetahs, zebras, and giraffes. The Wagon Trails Animal Park in Vienna offers a smaller-scale safari adventure – open-sided safari trucks take you past zebra, camels, and more.
Opening its gates in 1994, The Wilds is the largest wildlife conservation center for endangered-species in North America. Located near Zanesville, the conservation center is home to 25 non-native and hundreds of native species to the region.
The conservation center is spread over 9,000 acres of reclaimed coalmine in central Ohio. The center is a private, non-profit organization and is open to the public between the months of May and October.
Home to over 90 different species, the Akron Zoo is Akron in northeast Ohio. Originally opened in 1953 – the park is over 50 acres, boasting over one million visitors annually. The zoo also has frequent day and night events.
The zoo has six themed areas that are engineered to mirror specific regions around the Earth – some of which include endangered species both native and non-native to the region. Perhaps the most impressive of the attractions is the 4.2-acre Grizzly Ridge opened in 2013.
Opened in 1875, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens is a staple of the Cincinnati metropolitan area and and ideal family getaway for those traveling through southern Ohio.
When visiting Cincinnati, be sure to catch one of the many animal encounters happening throughout the day, including a polar bear encounter, manatee encounter and cougar encounter.
Check the calendar for Cincinnati Zoo events like Penguin Days and Zoo Babies, or holiday celebrations like Happy Zoo Year and the PNC Festival of Lights.
An adventure on 580 acres, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is home to more than 9,000 animals spread across nearly 800 species. Set just north of Columbus in central Ohio, the Columbus Zoo features exhibits like African Savanna, an 18-hole Safari Golf Course, the Zoombezi Bay waterpark, and Discovery Reef.
Open since 1905, the Columbus Zoo also features Wild Encounter tours, Wildlights tours, and even Jack Hanna's Jungle – home to the famed animal guests from well-known talk shows.