See the Animals at The Wilds Safari Park in Ohio: Camels, Giraffes, and More
The Wilds is one of the largest and most innovative wildlife conservation centers in the world. It has nearly 10,000 acres in Cumberland, which is in southeast Ohio. It is about two hours east of Columbus. It houses rare and endangered species from around the world living in natural, open-range habitat, as well as hundreds of indigenous species. They do a lot of things behind the scenes, such as conservation medicine, conservation science training, animal management, and restoration ecology, and related research.
In addition to innovative, in-depth science and education programs, the Wilds offers guided tours and other experiences. It is a great place to go for a day. You can go on an animal safari and / or go on a zip line.
Children age 4-12: $15.00
Children age 3 and under: Free
Wilds Member: Free
Member of the Military: Free (must show current ID)
Since we had come as a large group, we found that it was cheaper to purchase a membership than to pay individually. The staff graciously found the best option for us.
The Wilds is open daily from May through September from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The last tour departs at 4 p.m. In October it is open on the weekends. The Wilds Zipline safari is open daily in October.
Since it is in a remote region, the website recommends that you should call ahead for directions. Some of the online maps do not provide accurate directions, and construction will cause some detours. We followed a map and did not have any difficulty finding the place. There are markers along the way that show you the direction, but they are on the ground as posts, and not at the level of signs you usually see on the road.
There are several options. You can take two different kinds of buses.The safari transport pass includes a tour in an enclosed bus. It is air conditioned and has large windows. A knowledgeable tour guide helps you find the animals, and stops along the way so you can get photographs. There are also two stops along the way, at the Lake Trail and the Mid-Sized Carnivore Conservation Center, for you to relax, walk around, use the facilities or get a snack. It takes about an hour and a half for the tour, plus half an hour at each stop. The buses come every ten to twenty minutes, so you can choose to stay longer, or skip a stop.
The Open Air Safari is more expensive, $30 per person, but lets you get closer to the animals. This is the option we chose. In addition, they have a shorter tour for children, called the Wild Animal Encounter, which focuses on conservation, and an in-depth Wildside Tour that lets you interact with Animal Management specialists.
You can also go by horseback or by zip line. You can also go fishing, birding, biking and boating there. They have a Lodge where you can have parties and spend the night. They have summer camps.
They also have The Wilds Gift Market and Overlook Cafe, and The Wilds Butterfly Habitat to keep you occupied while you are waiting for your bus.
Safari at The Wilds
We opted to take the Open Air Safari and managed to see many animals up close. The canopy kept us cool, and we were able to see and photograph many different animals.
The camels came straight up to the bus and we were able to get very close to them as you can see in the photographs. It was an incredible photo taking experience, and we learned quite a lot about animals and conservation.
Managed Species at The Wilds
They care for many different animals at The Wilds. Here are just some animals that are there:
Przewalski's wild horse
Pere David's deer
Rothchild's (Baringo) giraffe
Red-crowned (Manchurian) crane
African Wild Dog
Greater one-horned rhinoceros
Indo-chinese sika deer
Southern white rhinoceros
American Burying Beetle
Travel to The Wilds
Even though the safari price at The Wilds is not inexpensive, traveling to places close to home can save a great deal of money. Going on a safari at The Wilds provides us with a way to learn about animals, bond with our friends and family, and helps us practice our photography skills.