A few days ago, we took a quick midweek jaunt to the Columbus Zoo. Located about three and a half hours from Pittsburgh, it's Jungle Jack Hanna's home Zoo and an all around amazing place to visit. Here are some of the highlights:
1. Penny Pressers
We looked up the total count of unique pressed penny designs on the way home because the Columbus Zoo is well stocked with both push button and hand crank machines. Julia came away with about twenty squished pennies in a souvenir penny collector book. Pennycollector.com says there are 85 designs available at the zoo. Enough for a return trip to be sure.
An entire savannah populated with zebras, wildebeest, ostriches, giraffes provides an all encompassing view. There are no visible fences and it's as close to seeing these creatures in their natural habitat as I'll ever get. It was something watch a giraffe run.
3. Super friendly staff
Zoo employees and volunteers checked on us frequently. "Are you looking at the map because you're lost?" "Are you having a good time?" We had occasion to talk to a lot of Zoo representatives. Every single one was helpful and courteous. The place was spotlessly clean as well.
4. Australian Nocturnal Animals
Inside one building there was very little light and a whole bunch of animals with big adorable eyes. I've never seen an exhibit like it.
Julia was obsessed with princess movies when we last attempted to feed lorikeets. She talked all the time about getting a bird to land on her hand "like Snow White." When the time came for her to live her dream, she was terrified. Friendly butterflies in Niagara Falls were also enemy fliers. She would kung fu chop anything that came near her.
I was sure to remind her of this as we purchased two cups of nectar ($2 each) and entered the lorikeet aviary. She wasn't afraid this time and let the birds hang out on her hand. One bit me (it left a mark) and proceeded to wipe its nectar filled beak all over the only sweatshirt I had on the trip. Even in the face of rather aggressive birds, Julia conquered her fear. Maybe now she'll even let a butterfly land on her.
6. Water Park
Zoombezi Bay was included in our two day ticket. Though it was unseasonably cool for our visit, we braved a bunch of water slides, a not so lazy river and the wave pool. There are two water slides that we could all ride together which was a new experience. My favorite was the Sound Surfer, a musical five person raft ride.
7. Family Time