If we could walk with the animals and talk with the animals, they would tell us to visit the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, home to nearly 10,000 animals from over 620 species. It is adjacent to Zoombezi Bay, which it owns. The zoo is organized into eight areas.
Adventure Cove features California sea lions, Harbor seals, Jack Hanna’s Animal Encounter and Stingray Bay – where families can feed stingrays! There is also a ride area featuring 12 flat rides and two roller coasters: Tidal Twist, which has spinning cars, and Sea Dragon, a wooden roller coaster. If you head over to Asia Quest, you’ll encounter a Himalayan-themed village, Asian elephants, rhinos, large flying fox bats, red pandas and a reticulated python named Jackie. There’s more where that came from – travel over to Australia and the Islands and check out the kangaroos, koalas, lorikeets, kiwis, a Komodo dragon and more; or if you’re looking for a little more adventure, Dinosaur Island, a slow-moving boat ride that encounters animatronic dinosaurs, is worth the ride. Congo Expedition has birds, an African leopard, gorillas, okapi, bonobos, and colobus monkeys; and if the kids need to blow off some steam, make your way to Congo Station – an area with tons of activities for the kids! It also includes a fun playground named Stings, Wings N’ Playthings Park. Entry Village is the entry point to the zoo featuring a Lakeside Pavilion, Surfin’ Safari Stage and Conservation Lake. Needless to say, the adventure here never ends!
Heart of Africa features the visual and musical theming of a Mudiwa village. Home to Mapori Restaurant, the perfect food stop with great food and picturesque views of the 23-acre park, you’ll see mixed-species savanna such as giraffes, Grant’s zebras, Dama gazelles and wildebeests. Heart of Africa also features, cheetahs, African lions and more! A notable feature includes a glass barrier which guests can see through in an airplane. This area also offers camel rides and giraffe feedings!
North America and Polar Frontier has polar bears, cougars, bobcats, otters, Mexican wolves, pronghorns, bald eagles, pony rides, the North American Train, and Polar Playground. It also home to Bob Evans Farms My Barn, which offers pony rides, goat petting, and sheep brushing! Shores & Aquarium features the aquarium and the reptile house, where guests can see Aldabra tortoises, Madagascar tree boas, reptiles, flamingoes, alligators, manatees, Humboldt penguins, fish and more. The Shores 4-D Theater and the Grand Carousel are also in this area.
The zoo’s 22-acre water park, Zoombezi Bay, offers 14 attractions. Cyclone and Soundsurfer are family raft rides. Sea Tubes, Sea Snakes, and Big Boa Falls are tube slides. Otter Banks and Slippery Seals are body slides. Tiny Tides is the water park’s 4,000-foot small children’s play area. Baboon Lagoon is a multi-level play structure for kids with 90 interactive aquatic controls. Wild Tides is the wave pool. Roaring Rapids is the not so lazy river ride. Dolphin Dash is a six- lane mat racing water slide. Python Plunge is Central Ohio’s only water coaster! Adults can purchase alcoholic beverages at Cocktail Creek; the Sandbar, a walk-up and swim-up bar.
Zoo ticket prices cost $16.99 for ages 3 to 9 and 60 and up, and $21.99 for ages 10 to 59. Parking costs $10. Zoombezi ticket prices cost $24.99 for ages 3 to 9 and ages 60 and up, and $30.99 for ages 10 to 59.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is located at 4850 West Powell Road, Powell, Oh. For more information, visit columbuszoo.org.