As Columbus natives, we have the privilege of living in the proximity of a large zoo and aquarium. Many of us may have grown up taking weekend trips to see the gorillas, the tigers and the penguins with our families. But, having a zoo located at our convenience may sometimes be taken for granted.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is an impressive, world-renowned zoo. People from across the country go the distance to see the collection of exotic animals that we can see in just a 20 minute drive. Why wouldn’t we want to take advantage by taking regular trips?

Up until just recently, I had always taken my zoo very much for granted. As a kid, my parents would take me and my sister to the zoo on an occasional summer, and I took a few educational field trips to see the animals during elementary school. Although I definitely wasn’t a regular zoo-goer, the zoo was ingrained enough into my life that for a long time, I thought that every city had a zoo as great as mine.

But when I got older, I stopped going to the zoo. It wasn’t something I consciously decided on, but it’s expensive for a young adult, and it’s hard to find the time. And I figured that since I’d been to the zoo a few times before, it wasn’t really necessary to go back. I had memories of being a kid and not being able to see over the heads in front me, and I had low-quality photos of sleeping grizzly bears to remind me of what wildlife is like. I just didn’t feel the need to experience it again.

Lazy BearBut when a friend offered to take me to the zoo for free, I decided to go. I didn’t expect much more than I got out of those few occasions I went as a kid, but I ended up pleasantly surprised by my zoo experience.

If you haven’t been to the zoo in a while, let me convince you to schedule a trip in your near future. Here are a few reasons why you should go to the zoo:

1. New Animals

Chances are, the Columbus Zoo has added a few new species since your last visit. At one of my more recent visits since becoming a born-again zoo lover, I got to see the giraffes in an entirely new exhibit, Heart of Africa. And the zoo welcomes new members of its animal family quite regularly. Just last month, three tiger cubs were born at the Columbus Zoo, and they’re super adorable. There’s always something new to see!



2. Fun Events and Attractions

Remember how I mentioned that I got to see giraffes at the Heart of Africa exhibit? Well, it just so happens that Betty White made a special appearance at the exhibit on the exact same day I decided to visit. Turns out, it was the grand opening. Sure, it was crowded, but at the top of that massive line, people were actually feeding and interacting with the giraffes. Where else can you experience something like this? The Betty White visit was a surprise event for me, but there are other scheduled events that are a lot of fun. Some upcoming events include the annual ZooFari on June 20, an adults-only fundraiser featuring over 100 local bars and restaurants, and Craft Brew at the Zoo on August 21, featuring Fat Tire Amber Ale and live music.

3. It’s an Easy Outdoor Activity

How often do you spend a sunny, summer day sitting inside because you just can’t figure out what to do? Taking a trip to the zoo with family and friends is the perfect activity for your day off. The zoo allows you to go at your own pace, enjoy the sunshine and also get your A/C fix at the indoor exhibits and aquarium.



4. There’s Always a Unique Experience

If you haven’t gone to the zoo for years because you’ve “seen it all before,” you’re definitely missing out. How could you have seen it all before when the animals have minds of their own? You may have seen the gorillas before, but did you ever see them swinging from the trees or grooming their young? There are countless unique experiences every day at the zoo, so it’s up to you to go and catch them.


The bottom line is, at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, you have the opportunity to make new memories and learn something new at a convenient location. This weekend, get a group of friends together and take a trip to the zoo. Who knows? You might even run into Betty White.


Share your favorite Columbus Zoo experience with us by commenting below!