Guest blogger: Riley Fessler
Having been an animal lover for as long I can remember, it’s rare that I let a year go by without a trip to the zoo. As spring turned to summer this year, however, I realized I had yet to make my typical visit. Fortunately, Southwest Ohio is home to one of the most highly regarded zoos not only in the Midwest, but in the entire country–The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. My friend and I made the trip!
As the day of our zoo trip rolled around, we were greeted by temperatures so hot we almost considered re-scheduling. Fortunately, we quickly realized that the we had nothing to worry about. From its completely shaded parking lot to its numerous air conditioned exhibits and facilities, the Cincinnati Zoo gives its guests plenty of chances to escape the heat, and does all it can to make the visitor experience as comfortable as possible.
While maps were made available at the zoo’s front entrance, my friend and I decided to go without, opting instead to follow the site’s well-organized system of signs. Our first stop was Gorilla World, where we had an absolute blast watching Lowland Gorillas and other fascinating animals play, eat, and interact. It was there that we enjoyed one of the coolest experiences of our day–seeing a baby gorilla play with his dad.
The next stop on our day-long excursion was Wolf Woods, where we saw not only Mexican wolves, but one of my personal favorite animals–otters. Active, playful, and always energetic, the otters ranked as one of the highlights of our day. Once we’d made our way through Wolf Woods we visited the zoo’s nursery where we watched an adorable group of recently born cheetah cubs sleep. We also had a ton of fun at Night Hunters–an exhibit housing awesome, mysterious nocturnal animals–and the Insect House, although my friend was grossed out by a few of its inhabitants.
One of the later highlights of our day was the polar bear exhibit. Especially active at the time of our visit, the massive, furry mammals swam around, lounged in the sun, and played beneath the water. We had a chance to see them up-close thanks to an underwater viewing area at the exhibit, which was absolutely amazing. Finally, we concluded our day with a visit to Elephant Reserve, where we watched in awe as a baby elephant lounged and cooled itself down in a pool of water.
Just a short drive south of Warren County, the Cincinnati Zoo makes for an awesome afternoon, and is a must-stop spot for any animal lover visiting Ohio’s Largest Playground!