The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, Ohio

The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, Ohio

My favorite zoo in the entire world is the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium in Powell, Ohio. The Columbus Zoo is home to more than 7,000 animals representing over 800 species.

My daughter had seen Jack Hanna on TV countless times and absolutely loved him, so she was thrilled to go to “Jack Hanna’s Zoo.” Jack Hanna served as director of the Columbus Zoo from 1978 until 1993. As its Director Emeritus, he continues to work for the zoo in its marketing campaigns. During his tenure, Hanna put an extensive amount of effort into turning the Columbus Zoo into a model facility, including personally picking up trash after hours. Cage enclosures were also removed during his time and replaced with more natural looking habitats, which is why many of my photos seem to have no barrier between my camera lens and the animals.

The Columbus Zoo is divided into regions, each housing animals from a particular region of the world. One of the animals featured in the African forest region, or Congo Expedition, is the Western Lowland Gorilla. The world’s first captive-born gorilla, Colo, was born at the Columbus Zoo in 1956. The zoo currently houses 15 gorillas, 6 of which are related to Colo. Here are two of the gorillas we saw.

Columbus Zoo Gorillas

The Australia region of the zoo included a nocturnal animal exhibit, which was outstanding because in most zoos, the nocturnal animals are asleep during zoo operating hours. Here, though, the building housing the exhibit is in almost complete darkness inside. The animals think it’s nighttime, so you get to see them moving around and doing things.

Also in Australia was a koala. It was my first time seeing one, so I thought it would be really exciting. Then I read the sign outside the exhibit that said koalas sleep up to 22 hours per day.

Columbus Zoo Koala
Photo or video?  There’s virtually no difference.

Um, yeah. Not so exciting after all.

Moving on…

Also in the Australia region was a lorikeet enclosure. We were able to feed these friendly birds a little cup of nectar.

Columbus Zoo Lorikeet

In the Islands of Southeast Asia region of the zoo, there was a komodo dragon. Now, that really is a kind of big deal for me, because I have been fascinated by these animals ever since I saw a documentary on them called “Nature:  The Dragon Chronicles.” To see one in person (even thought it was moving about as much as the koala) was amazing!

Columbus Zoo Komodo Dragon.jpg

In that same region, we saw orangutans, which were a lot of fun to observe as they played.

Columbus Zoo Orangutan

Other animals at the zoo include manatee, grizzly bear, wolverine, polar bear, flying fox, red panda, kiwi, wombat, warthog, and some others I had never even heard of. The best part about this zoo is its dedication to conservation efforts, both internally and all over the world. I cannot recommend this zoo highly enough!

The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium is located at 4850 Powell Road, Powell Ohio.  Telephone 614-645-3400.  Hours vary by month; call or check website for details.

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