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Ohio – The Wilds

I think it’s about time that I wrote a post about my home state of Ohio.  While there are many wonderful things to see in my home city of Cincinnati, which my co-author and I wrote about in our book, Adventures Around Cincinnati, today I’m going to tell you about one of my favorite attractions in Ohio which isn’t in my book because it isn’t within two hours of Cincinnati.

The Wilds is a wildlife conservation center that looks like it belongs in Africa, or at least somewhere more exotic than Ohio.

Take a closer look–those are animals down there.  Lots of different species of animals roam around freely and go swimming together whenever they want. Cool, huh?

Our tour guide told us that the difference between The Wilds and a zoo is that in a zoo, the people roam around freely while the animals are contained.  At The Wilds, the animals roam freely while the people are contained.  And what are those people contained in?  One of these:

Courtesy of G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Or these:

Courtesy of G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Or even one of these:

Courtesy of G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

There are a variety of tour options at The Wilds. They even have a catchy acronym:  pick your own P.A.C.E., which stands for Personal Adventure in Conservation Education. The least expensive touring option is the Safari Transport Pass, a fancy name for a ride in an enclosed air-conditioned bus. The tour lasts a little over two hours and takes you through the open animal range and stops at several locations including the Mid-Sized Carnivore Conservation Center. This tour costs $20 for adults and $15 for kids (4-12). The Open-Air Safari is more expensive ($30 per person regardless of age) and sacrifices air-conditioned comfort in favor of more convenient animal viewing and photography opportunities. This tour lasts 2.5 hours and was the tour we took on our last visit. There’s also a shorter version of the Open-Air Safari called the Wilds Animal Encounter.  It lasts 1.5 hours and is $30 for adults and $15 for kids. Here are some of the animal photos we took on our Open-Air Safari:

At one of the stops, we had the opportunity to feed some fish.

At the Mid-Sized Carnivore Conservation Center, you might get to spot a cheetah.

During your tour, not only will you get to see lots of animals, you will learn about conservation efforts.  Scientists at The Wilds engage in interesting research as well as teaching.

There are also more exotic and expensive tour options.  The Wildside Tour has a maximum of just eight people who ride in the back of a pickup truck and costs $125 per person.  The Sunset Safari includes a buffet dinner followed by a tour in the open-air vehicles and costs $75 per person.

For the really adventurous travelers, there are even more options.   How about a Zipline Safari?!

Courtesy of G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Or a Horseback Safari?

Courtesy of G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Other options include a Fishing Safari, Weekend Family Camps, mountain bike trails, and birding events.

The Wilds is located in Cumberland, OH, a rural area about an hour and a half from Columbus, OH.  That’s certainly more convenient than Africa, right?

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