AAA Editor Notes
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is off I-270 Sawmill Rd. exit, following signs to jct. Riverside Dr. and Powell Rd. The zoo, which opened in 1927, has seven regions totaling nearly 140 acres of gardens and natural habitats. Stroll on paths, many though wooded areas, to travel among the zoo's regions: Congo Expedition, Heart of Africa, Asia Quest, Australia and the Islands, North America, Shores and Jungle Jack's Landing. More than 10,000 animals representing more than 600 species call the zoo home.
Safari through the forests of Africa and see bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees), colobus monkeys, gorillas (including Colo, the first gorilla born in human care), a leopard, mandrills, okapi and red river hogs. The new 43-acre Heart of Africa exhibit offers a variety of animals, including cheetahs, lions, gazelles and wildebeests; visitors also have the opportunity to ride a camel and feed giraffes. In Asia Quest, exotic animals—Asian elephants, giant fruit bats, red pandas, pheasants and Amur tigers—roam the exhibit.
In the Australia and the Islands region, check out the Kangaroo Walk-about, where you can get surprisingly close to these Aussies. Only a roped path separates onlookers from the kangaroos, who hop around on a grassy lawn and recline under trees. A bird sanctuary, koalas, komodo dragons, nocturnal animals, orangutans and otters complete this group.
In the section devoted to North American creatures, polar bears swim and play in a 167,000-gallon pool or recline on rocks above water, soaking in the sun at Polar Frontier. North America also is home to brown bears, black bears, bison, eagles, Arctic foxes, Mexican wolves, moose, otters, trumpeter swans, cougars and wolverines as well as a songbird aviary.
Manatees occupy a 250,000-gallon home in the Shores region, which also houses alligators, Humboldt penguins, Discovery Reef aquarium, a touch pool and a reptile house.
Rides include a 1914 carousel, train and pony rides and a boat ride through the Islands of Southeast Asia; there also are two playgrounds and a marine-themed play space. Jungle Jack's Landing is home to 13 amusement park rides, including a 1,250-foot log flume with two drops, a roller coaster and a whirligig. You also can touch docile cownose and Southern stingrays in the 18,000-gallon saltwater pool at Stingray Bay.
Food is available.