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Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is located in Cleveland, Ohio and opened in 1882.

It is operated by Cleveland Metroparks who also run golf courses and public park’s for the city.



The open air tram cars transport you between the African Elephant Crossing and the Primate, Cats and Aquatics Building. During the winter it is even heated.

Boomerang Line

The boomerang line is a train ride passing through the wallaby walkabout where you can meet these cute critters.

Yagga Tree

This 55ft (16.7m) tall yagga tree is an Aussie themed playground. Here you can go down the slide and traverse the suspension bridge. There are also exhibits of small animal’s.

4-D Theater

The 4-D theatre show’s 3D movies with additional special effects to make it feel like you are part of the movie.

Circle of Wildlife Carousel

Sixty four carved animals are awaiting their riders. Step up and enjoy a ride on a lynx, penguinfossa, lemur or many other species.

Check the zoo website for prices, opening times and terms and conditions.

cleveland metroparks zoo




United States of America

Year Opened


Land Size

74ha (183acres)

Number of Animals


Number of Species



The story of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo begins in 1882 when Jeptha H. Wade donated 30ha (73 acres) of land and 14 American deer to the City of Cleveland. In 1907 though the Cleveland City Council drew up plans for the Cleveland Museum of Art to occupy that site and the zoo was then moved to its current location.

Originally the zoo housed species from the local area. But during the 30 years after the move they built a monkey island, sea lion pools and a bear exhibit.

In 1940 control of the zoo was handed to the Cleveland Natural History Museum.

During 1955 zoo staff and supporters went on an African Safari. While there they accquired three elephants, two hippos, two rhinos, three giraffes and a range of smaller animals. A majority of these were housed in the Pachyderm building which opened the next year.

In 1957 control of the zoo was handed over to the Cleveland Zoological Society.

During 1959 heavy rains coupled with melting snow led to the zoo’s reptile collection being lost in a flood. A number of buildings were damaged.

1968 saw another ownership change with the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District becoming the owners of the zoo. It changed again in 1975 when the Cleveland metroparks took it on.

The same year this change occurred construction on The Primate & Cat Building began which was the zoo’s original building. The deer Barn which had been used at the zoo’s former home Wade Park was moved to the zoo during this time also. Now it is a Victorian-styled ice cream parlour.

In 1982 the zoo was accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).

When the Cleveland Aquarium announced it was closing it 1985 a portion of the Cat and Primate building was renovated to house their collection of fishes and invertebrates.

Zoo Director Emeritus Steve Taylor guided a period of opening themed exhibits that began in 1989. The Rainforest opened in 1992 as one of the first themed habitats. This marked the first time that the zoo had, had a permanent reptile collection since the 1959 flood.

1997 saw the opening of Wolf Wilderness. In 2000 guests went on an Australian Adventure and then in 2004 the Sarah Allison Steffee Centre for Zoological Medicine opened.

In 2011 the African Elephant Crossing opened.

During 2016 the Rosebrough Tiger Passage exhibit was opened.

2018 saw the opening of the Asian highlands exhibit.

Star Animals


An elephant named Frieda arrived at the zoo in 1940. Even though she was already named Frieda the Cleveland news sponsored a naming contest which saw her renamed Osa. It’s difficult to change an elephants name though and when one of her ex-trainers visited a few years later she still responded to Frieda and from then on that was her name. She died in 1956 with estimates of her age ranging from 56 to 72.

Main Exhibits

African Elephant Crossing

This habitat is capable of housing 10 elephants at a time. It is spread across 5 acres (2ha) and has 2 yards. It’s not all about the elephants you can also view meerkats, naked mole rats, an African rock python and numerous birds.

African Savannah

Journey to the grassy plains of Africa where you can meet lions, giraffes, zebras, gazelles, black rhinos, colobus monkey’s and a wide range of African birds.

Australian Adventure

This eight acre (3.2ha) habitat is home to a range of Aussie creatures including the lovable koala. There is also Wallaby Walkabout where you can wander amongst the wallabies. Nearby kookaburra station gets you up close to farm animals such as sheep and goats.

In Gum Leaf hideout there are koalas and tree kangaroos. Nearby the Lorikeet aviary allows you to get up close to dozens of colourful parrots.

Wilderness Trek

Meet a range of animals from colder climes. Housed here is one of America’s most diverse bear collections. There are also reindeer, Persian onagers, Bactrian camels along with seals and sea lions. Nearby Wolf Wilderness introduces you to wolves and beavers at the Wolf Lodge.

Wilderness Trek is the location of Rosebrough Tiger Passage which features expanded homes for the amur tiger including elevated walkways over the visitor path for the tigers to move between habitats.

Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building

One of the largest primate collections in North America lives here. It includes gorillas, new world monkeys and a number of lemurs. In this area it is also possible to view Aldabra tortoises in the summer across from cheetahs. There are also fossa and a range of sea creatures.

The Rainforest

Over 600 animals live in this two acre (0.8ha), two-level habitat. A 25-foot tall waterfall, discovery centre and a tropical rainstorm habitat with thunder and lightning immerse you in the feel of the rainforest. Here you can see reptiles, amphibians, birds, fruit bats, monkeys, ocelots, Bornean orangutans and fishing cats.

Waterfowl Lake

On waterfowl lake you can native waterfowl along the beautiful Chilean flamingos. On the islands lemurs and gibbons spend their summer months. Nearby large flight aviaries are home to Andean condors, Steller’s sea eagles and free flight falls where you can view birds and butterflies.

Asian Highlands

Opened in 2018 this exhibit features expanded habitats for the zoo Amur and snow leopard along with their red pandas. It also introduces a habitat for takin which are new to the zoo. It features an elevated pathway over the visitor path for the leopards.


Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Website –

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