Looking for the best zoos in Ohio? Then you will enjoy this list of the top zoos, aquariums, and safari parks that the Buckeye State has to offer.
My family and I enjoy visiting zoos when on vacation. View endangered species, going on an African Safari without leaving North America, and getting an up-close look at exotic animals is the perfect way to spend the day.
With plenty of Ohio zoos to chose from, there is sure to be at least one within driving distance. Many of them have gone under renovations or added new exhibits in recent years.
Zoos are a fun and unique way to spend the day outside with the family. Zoos, aquariums, and animal parks have everything petting zoos, wild animals, local wildlife, African animals, popular exhibits, and unique experiences that everyone will enjoy.
The Best Zoo in Ohio
African Safari Wildlife Park
Visitors can enjoy this 100-acre preserve drive-through wildlife safari park as they can view and feed the animals from their cars. The park has everything from a white buffalo, deer, alpacas, zebras, and giraffes.
Animal lovers can also visit the walk-thru safari area. It features animals such as pigs, birds, alligators, camels, and more. You can even participate in the kangaroo feedings.
If your kids are under 100 pounds and looking for a unique adventure, they can ride a camel. The best part of the camel ride is that it’s free!
The Akron zoo started in the early 1900s when two browns were donated. The zoo currently has 35 acres filled with over 1,000 animals.
A visit to The Grizzly Ridge exhibit is a must-do! The area houses animals such as the bald eagle, coyote, red wolf, river otter, turkeys, and of course the grizzly bears in their natural habitats. Guests can watch the grizzle bears run, play, and splash in their pool. And the kids will enjoy sliding on the fully enclosed tube slide that takes them through the river otter exhibit.
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
This is the second oldest zoo in the United States and officially opened in 1875. The zoo is home to over 1800 animals from over 500 different species and numerous plant species. It’s massive at 75 acres, so you can easily spend the entire day seeing the animals and exploring the botanical gardens.
You can feed one of the giraffes, few a wide variety of African animals, watch the Polar Bears swim, see the black rhino, see barnyard animals at the children’s zoo, see the komodo dragons, see the gorillas swinging, and more.
It’s most renowned for its endangered species and birthing programs, particularly for gorillas and white tigers
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
What’s unique about this park is that they focus on conservation efforts and breeding endangered animals in captivity since the 1950s when the first-ever birth in captivity of a lowland gorilla became a media star.
The most popular exhibit is the Heart of Africa that features a black bear, lions, leopards, bobcats cheetahs, red pandas, sea lions, ostriches, wildebeests, gazelles, and kangaroos to name a few of the 130 animals grazing the plains of Delaware County.
It’s one of the largest zoos in the United States and is located on 580 acres. It also has an 18-hole golf course!
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
The Cleveland Zoo is a 183-acre zoo in Cleveland, Ohio. The Zoo is divided into several areas: Australian Adventure; African Savanna; Northern Wilderness Trek, The Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building, Waterfowl Lake, The RainForest, and the newly added Asian Highlands.
This beloved zoo has plenty of favorite animals that include the gorillas, lemurs, lions, black bears, seals, reindeer, snow leopards, giant panda
Guests can also enjoy a carousel or train ride. Or view the 30-foot giant pandas made out of 20,000 ping pong balls.
Boasts over 9,000 animals that represent more than 800 species, making it one of the most complete zoos in the world. Popular exhibits include the Hippoquariam, where visitors can observe hippos both above and below the water, and Nature’s Neighborhood, the Toledo Zoo’s award-winning children’s zoo.
In 2014 the zoo won USA TODAY’s highest ranking for #1 Zoo in America.
The Wilds is a private, non-profit safari park and conservation center that combines cutting-edge conservation science and education programs with hands-on experiences and adventures that include ziplining, horseback riding, fishing, and more. This is the ultimate hands-on animal adventure.
It sits on over 9,000 acres of land and is home to many rare and endangered species from around the world that live on open range habitats.
If you’re looking for a true safari feel, then you can book a night in a yurt, cabin, or lodge. Taking the sweeping views from the observation deck at night or early mornings as the animals roam the pastures.
I hope this list of the best zoos in Ohio has been informative and helpful to plan your next fun day exploring and learning about the animals.