The Columbus Zoo Makes Ohio a Top Vacation Destination

Jack Hannah Introduces the Columbus Zoo to the World

Many people from around the world would not choose Columbus, Ohio as a vacation destination. There is not an ocean, and our weather is unpredictable. Beside Ohio State Football, the one constant we do have is Jack Hannah. Hannah became director of the Columbus Zoo in 1978, and took a zoo in need of renovation to a complex that others zoos attempt to mimic.

Hannah began to offer educational and entertaining events that helped increase attendance, as well as raise money to update the habitat of the zoo. His frequent visits on David Letterman, as well as his own television show, bring visitors from around the world to see the zoo that he often talks about. In 2003, Hannah transitioned from director of the zoo to director emeritus. He remains the face that people from around the world identify as the Columbus Zoo.

The World Comes to the Columbus Zoo

The Columbus Zoo continues to grow each year. Since 2004 the zoo has expanded 120 acres, increasing the total zoo size to 580 acres. The zoo is divided into different regions of the world, and the animals are placed according to which region they live. The regions are Asian Quest, Shores, North America, African Forest, and Australia and the Islands.

The zoo often opens new exhibits in each region that generates excitement for the visitors. The region of The Shores has a manatee exhibit, called Manatee Coast, that opened in 1999. There are only two other manatee exhibits in the United States outside of Florida. Manatee Coast serves as a rehabilitation program for injured manatees, and has helped rehabilitate eight manatees and return them to the wild. Research studies are done on these animals in order to assure a successful life after the zoo.

The newest exhibit to the zoo this year is Polar Frontier. Located in the region of North America, the exhibit is a 1.3 acre area that has two polar bears, two Alaskan brown bears, and arctic foxes. There is a 167,000 gallon pond where visitors can go underground and look up at the bears through glass.

The new exhibits are not the only reason to visit the Columbus Zoo, the older exhibits are always favorites as well. The Columbus Zoo has mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles that have lived there for years. The most famous is unarguably Colo, the first gorilla that was ever born in captivity. Colo turned 50 years old in 2006, and is still alive and active today at the Columbus Zoo.

The new exhibits keep the Columbus Zoo a continuous work of art, making each return visit a new experience. The unique animals and exhibits set the standard for what a zoo experience should be. The Columbus Zoo has a variety of animals that are not available in one setting anywhere else in the world, and it should be a vacation destination that everyone makes in their lifetime.

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