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Family Fun in Ohio: Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Family Fun in Ohio: Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

As an animal lover, I love exploring new zoos with my family. Located in the Avondale neighborhood of Cincinnati in the middle of the city, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is the second oldest zoo in the United States. Opening just 14 months after the Philadelphia Zoo, the zoo opened in 1875. The Reptile House, which dates from the opening year, is the oldest zoo building in the United States. Parts of the zoo were designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1987. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), the Cincinnati Zoo has been ranked among the best zoos in the country.

Elephant at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Macaw at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Giraffes at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Baby Giraffe at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Flamingos at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Lions at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

As with my zoos, the Cincinnati Zoo conducts breeding programs including South African cheetahs, Sumatran rhinoceros, Malayan tigers, western lowland gorillas, pottos, and Masai giraffes. The zoo was also the first to successfully breed California sea lions. I personally have been following the development of Fiona, a baby Nile hippo who was born six weeks premature back in January. Sadly, the zoo was also the home of Marth, the last living passenger pigeon, who died in 1914, and the home of the last living Carolina parakeet in 1918. Both bird species are now extinct. The zoo is now home to the Passenger Pigeon Memorial, which serves as a reminder to all of the tragedy of extinction.

African Animals at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden African Painted Dogs at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Sleeping Hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Hippos at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Black Bear at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Polar Bear at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Monkey at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Bonobos at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

I have been wanting to go to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden for almost two years now. I was thus super excited to get to go with my mom and two kiddos a few weeks ago. We arrived right as the zoo opened on a Thursday morning at the end of May. Parking is $10 for the entire day in the zoo parking lot. General admission costs $19 for adults and $13 for children at the gate. My family opted for the Zoo Adventure Ticket — which includes admission, rides on the train and carousel, and a short 4-D film — at $28 for adults and $22 for children.

White Lions at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

When we go to the zoo that morning, we headed to see the elephants first followed by the giraffes. My kids really love seeing the two baby giraffes, and my daughter thought that the mama giraffe using the wall to hold onto a leaf was awesome. We then headed over to lions and got to see the entire group close-up lounging under a tree. One lion even tried to climb the tree, which my son thought was awesome. I really liked the African painted dogs, which were sleeping in a pile in the shade. I was also super excited to see the bonobos, which are endangered great apes that are the closest extant relative to humans and most likely the species of Curious George.

Rhino at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Manatee at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Monkeys at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Red Panda at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

I was most excited to see the hippos. Unfortunately, baby Fiona was still too young to be outside in the public enclosure. I still enjoyed seeing the two hippos napping together in the edge of the pool. In addition to the hippos, I also really liked the Cat Canyon and Night Hunter exhibits. Big and wild cats are probably my favorite animals at most zoos. Night Hunter had all sorts of small wild cats, many of which who were actively moving around their darkened enclosures. The Malayan tiger cubs were super adorable as well. My son, however, loved the two owls. He is obsessed with owls at the moment and kept asking to see the night birds as soon as we stepped foot in the zoo. We even went back again before leaving so he could see his beloved owls a second time.

Baby Tiger at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Cougar at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Adult Tiger at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Snow Leopard at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Horse and Camel at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Komodo Dragon at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

If you are ever in the Cincinnati area of Ohio with a day to spend exploring, I highly recommend visiting the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. General admission is reasonable for just a prominent zoo. My kiddos and I spent almost an entire day looking at all the animals including giraffes, hippos, bonobos, big cats, and owls with my mom. The Cincinnati Zoo is family time well spent!

For more information, visit the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden website.

Image Credits

Family Fun in Ohio: Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Elephant at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Macaw at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Giraffes at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Baby Giraffe at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Flamingos at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Lions at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
African Animals at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
African Painted Dogs at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Sleeping Hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Hippos at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Black Bear at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Polar Bear at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Monkey at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Bonobos at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
White Lions at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Rhino at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Manatee at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Monkeys at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Red Panda at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Baby Tiger at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Cougar at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Adult Tiger at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Snow Leopard at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Horse and Camel at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson
Komodo Dragon at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden © 2017 Heather Johnson

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