What I did on my summer vacation: The Columbus Zoo

Camel Warning

You can’t say they didn’t warn you…

This summer, my baby brother made the trek home from Colorado for a visit. We had a couple of days free of family obligations and we were looking for something to do. My brother and I have wildly different ideas of fun. He’s a computer scientist and an avid runner. I’m a writer and I avidly avoid running. But, we do share a love for learning new things and walking in nature, so there was hope we could find something.

On a whim we decided to go to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, made famous by the still-sexy-at-67, Director Emeritus Jack Hanna. (I kept my eyes peeled for him while I was there, but no luck.)

I haven’t been to the Columbus Zoo since I was very young. I don’t really have much memory of it, but I’m certain it was not nearly as cool it is today. It is a sprawling property, containing an aquarium and representing five different areas of the globe: Australia, Asia, the African forest, the newly opened Heart of Africa and North America. There were so many things that left me mesmerized!

I saw flying things:PIcture collage of rainbow lorikeet, black swan, flying fox bat, flamingos

Shown (clockwise, starting top left): Rainbow lorikeet, black swan, flamingos, flying fox bat

Frightening things:

Photo collage of Burmese python and alligator

Shown (left to right): Burmese python, alligator

Four-legged things:

Photo collage of Greater Kudu, giraffe, dromedary camel and tiger

Shown: Left, Greater Kudu; Right (top to bottom), giraffe, dromedary camel, tiger

Furry cousins:

Photo collage of orangutan and siamang

Shown (left to right): Orangutan, siamang

And fun rides!

Mangels-Illions Carousel

Mangels-Illions carousel – A 1914 carousel restored by the zoo and providing rides to visitors

Not only did I see a lot of cute (and not so cute) animals, I learned a lot. The Zoo works with several conservation programs as part of its mission. While exploring the regions represented, there were displays in the exhibits discussing how the animals in these areas are threatened and how we can help. We managed to get in a good walk, too. We got in over 8,000 steps while walking the property!

If you have more time and happen to visit on one of Ohio’s hot and humid summer days, the Zoo has a water park, Zoombezi Bay. Judging by the sounds I heard while walking past on my way to the car, it’s a lot of fun! Maybe we’ll check it out next time.

Have you been to the Columbus Zoo? What was your experience like?