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Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is located in Columbus Ohio and opened in 1927.

The zoo is operated by the Columbus Zoological Park Association which also operates The Wilds in southeastern Ohio.

Columbus Zoo is best known for Jungle Jack Hanna who used to be director of the zoo.

They are the subject of the National Geographic series, Secrets of the Zoo.

Star Animals

Fluffy

The Guinness world record holder for longest snake in captivity, Fluffy, was put on exhibit at the zoo in 2007. After being put on display she was brought from her owner in September that year. She died from a mass on her ovaries on October 26, 2010. At the time she was 18 years old and weighed 136kg (300lbs).

Colo the gorilla

Colo was the first ever gorilla born into captivity. At the age of 57 she became the oldest gorilla in human care. She had an extended family of 1 child, 10 grand-children, 4 great grand-children and 2 great great grand-children. Colo passed away in 2017 at the age of 60.

Columbus zoo

Location

Columbus,

Ohio,

USA

Year Opened

1927

Land Size

80.9ha (200acres)

Number of Animals

10,000

Number of Species

600

History

In 1927 the Columbus Zoo was opened with a small collection of donated animals. The Columbus dispatch and the Ohio State Journal founded the Columbus Zoological Society in 1930.

Throughout 1937 a planned zoo is created with funds from a membership drive. During the 1940s and 50s more fundraising took place. This led to more animals and buildings being created.

1950 saw the Columbus Zoos operations taken over by the City of Columbus. In 1970 ownership is transferred to the Zoological Park Association Inc. which is a non-profit group.

Jack Hanna took over directorship of the zoo in 1978, a position he retained till 1993. During this time the zoo gained international fame due to his TV appearances and the natural exhibits they built. He was named director emeritus during 1993 and he maintains this position today. He has announced that he will step down from till role in December 2020.

During 1980 the zoo was accredited by the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums for the first time. They have continued this accreditation this till day.

The all-time attendance record was set in 1992 at 1.4 million guests. It was during this year that the zoo hosted 2 pandas for 8 months.

In 1995 a $0.75 million bond which would last through to 2005 was approved. This was used to undertake a large number of renovations.

In 2008 Zoombezi Bay and Jungle Jacks Landing, the theme parks were opened.

2010 saw the opening of polar frontier the area where polar bears are housed.

In 2014 the zoo opened the new Savannah habitat known as Heart of Africa. This exhibit is home to camels, cheetahs, monkeys, giraffes, lions and other savannah species. It covers 17 hectares (43 acres).

Following the opening of Heart of Africa the zoo set their current attendance record with over 2,470,000 people visiting the zoo.

During 2017 the zoo renovated their animal health center.

Attractions

Kangaroo Walkabout

Enter the kangaroo exhibit and get up close and personal with these animals.

Lorikeets

In lorikeet garden you can get up close to these colourful birds. To get even closer you can purchase some nectar and feed the birds.

Stingray Bay

Get close to stingrays in this interactive experience where you will be able to pat the rays.

Tide Pool Touch

Touch sea stars and horseshoe crabs along with a number of other ocean dwelling species at the touch pool.

4-D Theatre

Part of the new shore’s play park is a 4-D Theatre. There is a seasonally rotating series of movies which engage all of your senses.

The Grand Carousel

This historic carousel dates back to 1914 and is available for rides today.

North America Train Ride

Take a ride around the zoo's North American region on the train. You may even see a few animal's on your way around.

Island Boat Ride

Take a ride past some of the animal exhibits in the zoo's islands section such as orangutans.

Main exhibits

Shores

In this area you can meet a range of sea creatures including West Indian manatees. The zoo is one of only 2 outside Florida to play host to West Indian manatees. The manatees housed here are part of the rescue program and many are undergoing rehabilitation before release to the wild. The area also features a touch pool and the reptile house.

Asia Quest

Asia Quest introduces you to a range of the species that call Asia home including bats, Amur tigers, sloth bears and rhinos. The area is home to the largest elephant in America who weighs in at 7 tons. The exhibits are designed to immerse you in the animals habitat.

Australia and the Islands

This area exhibits animals from Asia’s islands, Australia and New Zealand. The area features a walk in kangaroo yard. Koalas are also exhibited here, one of only a few groups in America. They are one of the very few that house them inside and outside. In recent years the zoo has welcomed wombats and tasmanian devils both of which are rare in zoos outside of Australia.

In the islands you can take a boat ride to meet the orangutans and view Komodo dragons and gibbons.

Expedition Congo

This area is home to okapi, monkeys, gorillas and bonobos. It also houses Congo Station a space where face painting is available and a play area.

North America and Polar Frontier

In this area you can meet wolves, bald eagles and moose. The space is home to My Barn at Habitat Hollow where kids can get up close with popular farm animals. They can also play in the Polar Playground. In 2010 Polar Frontier was added to this area. This exhibit is home to polar and grizzly bears along with a few other arctic species. It also features an education centre.

Heart of Africa

Opened in 2014 this exhibit brings the savannah to Columbus. Here you can meet cheetahs, vervet monkeys, lions, giraffeszebra and a range of other species. It is also in this area that guests can take a ride on a camel.

References

Columbus Zoo Website - Columbus Zoo

News 5 - Jack Hanna Article

National Geographic - Secrets of the Zoo Website

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