Visiting the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is one of my favorite things to do with the kids. Jack Hanna and his staff have done a tremendous job keeping the zoo updated, introducing new animals such as the recent addition of polar bears, and keeping it affordable for families to visit as often as they’d like throughout the year. The kids and I just went to see the new polar bear exhibit, and it is definitely worth a trip.
The Columbus Zoo has a plethora of animals from all over the world. Each exhibit is representational of the culture where the animals came from, and make the experience that much more fun and educational. For instance, Polar Frontier is the new North American animal exhibit and was built to represent an abandoned mining town. Cold climate animals are on display there, such as: the two new polar bears “Aurora” and “Anana,” brown bears, and the arctic fox. There is also a new play area for the kids to romp around – keep that in mind when you are ready for lunch and the kids need a “play break.” Asia Quest is exciting because you feel as if you are walking through a Chinese garden, and that is where you’ll find the big snakes, the cats, and the elephants. Then go to America where the kids can pet and brush the goats, and wash their hands thoroughly afterward.
If you live in town, I highly suggest buying a yearly membership. A membership will pay for itself in less than three visits and parking is included. During the spring and summer months my kids and I like to go in the morning and stay through lunch, or go in the late afternoon an hour or two before closing. The fall is fun because the crowds lighten up substantially, and the kids can get dressed up for Boo at the Zoo. Don’t rule out a visit during the winter, either. Wild Lights is beautiful and an amazing way to experience the Zoo.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
4850 West Powell Road
Powell, Ohio 43065
For those of you coming into Central Ohio for a weekend in the summer, add Zoombezi Bay or Jungle Jack’s Landing to your trip. Zoombezi Bay is an outside waterpark that took the place of Wyandot Lake, and Jungle Jack’s Landing offers a few amusement park-type rides.
Planning your trip:
• Bring your own stroller and save yourself a rental fee. You absolutely need a stroller even if the kids say they will walk…because they won’t half way through your visit. Trust me.
• Bring plenty of water and snacks. I also suggest bringing your own lunch.
• Slather on the sunscreen. Wear sunglasses and sunhats.
• Have a few dollars on hand for the carousel, the boat ride, or a souvenir…or Dippin’ Dots (yes, I admit it! They are good!)
• I always bring extra cloth napkins or something to put my lunch on. My friend brings reusable plastic plates for her kids (great for any picnic outing, really).
**Homepage thumbnail photo of polar bear is also courtesy of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Thanks to the fine folks over there!**