I cherish my memories of zoo trips with Zoe at all her ages and stages.
On our days off together, Z and I often headed to the zoo. We had certain traditions and rituals during those early zoo days together that made them even more fun.
First, on our way there, we would always sing the children’s song, “We’re Going to the Zoo.” You can sing it the traditional way or fancy it up a bit like Raffi, but either way, it’s just fun to sing while driving to the Columbus Zoo. We still sing this song together to this day anytime we head for the zoo!
Another tradition was packing a lunch and having a picnic there. I never liked the food at the zoo so if we didn’t pack a lunch from home, we would go through the Panera drive-through on Sawmill and pick up lunch to bring in with us. Since we were headed to the zoo, I would give Z’s lunch items zoo-themed names. She sometimes still asks for a “tiger-striped grilled cheese” from Panera!
A third zoo tradition for me personally is that I’ve always loved writing about our zoo adventures. As a result, here on the blog we’ve amassed quite a collection of zoo content!
Here are all of our past posts about the Columbus Zoo and all the fun we’ve had there over the years.
- New summer fun in Columbus – In 2012, when Zoe was two, Stingray Bay first opened and it rocked our world. Getting to see stingrays up close – and better yet, getting to carefully touch them with two fingers – was HUGE for toddler Z! I can recall years of giving her baths at night and having her magically turn into a gliding, flapping stingray. She would insist I only wash her back with two fingers, just like they taught us at Stingray Bay. And she still adores this zoo attraction to this day!
- HOOFIT at the Columbus Zoo – In 2013, OhioHealth partnered with the zoo on a walking program to get people more active. Walking at the zoo is great because you don’t even notice you’re exercising – and at a zoo our size, you can really rack up some steps! This post includes steps counts for walking to the various areas and “lands” at the Columbus Zoo. Clearly, we wrote this before people had Fitbits and smartphones tracking their every step.
- Dinosaur Island: a must-do at the zoo – Also in 2013, the beloved Islands boat ride at the Columbus Zoo was transformed by the addition of animatronic, spitting and roaring dinosaurs. The Dinosaur Island ride was a blast then – and still is today, even with older kids. At first, Dinosaur Island was only meant to be a one-time occurrence but it was so popular that it’s now an annual event at Columbus Zoo. We can’t wait for summer when the dinosaurs come back and we can cruise through on a riverboat for thrills and chills!
- Ohio’s grand carousels – Although this post isn’t exclusively about the Columbus Zoo, it’s worth noting because our zoo is home to a historic and magnificent carousel. This Columbus Zoo treasure is an authentic 1914 Mangel-Illions carousel complete with 52 restored original horses, chariots and a band organ. It’s also quite a fast carousel so lots of fun for kids of all ages – and their parents, too.
- Top 10 reasons to “ride all day” at the zoo – When Z was almost four, we hit our peak zoo-going years. At about that age, we discovered the zoo wristbands that allow kiddos to ride everything in the park all day, and that became Z’s favorite thing ever. Prior to the wristband, we had a hard time prying her off the rides. With the wristband, she could just keep riding her favorites over and over again as we watched from the sidelines. Life is good with the wristband!
- The Columbus Zoo is freaking fantastic right now – Here’s why November, during the zoo’s off-season, is one of our favorite times to go: maximum animal viewing, minimal crowds! In this post, we wrote about the amazing new sea lions and seals’ habitat in Adventure Cove. It was such a great addition and is still one of our favorite areas of the zoo in any season.
- Revel in the red panda experience at the Columbus Zoo – Columbus Zoo offers several pricey but cool VIP animal encounters and tours. We finally splurged on one last year and it was amazing – worth every penny. We got to hand-feed, hang out and have our photo taken with the zoo’s red pandas, and they’re basically our besties now. You wish you were us!
- 5 best things to see at the Columbus Zoo this month – Written last spring, this was a roundup of some of our favorite critter sightings at the zoo, including the adorable baby elephant, Frankie, who will turn two this June. We could have watched him play all day. He’s a hoot!
We hope you enjoyed reading all of our zoo posts as much as we enjoyed writing them. Now that you’ve read our favorite content about the Columbus Zoo, I’m sure you’re dying to head there yourself.
You never know – maybe we’ll see you there!