Saturday, August 1, 2015

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 7/24/2015

Visiting Columbus, OH, always means spending a day at the fabulous Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Located north of Columbus in Powell, OH, near the homes of my brother and his wife and our nieces and their families, they all have annual memberships to the Zoo and are frequent visitors. This was a real bonus for us because we got in for free and had great tour guides on the grounds of this large park.

The Zoo and Aquarium has over 10,000 animals representing approximately 600 species. There are about 2.3M visitors annually. Jack Hanna was the director of the zoo from 1978-1993 and has brought worldwide recognition to the zoo including national TV recognition. He continues to be the public face of the zoo. The world's first captive-born gorilla, Colo, was born here in 1956 and the zoo has been a leader in breeding gorillas since (a total of 31 to date).

Although it was a hot day, six adults (my brother, Jim, niece Katie (with two sons McGuire 7 and Keegan 5), niece Karen and her husband, Rick, with Elizabeth, 4 spent about 5 hours at the zoo. We had decided not to spend time at Zoombezi Bay (outdoor waterpark with 17 slides/attractions) and Jungle Jack's Landing (dry rides park with 16 rides) and devoted our time to seeing the animal exhibits. 

The one ride that the kids did go on was the 1914 Mangel-Illions Carousel that has 52 original horses, chariots and band organ. It is absolutely beautiful and costs $1/ride.

Here are just a few of the many, many animals we saw. 

Aldabra Tortoises
Abdim's Stork
West African
Crowned Crane




Pirate Island Boat Ride
Komodo Dragon
Black Swans
River Otters

McGuire's hand, then mine, then John's in comparison
to an orangutan's.

Rainbow Lorikeet Aviary

John and Keegan feeding the Lorikeets.

Kangaroo Walkabout


Keegan hitching a ride and Elizabeth checking out the koalas.

Reticulated Python...this is one of the offspring of the famous Fluffy, a 300-pound python that died a couple of years ago. 

Golden Mantled Flying Fox. These are fruit-eating bats that are active at dusk and in the evening. Can see the large claw on the one on the right? They are the largest bats I have ever!

Brother, Jim, checking in with Nancy. Jim has had the opportunity to work with the zoo staff on engineering solutions involving the pipe products manufactured by the company he worked for prior to retirement, Advanced Drainage Systems. He, and his family, have had many interesting exotic animal encounters here!

Black Bear
Tiger and Lion

Heart of Africa Exhibit

Cheetah Demonstration showing how this incredible large cat can reach 70 mph in 3 seconds (although it cannot sustain that speed). Keegan had the best seat in the house!

We took a tram back to the entrance from the Africa area, which was very convenient considering the heat. There are water misters throughout the park that were a refreshing break from the hot weather. We also ate lunch in the food court while we were here. There are many food choices, souvenir shops, and restrooms throughout the park. 

We only saw a fraction of all there is to see this fabulous zoo. There were "Keeper Talks" scheduled every half hour in various parts of the zoo from 10 am to 4 pm. Be sure to check out the Zoo's website as there is a wealth of information to be found there about the animals, amusement rides, waterpark, costs, hours of operation, etc. We could have spent days here and not seen everything. Put this at the top of your list if you are in the Columbus, OH, area. Thanks to our family for making us their guests for the day!

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