HOOFit at the Columbus Zoo

Who’s up for a walk around the zoo?!

As I’ve shared before, I’m trying to walk more and keep track of my steps this year, and one of our favorite places to walk and explore is the Columbus Zoo. Zoe and I would go there every day if we could!

So imagine my delight when I learned Ohio Health has partnered with the zoo on the HOOFit walking program to encourage people to get more activity by exploring the zoo.

As part of the Hoofit program, you can attend hosted walks at the Columbus Zoo with Ohio Health physicians, getting the chance to ask questions and learn more about improving your health. These walks also usually include an opportunity to meet some of the zoo’s animals and characters, too.

The HOOFit zoo walks are free with your paid admission or membership to the zoo. You should plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early to check in with the HOOFit team. Once you are inside the zoo, look for the HOOFit volunteers wearing the neon green HOOFit t-shirts. They will direct you to the Activity Pavilion where the walks start.

All HOOFit walks begin at 9:30 am unless otherwise noted. Upcoming walks and topics include:

  • April 25 – stroke awareness
  • May 23 – cancer prevention
  • June 20 – sports medicine
  • July 25 – spine health
  • August 29 – women’s heart health
  • September 26 – cold weather wellness (this walk starts at 10:30 am)

If you’re interested in attending one of the HOOFit walks for free, you’re in luck. The good folks at Ohio Health have provided me with two sets of free Columbus Zoo tickets (four per family) to give away to my readers. If you’d like to enter, simply comment on this post and let me know your favorite “zoo walk” at the Columbus Zoo or your local zoo.

My favorite treks at Columbus are either walking up through North America to the polar bears (steep hills = good workout, especially pushing a stroller!) or up through the other side of the zoo to the gorillas.

The best part about our zoo is that all the uphill walking is in the beginning when you’re fresh. At the end of your visit, when you may be starting to get tired, it’s all downhill back to your car!

Another cool aspect of the HOOFit partnership is the step “calculator” – they have counted out the steps so that you know how much you’re walking even if you don’t wear a pedometer or Fitbit. If you cover the entire Columbus Zoo, you’ve walked either 8,277, 6,194 or 5,238 steps depending upon your size and step length! No wonder Zoe still likes to ride in her stroller on zoo days. That’s a lot of hoofing for a little one.

I can’t wait to spend more wonderful mornings and afternoons walking around the zoo now that the weather’s getting warmer. How about you? What’s your favorite thing to do at the Columbus Zoo, and have you visited any of Ohio’s other zoos? I am hearing great things about some of the other zoos and hope to hit at least a couple this summer!

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.


    1. Thanks, Rachel! Have you checked out the “habitat house” on the way up to North America? I think so many people walk right by it, but it’s actually super cool inside (and another nice shady place, too!)

  1. We would love to come to the Columbus Zoo. We’ve never been, but my niece lives there and raves about it. We’ve always said one day we’ll go up and all go together. Here at the Cincinnati Zoo, we love the Jungle Trails. The bonobos are so fun. There’s always a baby on exhibit it seems and they come right up to the glass and touch it or play chase with the kids as they run back and forth. There is always lots of laughter in this area.

    1. Susie, I definitely think your boys would love seeing the polar bears at Columbus Zoo. It’s a pretty amazing exhibit! Hope you’ll get the chance. 😉

  2. I have never been to the Columbus Zoo…but we love the Cincinnati Zoo! I think the Cincinnati Zoo was designed around the idea of exercice because no matter which way you go at our zoo, you end up having to go up a big hill at the end! I agree with Susie and have to say that we enjoy Jungle Trails. It is a nice shaded pathway! But my favorite is the Wolf Woods becasue it leads you down to the River Otters! They are my FAVORITE zoo animal! (I fell in love with them when I went to the zoo in Cali, Colombia.) They have so much personality and like to “interact” with you as you watch them! They are really pretty awesome! I also love Rhino Reserve because Rhinos are my other favorite animals. (I have a tattoo of one to prove it!) I also love Wildlife Canon because there are more rhinos and camels…….and Emus! The emus are oddly a lot of fun to interact with as well!
    As a side note, the Cali zoo (In Colombia South America) was amazing! All the walkways were cobblestone. Everything was very natural and rustic. Not that you can travel to visit it…so you will have to take my word on it….but it is a amazingly beautiful zoo.

    1. Annie, now I have Colombia on my wish list, thanks! I haven’t been to Cinci Zoo in a while but I know it’s first rate. We definitely need to get down there this summer.

  3. For us, it’s the gorrillas! Paxton just loves those crazy guys. Can’t wait to see what Ryder goes for though 🙂

    1. Kailyn, we love them too! I can’t wait until they can go back out to their outside exhibit. Even though we can get up close with them when they’re inside, I always feel the gorillas themselves are having more fun when they are out there. Come on, spring! 😉

      1. YAY! I’ve never won anything… like, seriously, anything. I am SO excited! Thank you!! These will be put to GOOD use this summer!

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