A visit to the zoo often makes us wonder if it’s a happy place for the creatures or just a place us, humans to prod and stare, for our own knowledge and pleasure. But despite the paradox, were it not for the zoo, the majority of the animals in here would have most likely been killed long ago. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is more like an animal sanctuary where the focus truly is on the animals and their rehabilitation.
Opened in 1875, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is developed upon 75 acres, with over 17,000 specimens. The zoo grounds also serve as a botanical garden containing more than 3,000 varieties of plants from around the world. The zoo is most renowned for its endangered species and birthing programs, particularly for gorillas and white tigers, and has a wonderful collection of felines and a delightful manatee’s exhibit.
Stepping out of the car and into the parking lot, the morning sun instantly felt warm. But it was a relief to enter the cool shade of the zoo. It’s more like a nature park or a kind of overgrown botanical garden, with walking paths carved into the lush flora. Following the excited young zoo visitors, we made our way along the shaded paths, stopping left and right to catch a glimpse of the animals.
We loved seeing a playful herd of manatees, giraffes being fed by the young visitors, lions basking in the autumn sun, and gorillas munching on celery stalks and a beautiful parrot perched on a branch. The obvious stars of the Cincinnati Zoo are the hippos, Mommy Bibi and Baby Fiona (whose journey to health has made her a social media star), who were splashing, twirling, and smiling at the onlookers.
We spent a beautiful warm Sunday morning at the zoo. We really enjoyed the fact that how close we were to some of the animals. We could feed the giraffes; go to an underground tunnel with an observation dome to see the Meerkats up close. The different species of birds were fascinating with a nice group of employees sharing information and answering questions. Of course we went out of our way to see Fiona, luckily we saw her and Bibi before they went down for an afternoon nap. On the whole, a great day and a nice learning experience.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is located in the Avondale neighborhood of Cincinnati, and is open daily from 10:00 am to 5 pm. Entry is Adults: Online $17 (Gate $19), Child/Sr: Online $12 (Gate $13).
If you go at a leisurely pace you can check out all of the animals in about 2-3 hours, but the amount of time spent at the zoo is up to each visitor. It is allowed to bring snacks and water, so don’t forget to stay hydrated. The on-site stores have refreshments and snacks available for purchase, as well as local crafts and souvenirs.
♥ Abhi & Suchi ♥