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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium - the best zoo in the world

Updated on November 24, 2015
Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus, of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus, of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. | Source
Lowland gorilla at the Columbus Zoo.
Lowland gorilla at the Columbus Zoo. | Source
Red kangaroo at the Walkabout Exhibit at the Columbus Zoo.
Red kangaroo at the Walkabout Exhibit at the Columbus Zoo. | Source
Baracuda Bay water attraction at Zoombezi Bay.
Baracuda Bay water attraction at Zoombezi Bay. | Source

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!

Manatees at the Columbus Aquarium
Manatees at the Columbus Aquarium


Submit a Comment

  • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

    Suzette Walker 

    4 years ago from Taos, NM

    ologsinquito: This zoo is really tops and we are fortunate to have Jack Hanna. This zoo is really worth the visit and I think you would enjoy it. There is so much to do there and it is in a lovely area in Ohio. Thanks so much for your visit. Much appreciated.

  • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

    Suzette Walker 

    4 years ago from Taos, NM

    vocalcoach: Hi Audrey and nice to see you again. This zoo is wonderful and we are so fortunate to have Jack Hanna. He is tops! I hope someday you get to see the zoo. It is certainly worth the while. Thanks so much for your visit.

  • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

    Suzette Walker 

    4 years ago from Taos, NM

    bdegiulio: This is a great zoo and I think the best in the world, but I am prejudice! LOL! Do visit it sometime you will be glad you did. Thanks so much for your visit.

  • ologsinquito profile image


    4 years ago from USA

    It looks like a great place to visit. I didn't even know Columbus had such a nice zoo.

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 

    4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

    Jack Hanna is a person I hold much respect for.I'd sure love to visit the Columbus Zoo. It must be out-standing with him as the director.

    Thanks so much and voted up and across and sharing. ~ Audrey

  • bdegiulio profile image

    Bill De Giulio 

    4 years ago from Massachusetts

    I have always wanted to visit the Columbus Zoo. Thanks for wetting my appetite to visit. Looks like a wonderful place.

  • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

    Suzette Walker 

    6 years ago from Taos, NM

    Alecia: Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my hub. Yes, the Columbus Zoo is my favorite! I have seen zoos in California and Florida and Columbus is still my favorite, because of Jack Hanna. He really cares for the animals and they have a lovely home there. Hope you get to see it someday.

  • Alecia Murphy profile image

    Alecia Murphy 

    6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

    I would love to visit this zoo, especially since Jack Hanna's involved. He seems like one of the coolest people ever and he has a way with animal which to me speaks volumes about someone's character. And I like going to zoos just for something unique and interesting to do. Great hub!

  • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

    Suzette Walker 

    7 years ago from Taos, NM

    Thanks for reading this! I think it is the best because it has Jack Hanna. He's the best animal catcher and zoo director there is. Glad you enjoyed it. Cincinnati has a zoo also, I believe, but I have not seen it.

  • thelyricwriter profile image

    Richard Ricky Hale 

    7 years ago from West Virginia

    I have went once to Cincinnati, but never to Columbus. This is a good article. Thanks for sharing.

  • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

    Suzette Walker 

    7 years ago from Taos, NM

    Paddyboy60: How great is that! I would love to meet him. I've only seen him from afar at the zoo, but usually he is traveling somewhere in the world speaking or hunting animals.

  • PADDYBOY60 profile image


    7 years ago from Centreville Michigan

    I have had the pleasure of meeting Jack Hanna in Three Rivers Mi. He is a great guy.

  • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

    Suzette Walker 

    7 years ago from Taos, NM

    Yes, it is the best zoo. It even outranks the Cleveland Zoo, and I can't believe they have Jack Hanna. He is just great and he does make sure they take good care of the animals. It is truly a fun time. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Hyphenbird profile image

    Brenda Barnes 

    7 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    I have been to the Columbus Zoo. It is phenomenal and exciting in its approach to creating a good life for the animals. Many years ago I saw the pandas there. They were amazing and I will never forget them. I love thin Hub.


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