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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium - the best zoo in the world
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
I have written about the beaches of Naples, Florida, but every once in a while I leave the beach, and even Florida, and visit friends and family in Ohio, where I am from originally. When I'm in Ohio I love to visit the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, in, none other than, a nearby suburb of Columbus, OH. (Powell, OH) I love to visit there and have been many times and it is never boring. This is the zoo where Jack Hanna, is the now director emeritus (since l992) and was director of the zoo starting in 1978. I'm sure you have seen Hanna on TV showing his animals on such shows as The Late Show with David Letterman and Larry King Live. Well, his zoo is exquisite, probably because Hanna travels all over the world looking for just the right animals for his zoo. They are literally hand picked.
The Columbus Zoo, in Powell, OH, a little north of Columbus, OH off Interstate 270W, is easily accessible, with lots of parking and no waiting lines to get in. Many of the walkways are tree lined so they are shady and cool on hot, humid Ohio summer days. This zoo is mostly without bars and the animals are in close to their original habitat. Stone walls and large spaces keep the larger, more dangerous animals like lions, and tigers, and bears away from the customers and the curious. The giraffs are out on a large savanna-like area and roam pretty freely. This is the part I like best about the zoo; the fact that animals are freely roaming and I can view them just far enough away that I don't get hurt, but at the same time, I can take great photographs of the animals. I can be entertained in the indoor theaters with information about the zoo and the animals. The zoo is large enough that I don't get bored but small enough that I can view it in one day. I usually can get through the zoo in one six hour stay.
Also at the zoo is the aquarium that is also pretty much life size. My favorite part of the aquarium is the largest room that houses the manatees. They are behind glass in the water and I can watch them for hours and not get tired. No matter how large and lumpy they are, at the same time they are graceful as they swim back and forth. The other parts of the aquarium house the colorful tropical fish from all over the world - Australia (The Great Barrier Reef), Africa (The Indian Ocean) and the South Sea Islands in the Pacific Ocean - are just some of the areas the fish come from. Many of the exhibits in both the aquarium and the zoo are interactive which children love. The zoo guides are a wealth of knowledge and information about all the animals housed in the zoo, and they take very good care of the animals.
And, when I get tired, hungry, need a rest or a potty break, there are plenty of concession stands and restrooms along the way. There are several gift shops and trinket shops and I can visit so I can take home souvenirs.
What is nice about the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is it is not just a one place stop to see. Families, or anyone for that matter, can make a long weekend at the park, because along with the zoo, is a giant waterpark, Zoombezi Bay. Here, anyone can cool off and enjoy the the waterslides, rides, arcades, and giant wave pool. I love just spending a day at the waterpark. It has cabanas, chaise lounges, tubes, boogie boards, etc. for in the water. This is a great place to spend a hot Ohio day. There is a Turtle Beach for the kiddies so they don't have to navigate the larger waterslides.
And there is the Safari Golf Course. I don't play golf and have never tried the Safari golf course, but it is an 18 hole golf course that my nephews and brother-in-law have played, and they say it is a pretty good golf course. That's quite a complement coming from Jack Nicklas country. (Muirfield Village is close by)
So, if you live in Ohio and have never been to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Zoombezi Bay, or Safari Golf Course, I highly recommmend that you don't miss it. And, if you are vacationing to Ohio, stop by our state capital and the zoo. There have been Jack Hanna sightings at the zoo and he is there hosting events when he isn't in the wild hunting animals. You just might get to meet Jack Hanna, who happens to be a very personable guy.
Note: New to Zoombezi Bay this year, 2014, is the Baboon Lagoon. Splash in the waters for a great time!