The Zoo is now more interactive. Try the themed experiential areas for a full day of fun. Rides, playgrounds, shows and theatres round out your zoo visit.
The new cub, Nora, was napping when we visited. Best time to catch her (and most babies born at the zoo) is early mornings.
ALL NEW! Attraction Wristbands. Special wristbands are available for purchase at the Zoo’s entrance or any ride kiosk found throughout the park. (if your kids want to do any classic amusement rides, definitely consider these wristbands)
All-Day-Ride Wristband: Guests can enjoy all of the fun with this wristband for $14.99* each, which includes all Zoo and animals rides, Jungle Jack’s Landing, Stingray Bay, and the brand new 4-D theater.
Zoo-It-All Wristband: For $9.99*, guests can enjoy an adventure through Pirate Island, and splash over to Stingray Bay, ride the Columbus Zoo Train, Grand Carousel, and the ponies as well as all rides at Jungle Jack’s Landing!
*Cost of Zoo admission not included in wristband prices. Individual tickets can also be purchased. Price varies per attraction.
ALL NEW! 4-D Theater
Get ready for an immersive, state-of-the-art 4-D experience only the Zoo can provide. This 50-seat theater is located in the Shores region between Discovery Reed and the new Shores Play Park. Guests enjoy a short 8-minute cinematic adventure that combines high-definition 3-D with thrilling sensory effects that envelop the audience into the story. Admission is $5 after entry into the Zoo, $4 for Zoo members and free for Zoo Gold members and Zoo-It-All wristbands.
Returning in 2016, Pirate Island invites young buccaneers to climb aboard a seasonal boat tour for a thrilling adventure through the Australia and the Islands region. The ride includes several life-like pirates and animals expertly crafted by The ScareFactory, a Columbus company. Pirate Island is open from 9 a.m. until the Zoo closes, from late-May to Labor Day and on weekends only through October. Admission is $3 after entry into the Zoo, $2 for Zoo members and free for Zoo Gold members as well as those with All-Day-Ride or Zoo-It-All wristbands.
Polar Frontier playground
Polar Playground: Located in the North America region and is open from early March through December.
Stings, Wings N’ Play Things Park: Located between the Congo Expedition region and the Australia and the Islands region and is open from early March through October.
All NEW! Shores Play Park: This sun-kissed, ocean-themed playground located in the Shores region. Complete with life-sized sea creature sculptures, water features and an interactive game that children can play throughout the space.
Jungle Jack’s Landing
Open weekends in early May and daily from late-May through October.
Stingray Bay: Where guests can touch and feed a stingray for a small fee.
Animal Encounters Village: Where guests can enjoy free, up-close and interactive animal experiences throughout the day.
Several rides are available, including the Jungle River Falls log flume, Sea Dragon coaster, Jack’s Tea Party spinning cups, Journey to Zanzibar swinging ship, Swingin’ Gibbons wave swinger, and many more. (The complete list is available at ColumbusZoo.org/visit/rides.)
The authentic 1914 Mangels-Illions carousel, a historic landmark, is comprised of 52 original horses and chariots as well as a band organ. It is open daily from early March through December. Admission is $1 per rider.
Columbus Zoo Train
This train ride gives guests a unique way to view the North America region. Tours are offered daily from early March through December. Admission is $1 per rider.
Animals on Safari: A fast-paced, heart-warming, award-winning show featuring rescued cats and dogs from local shelters as well as exotic animals. Performances are on the weekends from April 30–May 22, daily from May 28-Sept. 5, and again on weekends from Sept. 6 through Boo at the Zoo. Admission is free.
Animal Encounters Village: An amazing educational show highlighting the unique abilities of species found around the globe. These experiences are available on the weekends from April 30–May 22, daily from May 28- Sept. 5, and again on weekends from Sept. 6 through Boo at the Zoo. Admission is free.
Dromedary camel rides: Available daily from early May until early October and during Wildlights. Age restrictions apply; young riders must be accompanied by an adult. Admission is $7 per rider, or free for Gold Members and Zoo-it-All Wristbands.
Pony rides: Available on weekends in April, daily from May until late August, and on weekends from late August through October. Admission is $5 per rider.
I used to tell folks the zoo was a good half day excursion. I feel differently now. Plan to take a break and play at every playground and add a few fee rides to the mix. I like the food choices in the park but to save money (especially if you’re there all day), pack a big cooler on wheels. There are plenty of shaded areas with benches to grab a bite or slowly consume some Dippin Dots…
Update to KIDS LOVE OHIO, 7th edition, page 19