3900 Wildlife Way
Cleveland Ohio 44109United States
Set to open in May 2011, the African Elephant Crossing quadruples the animals' habitat and gives visitors a new reason to return to this popular attraction.
A new 5-acre, $26 million habitat designed to house six to eight elephants looks as though it will be as nice of an enclosed space these wild animals could expect to live in. The savannalike area will have two pools -- one 14 feet deep for submerging in and one for splashing; an island in the middle of the habitat encourages the elephants to climb onto it to reach shade; sand floors in one of the seven indoor parlors; and a heated outdoor sandbox and heated roof so the elephants can sleep outside year-round. To learn more, visit africanelephantcrossing.com. To say the zoo is excited about this expansion doesn't begin to touch that enthusiasm. Three zoo innkeepers have spent the past two years living in Columbus, away from their families, to take care of the Cleveland elephants who moved there in 2009 to await construction of their new home. Their return, along with the addition of Willie, a 34-year-old 13,000-pound bull elephant from Disney World, will undoubtedly bring even more visitors through the zoo's 183 acres, where 600 species live. The Rain Forest features a 25-foot-high waterfall, while the 8-acre Australian Adventure lets kids climb the 55-foot-tall Yagga Tree and slide down the huge Snake Slide (seasonally). The Northern Trek showcases bears, Siberian tigers, sea lions and wolves; the Primate, Cat and Aquatics Building is home to two gorillas, cheetahs, sharks and octopus. Admission charged.