AAA Editor Notes
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is reached via I-75 exit 6, following signs to 3400 Vine St. In a garden setting, the zoo houses some of the world's rarest animals, including Sumatran rhinoceroses, white Bengal tigers and lowland gorillas. Nearly two dozen areas include Manatee Springs, where the residents include two manatees, alligators and crocodiles; the Jungle Trail's orangutans; Elephant Reserve; Giraffe Ridge and Lords of the Arctic, featuring an underwater view of two polar bears. In Night Hunters, feel like prey while observing the behaviors of clouded leopards, vampire bats and a Burmese python. Come face-to-face with the zoo's big cats at Cat Canyon, home to tigers, snow leopards and cougars. At Spaulding Children's Zoo kids can have close encounters with some gentle creatures. Africa Exhibit offers open-air views of a sprawling savanna, African painted dogs, African lions, giraffes and the newest meerkat exhibit. Hippos will return in summer 2016. Train rides, a carousel and a 4-D theater are available year-round, and in summer animal shows are offered.
More than 3,000 varieties of plants grace the 75-acre grounds. Themed gardens include a butterfly garden, an African violet garden, a rain garden and an endangered plant species garden. Seasons determine the types of items you'll see; for instance, the more than 100,000 spring tulips are a highlight and in winter fruits and berries set the holiday tone. A botanical center offers interactive children's displays.
Brochures for themed self-guiding tours can be picked up at the Harold C. Schott Education Center.
Time: Allow 3 hours minimum.