Midwest Living Review
Recently rated tops in the country by USA Travel Guide, this zoo will easily eat up your entire day. In addition to amazing animals, like the famous gorilla family, the zoo is also home to the Zoombezi Bay Waterpark, Jungle Jack's Landing Amusement Park and Safari Golf Club, all of which are used to fund the zoo's conservation mission. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is known for its conservation efforts, most notably primate conservation of gorillas and bonobos (sometimes called pygmy chimpanzees) in Africa. Its most famous resident is 52-year-old Colo, the first gorilla born in a zoo; several of the other 13 gorillas are Colo's descendents. Columbus Zoo is one of the few facilities outside Florida that specializes in the rehabilitation and release of sick or injured manatees. Stingrays are also part of this exhibit, and it's fun to watch them glide up and kiss the glass. Coming in 2010, the zoo will open the Polar Frontier, which marks the return of the popular polar bear to Columbus. Kids will love all of the animals, but Animals on Safari might just steal the show. Acts range from kangaroos fixing a flat tire to cats running an obstacle course and performing high-wire acts. All of these animals were abandoned--the show attempts to point out that exotic animals don't make good pets. The show is part of your zoo admission, as is Jungle Jack's Landing, which is a 22-acre amusement park named after animal expert Jack Hanna. Hanna, who served as zoo director for 15 years, is known for his appearances on TV talk shows. Another popular feature is the on-site water park. Here, the most popular ride is the Cyclone Waterslide--you'll zoom through a tunnel at 20 miles per hour on a four-person raft. If that doesn't convince you, the Tahitian Twister slide might--plunge 55 feet into a stomach-churning loop in total darkness before being dumped into the pool below. The downside to the zoo is that anything put together this well is bound to attract tons of visitors. The end results are crowded displays, so visit during off-season if you can.