Ohio is home to some of the most amazing and enchanting zoos in the US. From wildlife parks in Ohio featuring exotic animals to petting zoos for kids of all ages, the Buckeye State offers family-friendly attractions.

Whether you’re looking for a fun-filled day trip with your family or a unique animal encounter experience, these 7 best zoos in Ohio are guaranteed to please.

Immerse yourself in an unforgettable journey through nature as you explore great exhibits full of fascinating creatures like rhinos, elephants, pandas, and more!

1/ Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Columbus City

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is the oldest aquarium and zoo in Ohio, opening its doors in 1947. Over the decades, it has become a popular tourist destination for tourists and locals. 

A notable connection to this zoo is zookeeper and TV personality Jack Hanna, who served as director from 1978-1992. He’s credited with transforming the zoo from a small local attraction to an internationally recognized destination.

One of the Best Zoos in Ohio - Columbus Zoo
Source: Columbus Zoo

Spreading over 580 acres, the Columbus Zoo houses around 10,000 animals of over 800 different species. And it’s probably the biggest zoo in Ohio.

With such a vast array of creatures, you can learn about them while appreciating their beauty in their natural habitats.

Since 1947, this impressive animal sanctuary has been improving and becoming one of Ohio’s favorite attractions. It’s one of the best zoos and aquariums in Ohio. 

Things to Do at Columbus Aquarium and Zoo in Ohio
Source: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

These are the things to do and see at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium:

  • Learn about fascinating creatures like rhinos, elephants, and pandas.
  • Explore 580 acres of an animal sanctuary.
  • Appreciate the beauty of wildlife.
  • Witness the evolution of Ohio’s oldest wildlife park.
  • Discover interactive petting zoos designed for kids of all ages.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium opens its doors daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Columbus Aquarium and Zoo in Ohio MAP

Columbus Aquarium and Zoo in Ohio Map
Source: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

2/ Toledo Zoo and Aquarium, Toledo

The Toledo Zoo and Aquarium is world-renowned as one of the top zoos in Ohio. It’s known for its unique exhibits, such as the African Savanna, African Forest, and the amazing aquarium.

With over 10,000 animals from 720 different species, this zoo sees over a million visitors annually! Experience the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium if you’re ever in central Ohio; it’s a must-see. 

Aquariums, gardens, interactive exhibits, and shows are just a few attractions that await you.

It can get very busy, though, with long lines typical during peak season, so plan accordingly!

These are the things to do and see at Toledo Zoo and Aquarium:

  • Observe hundreds of animals in the African Savanna exhibit.
  • Feed colorful lorikeets in the Australian Adventure exhibit.
  • Discover interactive petting zoos designed for kids of all ages.
  • Explore the African Rainforest and its diverse birds, primates, reptiles, and insects

The Toledo Zoo and Aquarium is open all year round, with varying opening hours depending on the season.

During peak season, typically from May to August, the zoo is open daily from 10:00 am to 02:00 pm and closed on Tuesdays.

3/ Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens 

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens is a world-class zoo that residents and tourists of Ohio should visit. Located on over 75 acres, it boasts over 2,000 animals from all around the globe!

It also features seasonal exhibitions and shows to help its guests get more acquainted with the zoo’s many inhabitants. One particular resident is Fiona – a celebrity hippo who draws crowds all year round!

Fiona is a beloved resident of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, who captured people’s hearts worldwide when she was born prematurely in January 2017.

Besides housing an impressive 3,000 species of plants, Cincinnati zoo offers visitors a whole world of animals they can learn about in a fun and entertaining way.

Whether you want to explore the wonders of nature or need quality family time, visit this beautiful place during your next trip to Ohio.

These are the things to do and see at Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens:

  • Meet Fiona, the celebrity hippo
  • Explore over 75 acres of lush gardens
  • Discover interactive petting zoos designed for kids of all ages
  • Witness behaviors of animals like Bengal tigers and red pandas

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens is open every day from 10:00 am, but closing time changes depending on the season. Check their website for more details before you go!

4/ Akron Zoo, Akron

The Akron Zoo is one of the top zoos in Ohio and is home to some of Ohio’s most exotic animals, native and non-native species alike.

Akron Zoo in Ohio

Founded in the early 1900s, the zoo houses over 1,000 animals across 35 acres. You can explore exhibits home to bald eagles, grizzly bears, coyotes, and red wolves.

But there are many smaller creatures to observe throughout the park.

One of the must-see attractions is The Grizzly Ridge Exhibit, which features some of the zoo’s largest and most impressive residents.

The Grizzly Ridge in Akron Zoo
The Grizzly Ridge in Akron Zoo

Furthermore, The Wild Asia Exhibit is home to some of the planet’s most exotic species, from Bengal tigers to Asian elephants and red pandas.

The enclosed tube slide is also a popular attraction for children and adults.

These are the things to do and see at Akron Zoo:

  • Explore 35 acres of wildlife
  • Discover interactive petting zoos designed for kids of all ages
  • Witness the behavior of endangered species
  • Admire the beauty and grace of North American birds
  • Experience The Grizzly Ridge Exhibit

The Akron Zoo is open from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm daily. Some animals may be absent depending on the weather and season. Make sure to check their website for more information before you go!

Download the map of Akron Zoo before you go:

Akron Zoo in Ohio Map

5/ Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

The 183-acre Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is Ohio’s most popular tourist attraction, delighting millions of visitors from the heart of Cleveland and beyond each year.

The zoo is separated into distinct sections and is home to a wonderful array of over 3000 animals. And it’s probably one of the biggest zoos in Ohio.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Ohio
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Ohio

Step into the African savanna, stroll through a tropical rainforest or explore an African elephant crossing from this amazing wildlife park.

And don’t forget to check out the Wilderness Trek, where you can see majestic Amur tigers, wolves, and bears in their natural habitat!

Take a trip on their classic kid-friendly train, or get up close and personal on the carousel. It is easy to spend a whole day here if you plan.

There’s something for everyone at this incredible zoo with a nature center, 4D theater, butterfly exhibit, and even a zip line.

These are the things to do and see at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo:

  • Explore the African elephant crossing
  • Observe the behavior of endangered species
  • Take a ride on the classic kid-friendly train
  • Experience the 4D theater and butterfly exhibit
  • Zipline through the forest canopy

A visit to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo promises fun and education for all ages. The zoo is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily. Mondays are free entry days for all locals; present your driver’s license and ID card upon arrival.

6/ African Safari Wildlife Park, Ohio

If you’re looking for an exotic experience, head to Port Clinton for the African Safari Wildlife Park. It’s one of the best wildlife parks in Ohio!

Spanning over 100 acres, this astounding experience takes you on a safari throughout Ohio.

Click to Play Video

Whether you enjoy the convenience of a drive-thru or the thrill of walking through, you can catch a glimpse of some of nature’s most beautiful creatures.

At the walk-thru safari, wild creatures of all shapes and sizes await! Visitors can come face to face with alligators, camels, giraffes, peafowls, and much more.

Even closer encounters are available on the drive-thru safari. You can observe emus up close and feed zebras, bison llamas, and camels.

Don’t miss out on this exceptional opportunity to see exotic animals in their natural habitat! It’s one of the best wildlife parks in Ohio.

In addition to their animal attractions, they offer something special called “In the Spotlight.”

This allows interaction and learning about the animals in detail, giving you insight into all aspects, including their age, size, and details about their species.

With over 1,000 wild animals within its jurisdiction, this zoo in Ohio is a truly magnificent experience.

These are the things to do and see at African Safari Wildlife Park:

  • Take a drive through 100 acres of exotic wildlife
  • Explore the walk-thru safari and observe animals in their natural habitat
  • Feed the llamas, bison, camels, and zebras
  • Attend the “In the Spotlight” program
  • Interact with animals

The African Safari Wildlife Park is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Make sure to book your tickets online and plan your visit accordingly.

7/ Lagoon Deer Park

Lagoon Deer Park is also one of the best wildlife parks and zoos in Ohio. And that’s the ticket pricing of the park:

Lagoon Deer Park Ticket Pricing
Lagoon Deer Park Ticket Pricing

This petting zoo features llamas, goats, miniature donkeys, sheep, peafowl, elk, rheas, emus, and Scottish Highlanders cows, allowing you to interact with over 200 animals.

You can also purchase food to feed the animals and let them come up close for a fun and memorable experience.

Whether you’re looking for an afternoon of adventure or want to spend quality time with family and friends visiting the Lagoon Deer park should be at the top of your list.

Come see these unique animals up close and have an unforgettable experience!

These are the things to do and see at Lagoon Deer Park:

  • Interact with over 200 animals
  • Feed the animals with food purchased on-site
  • Explore the park and spot some of the rare species
  • Observe the behavior of a variety of animals
  • Enjoy a pleasant afternoon with family and friends

The Lagoon Deer Park is open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm daily. But before you plan your visit, make sure to check for updates on their website.

Before You Visit These Best Zoos in Ohio

Before you plan your visit, check for the latest updates on their website.

Follow all necessary health and safety protocols, including wearing a face mask at all times, not touching any of the animals, and social distancing from other visitors.

Also, bring enough snacks and water as some zoos may not have them available.

Visiting any of these best zoos in Ohio is an unforgettable experience you don’t want to miss!

So, plan your visit today and get ready for a fun-filled adventure. Don’t forget your camera – you’ll want to document this amazing experience!

And don’t forget to visit other wildlife parks and zoos in the world.

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