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 cheetahs, elephants and manatees. 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, observe 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 gentle creatures. Africa Exhibit offers open-air views of a sprawling savanna, African painted dogs, African lions, giraffes and meerkats. Africa Exhibit's newest addition is Hippo Cove, where visitors are treated to underwater views of two Nile hippos, Bibi and Henry. Train rides, a carousel and a 4-D theater are available year-round, and in summer, animal shows where birds fly and cheetahs run at top speeds 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.