Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, located in Cleveland, Ohio, is my third favorite place to be, right behind Disney World and the
ocean/beach. I’ve visited with my family almost every summer since I was a
little girl, and it only took one trip for me to fall in love with the many
exhibits. It’s always cool to experience so many different countries without
actually leaving the country!

 

African Savana

 

 

One of the first exhibits visitors to the Cleveland
Metroparks Zoo come across is the African Savana. In this part of the zoo,
visitors can see monkeys, giraffes, leopards, and lions, among other
African-native animals. The last time I visited, the park was currently
renovating their giraffe observation deck. The renovations will allow visitors to
get even more up close and personal with the African beauties. How awesome is
that?
 
One of the more recent additions to the zoo, the African Elephant
Crossing, is located near the African Savana, and it allows visitors special
viewing privileges of the African elephants, including an open-air viewing, a nose-to-trunk window, and
an elevated feeding station. But probably the best part of the new exhibit is
the gated crossing. When it’s crossing time, the gates open and the elephants
walk right across the zoo walkway! But don’t worry: the open gates create a
barrier between the elephants and visitors, so you won’t get trampled.
 

Northern Trek

 

 

If you keep walking, eventually you will come out of the
African Savana and find yourself in the Northern Trek, home of grizzly bears,
Amur tigers, seals and sea lions, and the Wolf Lodge and Wetlands.

The Wolf
Lodge was built to look like a 19th century trapper’s cabin, and is
outfitted in rustic décor. The Lodge has a
window-wall that looks into the wolf exhibit, where five Mexican Gray wolves
reside. I remember when the zoo had only one wolf, and she was always hiding.
These new wolves are a lot more “friendlier.” If you’re lucky, at least one
will be running up and down the window, which is a great experience (and photo
opp)! Right next to the wolf exhibit is a wetlands display with beavers and
fish, with an underwater viewing station.

 

Australian Adventure

 

 

Your next stop after your northern adventure will be the
Australian Adventure, where you’ll see koala bears at the Gum Leaf Hideout,
colorful birds in the Lorikeet Aviary, and wallabies, wallaroos, and kangaroos
at the Wallaby Walkabout.Take a train ride around the Australian Adventure on
the Boomarang Line (tickets are $2 each); get up close and personal with
miniature donkeys, goats, and sheep at the Kookaburra Station (a working sheep
ranch!); and explore the 55-foot Yaga tree, a “simulated Australian baobab tree
and virtual Aussie playground,” where you’ll find sugar gliders, a skink, bats,
an animatronic crocodile, and a huge snake slide!

 

Primates, Cats, and Aquatics

 

 

Unless you like long treks, you might want to take the
shuttle to the next location; the Primates, Cats, and Aquatics building is the
highest point in the zoo. Here, you’ll find one of the largest collections of
North American primates, including gorillas, new world monkeys, and lemurs.

The
second part of this building, the cats, includes a snow leopard and cheetahs.

And finally, the aquatics section of the building includes 35 different tanks
of salt- and fresh-water creatures, including sharks!

 

The RainForest

 

 

Although I love all of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
exhibits, my favorite is the RainForest. This part of the zoo is separate from
the rest of the zoo (but only by a short walk), and it’s indoors, so you don’t
have to worry about getting rained on in the rain forest. The first floor entryway
acts as a greenhouse with species native to rainforests, and includes a 25-foot
waterfall.

You can either take the stairs, elevator, or treehouse to the second
floor, where you’ll find a “research hut” where children (and adults!) can
pretend to be scientists studying the rainforest.

The animals you’ll find in
the RainForest exhibit include various primates, cats, birds, and reptiles. One
of the most interesting parts of the RainForest is the tropical rainstorm
exhibit, which creates a simulated storm, complete with rain, thunder, and lightning. I
could spend hours in this building alone!

 

Making Education Fun

 
 

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo offers educational experiences
for all ages. They host several educational programs year-round, including
“Keeper for a Day” where participants shadow animal professionals in the Zoo’s
Conservation Education Division and experience what it’s like to work with
animals; several different camps that teach participants about the Zoo’s
wildlife; and Professor Wylde’s: Traveling Event Show, a humorous, theatrical
presentation that educates and entertains an audience. There are fun facts
located throughout the zoo about the many different animals, and pretend-play
research stations where visitors can get a taste of what it’s like to be a
zoological researcher.

 
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo makes a conscious effort to
focus on conservation, both for the animals in their care and those living in
their natural habitats. There are several facts listed throughout the Zoo to
educate visitors on conservation, especially those about endangered species.
Twenty-five cents from each admission ticket goes to help support the Zoo’s
conservation programs.
 

Planning Your Trip

 
 
Interested in visiting the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo? Then
the information below is for you!
 

Hours

 
 
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and RainForest are open
year-round, except for December 25th and January 1st. The
main gate opens at 10:00 am, and the Zoo and RainForest are open until 5:00 pm
(Box Office closes at 4:00 pm). Beginning Memorial Day Weekend and ending on
Labor Day weekend, the Zoo and RainForest are open until 7:00 pm on Saturdays,
Sundays, and holidays (Box Office closes at 6:00 pm).
 

Tickets

 
 
Tickets cost $13.25 for adults, $.12.25 for seniors (62 and
older), and $9.25 for juniors (ages 2-11). Children under 2 visit free. You can
save $1 on tickets by purchasing them online in advance. AAA also offers tickets for $1 off of gate ticket prices, and the Zoo just announced on their Facebook page that they have partnered with Giant Eagle this year to sell tickets at a $2.25 discount from Box Office ticket prices.
 
Although visiting the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is fun on its
own, some visitors might want a little extra something to spice up their visit.
Visitors have the option of upgrading their trip by purchasing one or more of
the following:
 
 
  • Cleveland Public Power Total
    Experience Pass (includes unlimited Train rides, Carousel rides and Lorikeet
    Feeding) for $5.75 ($5.25 for Cleveland Zoo Society members)
  • Carousel Ride for $3 per ride
    ($2.50 for Cleveland Zoo Society members)
  • Camel Ride for $5 for ride and $5
    for photo
  • Train Ride for $2 per person
  • Nectar for Lorikeet feeding for
    $2.00 per cup

 

 

Group Discounts

 
 
If you happen to be traveling in a group of 20 or more,
tickets cost $7.00 for youth ages 2-11, and $11 for everybody 12 and older.
 
Schools may plan fieldtrips to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
Tickets for students are $3.50, and tickets for chaperones cost $6.00. College
students cost $6.00. If the school is located in the Cuyahoga County district,
students and chaperones (1 per 3 students) may visit for free.
 
Youth Groups (summer camps, YMCA, youth church camps, Girl
Scouts, Boy Scouts, headstarts and pre-schools not in a school building) may
visit the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for $5.00 per youth (ages 2-17) and $7.00
per chaperone.
 
In order to receive this discount, you must RSVP your group
one month before your visit date, and purchase your tickets 72 hours in
advance. Find out more about group visits here. Make sure to read over the disclaimer at the bottom of the page before planning
your trip!
 

Dining

 
 
Walking around all day can really bring on hunger pangs, but
the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has you covered! With options like Cape Café,
Matilda’s Grill in Australian Adventure, Okavango Café, and TreeTops Café, you
and your party definitely won’t go hungry. There is also a McDonald’s and a
Pizza Hut Express at the Welcome Plaza and Savanna Theater.
 
My favorite place to eat at the Zoo is TreeTops Café. Their
menu includes fresh, made to order sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, fries,
nachos, pretzels, and soft-serve yogurt. My favorite thing to eat is the
chicken tenders with fries, paired with a nice big glass of water. The serving
sizes are definitely generous, so come hungry, or split a meal with a loved
one.
 
Find out more about the dining options here
 

Enjoy!

 
 
I always enjoy my trips to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. I
love seeing all of the animals, exploring the different countries without even
leaving the county, and learning about how we can all make a difference in
conservation efforts and help save these beautiful, amazing animals. I hope you
all find your experiences as enjoyable as I find mine, and I can’t wait to hear
about your visit. Make sure to come back and let me know if you visit! I would
especially like to know what your favorite exhibit is.
 

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