|Date opened||May 1905; 1927|
|Location||Powell, Ohio, USA|
|Land area||82 acres (250 acres (1 km²) after expansion)|
|Number of animals||5,804|
|Number of species||746|
|Major exhibits||African Forest, African Savanna (2014), Asia Quest, Australia, Islands of Southeast Asia, North America, Pachyderms, Polar Frontier (2010), Reptiles, Shores|
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a non-profit zoo located in Powell, Ohio (Liberty Township/Delaware County), just north of Columbus. The land lies along the eastern banks of the O'Shaughnessy Reservoir on the Scioto River, at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Powell Road. It has a worldwide reputation, largely attributable to the efforts and promotion of director emeritus Jack Hanna. In 2009, it was named by the USA Travel Guide as the number one zoo in America.
The Columbus Zoo is home to over 5,000 animals representing over 700 species and sees over 1.8 million visitors annually. The animal exhibits are divided into regions of the world, with the zoo currently operating eight such regions. In addition the zoo owns an 18-hole golf course, known as Safari Golf Club, Zoombezi Bay, and Jungle Jack's Landing. Both are located just south of the zoo. In total, the zoo owns 580 acres (2.3 km2) of land, with just under half dedicated to the zoo itself.
The zoo operates its own conservation program, donating money to outside programs as well as participating in their own conservation efforts. Over the past five years the zoo has raised over $3.3 million from fifteen different sources. The zoo also has a close working relationship with the Wilds, a 10,000 acre (40 km²) animal conservation center located in southeast Ohio.
The original Columbus Zoo was located in the north Riverview neighborhood of Beechwold in Clintonville. The zoo opened in May, 1905 but closed for unknown reasons only five months later in October, 1905. The former monkey house can still be seen on the property of 150 Beechwold Road where it is used as a barn. The zoo's original brick entranceway can also be seen on North High Street at Beechwold Road.
The present Columbus Zoo opened in 1927 as the Columbus Zoological Gardens. The city of Columbus took over management of the Zoo in 1951, but later gave up ownership to the Zoological Park Association, Inc., a non-profit organization, in 1970. The city continued providing funds from the city's General Fund, however, until 1986.
On December 22, 1956, Colo, a Western lowland gorilla, became the world's first captive-born gorilla at the Columbus Zoo. She is the oldest gorilla in captivity, and in 2006 celebrated her 50th birthday. Colo's family is now very extended, with 1 child, 10 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren, and 2 great great grandchildren still living in zoos throughout the country. The Columbus Zoo currently houses 15 gorillas, 6 of which are related to Colo. Thanks in large part to the efforts with Colo, The Columbus Zoo has become a leader in breeding gorillas with 30 gorillas born at the zoo since 1956.
Jack Hanna became the director of the Columbus Zoo in 1978 and remained director until 1993. The zoo benefited greatly from his oversight, rising to national recognition during his tenure. Prior to his arrival, the zoo saw an average annual attendance of about 360,000. In addition, the zoo grounds were dirty and the animal facilities were in need of renovation. Hanna put an extensive amount of effort into turning the Columbus Zoo into a model facility, including personally picking up trash after hours. Cage enclosures were also removed during his time and replaced with more natural looking habitats. His enthusiasm, along with his national television recognition, helped attract more visitors to the zoo, with over 1.4 million visitors annually by 1992. Hanna was named director emeritus of the zoo in 1993, and continues to be the public face for the zoo in its marketing campaigns.
In 2004 voters passed a measure that would raise an estimated $180 million to expand the zoo over the next 10 years. The 120 acres (0.5 km2) expansion is planned to include additional parking, Polar Frontier, an exhibit including polar bears and Arctic Foxes, as well as an African savannah. There is also a South American exhibit planned for the near future. To make room for these new exhibits, bordering Powell Road has been relocated around the eastern and southern border of the zoo. A new entrance gate was constructed along the new roadway, which opened in early 2008. Long term plans include the possibility of a resort-style hotel to attract tourists along with its neighboring outdoor water/amusement park, Zoombezi Bay.
On Sunday, June 28, 2009 Jeff Swanagan the current executive director of the zoo died suddenly at the age of 51. Dale Schmitt the zoos COO was named executive director on November 20, 2009.
The zoo operates 6 attractions that are separate from Zoombezi Bay and Jungle Jack's Landing. These rides cost a small fee, usually $1-2. The zoo announced that at the beginning of the 2008 season, they would switch from the token/punch card system to a more modern reloadable ride card system, similar to a gift card. Also, a wristband can be purchased for $6 that gives unlimited rides at the zoo and Jungle Jack's Landing. All rides are open 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Except for the Pony Ride and the Lorikeet Garden), weather permitting.
In the spring of 2000 the zoo added its restored 1914 Mangels-Illions carousel. This carousel had originally been built for the former Olentangy Park in Clintonville. When the park closed in 1938 the carousel was moved to Wyandot Lake where it continued operating for sixty years, though in deteriorating condition. In 1999 the carousel was removed from Wyandot Lake and underwent a million dollar restoration before being moved to a new location at the zoo. With 52 hand carved horses, 2 chariots, and a Stinson (style "JB66M-1") band organ, this rare "grand carousel" in the Coney Island style is one of only a few manufactured by the William E. Mangels Company as a Mangels-Illions carousel. It was ridden 42,000 times in its first month of operation at the zoo, and celebrated its one millionth rider on July 28, 2004.
The zoo purchased Wyandot Lake at the end of 2006 and have renovated the park into "Zoombezi Bay." The new water park contains 11 attractions, with almost all of them being brand new. The park opened in May of 2008 and is accompanied by Jungle Jack's Landing, the dry ride park.
When the zoo bought Wyandot Lake, they split the park into two sections. The new dry park, called Jungle Jack's Landing (After Jack Hanna) will be open free of charge to zoo visitors. The rides themselves cost $1-2 or a wristband can be purchased for $6. The park features 16 rides and attractions, including the historical Sea Dragon Roller Coaster.
The Columbus Zoo is divided into 8 regions (10 after the current expansion is complete), each housing animals from a particular region of the world. Each region is themed for the particular area of the world they are representing, though older regions are themed less than the newly constructed ones. Food and souvenir shops are located throughout the zoo, each one also themed for the region the shop is in.
There are two modes of transportation through the zoo other than walking. These include a train which circles the North America region and a boat ride around the Islands of Southeast Asia region. Plans also call for a second rail line and water line to be built in the African Savannah region when it is constructed in 2014.
The North America region of the Columbus Zoo is the largest and the oldest. It is currently located on the far east side of the zoo, but will become more central once expansion efforts are completed. In total, North America contains 13 large exhibits featuring a wetlands area and an 10,000 sq ft (930 m2) migratory songbird aviary containing over 40 species. In addition to the exhibits, the North America region contains the train ride which circles the region and travels past the open plains exhibits.
Featured Animals Include:
Black-Tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus)
Timber Wolf (Canis lupus)
Mexican Wolf (Canis lupus baileyi)
Black Bear (Ursus americanus)
Brown Bear (Ursus arctos)
Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis)
Wolverine (Gulo gulo)
North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis)
Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
Cougar (Puma concolor)
Moose (Alces alces)
Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)
American Bison (Bison bison)
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
The pachyderm region is the home of Asian Elephants and Black Rhinoceroses and is located just west of the North America region. It features a large outdoor habitat for both species, as well as a 41,000 sq ft (3,800 m2) indoor facility which houses the animals during inclement weather. The indoor facility is the largest indoor exhibit of its kind in North America and the 2nd in the world, with the capacity to house 10-12 elephants and 3-4 rhinos simultaneously. Currently the Pachyderm building is hosting three African Elephants from the Cleveland Zoo while construction is done on a new facility.
Featured Animals Include:
Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus)
Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis)
Asia Quest is the newest completed region at the Columbus Zoo, opening in two phases in 2006. The region is an attempt to more fully immerse visitors into the exhibits, not only building larger and more attractive exhibits, but also melding them together with the scenery. Visitors entering Asia Quest pass a waterfall flanked by two habitats, travel through a cave containing the indoor habitats, exit into a Chinese forest, and finally enter a pheasant aviary designed to look like an abandoned Asian garden. Instead of fences, habitats are either recessed and separated via rock walls, or on ground level and separated by the rock walls and glass. Asia Quest also promotes donations for animal conservation, as many of the region's animals are threatened in the wild.
Phase one opened on June 21, featuring 5 animal habitats and the aviary, and phase two opened November 3, completing the region with 3 more exhibits and 8 more species.
Featured Animals Include:
Little Golden-Mantled Flying Fox (Pteropus pumilus)
Large Flying Fox (Pteropus vampyrus)
Silvery Lutung (Trachypithecus cristatus)
Malayan Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus)
Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens)
Pallas's Cat (Otocolobus manul)
Amur Tiger (Panthera tigris altaica)
African Lion (Panthera leo)
Reeves's Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi)
Tufted Deer (Elaphodus cephalophus)
Markhor (Capra falconeri)
White-Naped Crane (Grus vipio)
Red-Crowned Crane (Grus japonensis)
Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus) (Fluffy)
Water Monitor (Varanus salvator)
From April through September 2007, Fluffy, the largest reticulated python in captivity, was on display. Afterwards, the zoo was able to purchase Fluffy from her owner
The shores region is most well-known for the fish and manatee aquariums, known as "Discovery Reef" and "Manatee Coast". In addition to the indoor aquariums, the shores region also features exhibits of American flamingos, American alligators, and Humboldt penguins.
Discovery Reef is a 88,000-gallon saltwater aquarium and houses numerous species of fish, stingrays, sharks and sea turtles. It also houses a live coral exhibit, one of the largest in the United States although the coral in the largest tank is synthetic.
Manatee Coast, which opened in 1999, is the cornerstone of the region, supporting the endangered West Indian Manatees in a 192,000 gallon indoor habitat. This habitat is one of only three outside of Florida to keep manatees, making it an especially popular exhibit. The building is also covered by a retractable roof, which creates an outdoor environment for up to 5 manatees during warm weather.
The Reptile Habitat is the first building encountered heading west after exiting the tunnel under Riverside Drive and is located within the shores region. It is a fully indoor facility, containing numerous snakes, turtles and tortoises. The Columbus Zoo has also bred many threatened reptile species, including Jamaican Boas, Madagascar Ground Boas, yellow-spotted river turtles, Roti Island Snake-necked Turtles and Eastern plains garter snakes.
Featured Animals Include:
West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus)
Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti)
Caribbean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber ruber)
Roti Island Snake-Necked Turtle (Chelodina mccordi)
Yellow-Spotted River Turtle (Podocnemis unifilis)
Pancake Tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri)
Madagascar Ground Boa (Boa madagascariensis)
Jamaican Boa (Epicrates subflavus)
Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus)
Pine Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus)
Eastern Plains Garter Snake (Thamnophis radix)
King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah)
Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
Solomon Islands Skink (Corucia zebrata)
Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum)
American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
Panamanian Golden Frog (Atelopus zeteki)
Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates azureus)
Bonnethead Shark (Sphyrna tiburo)
Cow Nose Ray (Rhinoptera bonasus)
Clownfish (Genus Amphiprion)
The African Forest region opened in 2000 and showcases animals from the Central African rainforest, which includes numerous primates, hooved mammals, large cats, and many birds housed in an aviary. The highlight of the region is the primate area featuring three generations of Western Lowland Gorillas, the progeny of Colo.
The Columbus Zoo has a rapidly expanding group of bonobos, also known as pygmy chimpanzees. Bonobos are the closest living relative to humans and are only found at eight U.S. zoos and about a dozen worldwide zoos outside their native Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they are critically endangered.
Featured Animals Include:
Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx)
Angola Colobus (Colobus angolensis)
Bonobo (Pan paniscus)
Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla)
Leopard (Panthera pardus)
Red River Hog (Potamochoerus porcus)
Okapi (Okapia johnstoni)
Black Duiker (Cephalophus niger)
The Australia region is located on the far west side of the zoo, lying along the east bank of the Scioto River. Its feature habitat is the walkthrough kangaroo exhibit, which houses red kangaroos and an Eastern Grey Kangaroo. The habitat is at ground-level, which allows visitors to walk through the actual habitat along with the kangaroos. The Columbus Zoo is one of only eight US zoos to permanently house Koalas. Also included in the region is a garden for Rainbow Lorikeets, a tropical aviary housing over 30 Australian bird species, and the "Roadhouse", an indoor facility displaying nocturnal species of Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. The "Roadhouse" features some of the rarest captive animals in the US including Woylie, which are found at eight US zoos, Brown Kiwi, which are found at three US zoos, a Banded Palm Civet, which is found at only two US zoos and the only two Tiger Quoll in a zoo outside of Australia .
Featured Animals Include:
Short-Beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)
Tiger Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus)
Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)
Feathertail Glider (Acrobates pygmaeus)
Woylie (Bettongia penicillata)
Matschie's Tree-Kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei)
Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)
Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus)
Lesser Short-Nosed Fruit Bat (Cynopterus brachyotis)
Prevost's Squirrel (Callosciurus prevostii)
Indian Crested Porcupine (Hystrix indica)
Banded Palm Civet (Hemigalus derbyanus)
Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)
North Island Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli)
Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus)
The Islands of Southeast Asia region, opening in 2003, was the newest region at the Columbus Zoo until Asia Quest opened. Similarly to Asia Quest, Islands of Southeast Asia attempts to be more immersive, melding the exhibits and scenery to create the feeling that the visitor is walking through one continuous exhibit. This is done mostly with man-made scenery and vegetation. Included in the man-made scenery is a waterway that flows around the region and carries the boat ride from which visitors can view the region's exhibits.
Featured Southeast Asian species:
Lar Gibbon (Hylobates lar)
Siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus)
Orangutan (Pongo abelii)
Oriental Small-Clawed Otter (Aonyx cinerea)
Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)
Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla)
Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)
Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis)
The Polar Frontier region will be an extension of the North America region and will feature animals native to colder climates including Arctic Fox and Brown Bears. The region will also mark the return of polar bears to the zoo, whose habitat will include a 167,000 gallon pool and underwater viewing area. The center of the exhibit will be a Conservation/Education Building and a new play area. Polar Frontier is planned for a Spring 2010 opening.  
The African Savannah region will be located to the north and east of the zoo land as it sits today. The area will encompass 70 acres (280,000 m2) of land, and will feature many African plains animals. Returning will be zebras and giraffes, which were moved in order to accommodate Asia Quest. Though it is not final, the zoo has also said that they may move the Black Rhino from the Pachyderm building to the African Savannah in exchange for an Indian Rhinoceros. Additionally, antelope, hyenas, hippos, and African Elephants will be added to the zoo's species list.
Following the design of recent exhibits such as the Islands of Southeast Asia, the African Savannah will attempt to merge habitats and scenery to make visitors feel as if they are on the plains. Included in this will be a simulated Zambezi River, which will contain a paddle boat ride for visitors to travel the region. A rail line will also provide alternate transportation around the region. Plans call for a 2014 opening.
The South/Central America exhibit, featuring animals from South and Central America may include canopied walkways, a tropical rainforest building, and a zip-line. The animals featured in this region may include toucans, spider monkeys, tapirs, tamarins, spectacled bears, king vultures, vampire bats, and jaguars.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium runs a conservation program which funds multiple projects outside of the zoo. In the 2005-2006 fiscal year, the zoo provided $690,641 worth of grants to fifteen separate projects. The majority of these funds come directly from the zoo's operating budget, but they also come from gift shop proceeds and visitor donations. Projects the zoo supports include the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, the International Elephant Foundation, and the Ohio Wildlife Center.
In an effort to increase funding for, and public awareness of, the conservation projects around the world, the Columbus Zoo has in recent years incorporated information about threatened and endangered species into exhibits. In addition to helping visitors become more aware, the zoo has also added donation boxes which help fund the many projects the Columbus Zoo supports.
The Columbus Zoo is also involved in conservation programs internally. Manatee Coast, while built as an exhibit, is also a rehabilitation facility for injured manatees. Due to the threatened status of manatees in the wild, Manatee Coast attempts to inform its visitors of the manatee's situation, with an entire room dedicated to manatee conservation. This room includes a video describing the manatee's natural habitat and what can be done to protect them. As of 2003, the zoo has successfully rehabilitated and reintroduced three manatees into the wild.
The Columbus Zoo also runs a breeding program for Mexican Wolves. This program has the goal of having a population of at least 100 wolves living in what was once their natural range. Mexican wolves became extinct in the wild in the mid 20th century due to being trapped, poisoned, and shot. Since the zoo became involved in 1992, 29 pups have been born at their facility.