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Columbus Zoo PTR 04/09/10


Tomkatt7
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We live in Columbus, but we do not seem to take advantage of how close we are to the zoo. It is ranked high every year for best zoo, and we really have a great time every time we visit. We decided to grab the new camera, and take a quick unplanned trip. Sometimes those seem to be the best ones.

We started off out trip through Asia, because the little one wanted to see the tigers. Before we could see the animals outside, we had to walk through the building. In there were Flying Foxes, Fluffy the huge reticulating python, and across the path were the rhino, and elephants. Momma had a baby last year, and they still stick close together!

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We headed on over after that to the lion enclosure. One of the females was standing with her nose right up against the fence. The zoo keeper told us that she can see the tiger from there, and they like to "flirt" with each other. In the enclosure was a couple of females, 3 cubs, and a male lion. They were just laying around, soaking up the sun.

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Around the back of the pond, and under the tunnel we went. When you come out of the tunnel, the flamingo's are right in front of you, with the alligators next door to them.

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After that, we went to what I feel is one of the best parts of the zoo. Discovery Reef, and the Manatee recovery center. The reef is a huge floor to ceiling aquarium, and living reef. Manatee Bay receives injured Manatees from Florida. Puts them on display until they recover enough to be released back to the wild. They have 4 new babies now, but they aren't on display yet. 3 of them have frostbite from the harsh winter, and one has boat prop injuries.

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When we came out of Manatee Bay, we headed across the path to the Reptile house. Not many pictures there, they don't seem to turn out too well with the low light, and glass fronts to the cages :(

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We wanted to head back to the Australia area, and the gorilla's, but first, we couldn't get the little one past the carousel without at least one ride. It is a really nice ride. Made in 1914, they restored it, and put it indoors to keep it out of the weather. It looks nice except for the many runs and drips on the polyurethane coating covering the horses.

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Now we get to go visit Australia and the islands. Back here we saw the kangaroos, the Bird Avery, and the leopard.

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After this, we went back to see the gorillias. They really are a reflection of humans. One was constantly piccking his noew and eating his boogers, and one was chewing grass, then spitting it back in to his hand, and then eating it again.

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There was a very strange looking animal on our way back towards the front of the zoo. It was called an Okapi. It had a head like a giraffe, a butt like a zebra, and the body like a horse. Very strange. The sign said it is the only known relative to the giraffe, the stripes function as a guide for the young ones to follow them, and the kids at the zoo really seemed to love these things.

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One last enclosure on this side of the zoo, and then we headed back up front, and in to the North America area.

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Once in North America, we got to see animals we were a little more familiar with. A Trumpeter Swan, and a Mexican Wolf.

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Bison, and some Prairie Dogs

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The Grizzly Bear

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The big American cat goes by three different names, Cougar, Puma, or Mountain Lion. No matter what you call it, just don't come across on in the woods!

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The cute little Lynx.

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We finished up our trip with some really good shots of the Bald Eagle. The Columbus Zoo released 18 Bald Eagles back to the wild between 1980 and 2001.

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Overall a really good trip. It was a little chilly, but the sunshine felt good. the animals were pretty active, and that made for a good viewing experience. I wish we could have seen the baby manatees, and the keepers we talked to said the new Polar Bears are on site, but the exhibit isn't complete yet, so they aren't on display yet. This means we will have to return for another visit. I guess that's not a bad thing.

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Great PTR. I love going to the Zoo. It did seem like the animals were more active then normal. Might just have to head over tomorrow for a quick trip. We are members so going to the zoo for an hour or so is an easy thing to do.

I can't wait for the polar bear exhibit to open. They were my favorite at the Cincy Zoo

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I remember that too. Of course when they were here before the enclosure was much more like an out door prison cell.

POLAR FRONTIER in North AmericaThe cool will return to the Zoo on May 6, 2010! Polar Frontier is a state-of-the-art interactive exhibit that will be home to two polar bears, two Alaskan brown bears and Arctic fox.

Polar bears are back! Their new 1.3-acre yard is specially designed to be the ultimate polar bear habitat - with lots of rocks, two pools, smell ports, dig pits and shelters. The still pool is about 167,000 gallons and has areas where guests can view the bears from above, at eye-level and from below.

Polar Frontier also includes the Batelle Ice Bear Outpost - an interpretive center with engaging games. There is also a polar themed playground area for children.

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I remember that too. Of course when they were here before the enclosure was much more like an out door prison cell.

And the worst part? The old Polar Bear grotto was actually renovated out of what used to be five seperate exhibits. All the bears used to share that barn and there was a small rock grotto for each. The bears were in those conditions until the mid-80's.

From the Columbus Dispatch, Friday, November 15, 1985

Snowball, Zero and Shivers will get a bigger swimming pool and some other home improvements thanks to Columbus voters.

The city plans to spend from $100,000 to $200,000 next year from a $51 million bond issue package to upgrade accommodations for the three polar bears at the Columbus Zoo, according to James W. Barney, Columbus Recreation and Parks director. Improvements also will be made to exhibits of other bears.

The city earmarked $1 million for capital improvements at the zoo over the life of the five-year bond issue package approved last week. Day-to-day operations at the zoo will be funded by a 0.25-mill property tax levy also approved in the Nov. 5 election.

Although specific plans for the improved bear lair haven't been drawn up yet, Don Winstel, curator of mammals at the zoo, said the five bear exhibits probably will be arranged into a single exhibit with three sections featuring the polar bears.

The grizzly and black bears now housed in the area will be moved to the zoo's North American exhibit, Winstel said.

The zoo is operating under a temporary waiver from U.S. Department of Agriculture rules because the polar bear exhibit does not meet federal Marine Mammals Act standards, Winstel said. The act requires that polar bear exhibits be of a certain size, including the pool where the Arctic natives spend much of their time.

Winstel said the animals are not uncomfortable, but their home needs some work.

He said the project will include repairing and enlarging the grotto, constructing a waterfall, and a new, larger pool which may allow visitors to watch the bears swim underwater from a glassed-in viewing area.

And do you remember when the new bear, who was wild-born, nearly escaped as she was let into the enclosure?

From the Columbus Dispatch, Saturday, May 9, 1987:

Taking a polar bear out of the wild is not the same as taking the wild out of a polar bear.

A leap for freedom by a 500-pound female polar bear came up just short yesterday in the Columbus Zoo as hundreds of visitors gaped. The bear had been captured in the Hudson Bay area in Canada.

"We didn't know what a wild polar bear would do," said zoo Director Jack Hanna.

Yesterday was the bear's first day at the zoo. Moments after her release into an enclosure, the bear tried to leap the 12-foot moat. She came within inches of escape.

VISITORS, including many schoolchildren, stood four or five deep in front of the enclosure to get a look at the new arrival.

Witnesses gave this account:

After being released from the den in the rear of the enclosure, the bear explored her new home. She stood on her hind feet, apparently measuring the walls. Then she took a dip in her pool.

She turned and seemed to glare at the moat wall. In a split second, she jumped for the wall.

Her claws reached the top of the wall, but she couldn't pull herself up. She slid into the water. She left claw marks from the top of the moat wall to the bottom. The moat is 18 feet deep.

Vicki Davison, zoo education program coordinator, was in the front row. She found herself eye-to-eye with the bear.

"Its head was outside, but it slid down inside the moat. Its face was two to three feet away from me," she said.

"My first reaction was to get out of there."

BUT SHE and other zoo officials began to herd people away. Others on hand included Patty Cupps; her husband, Bill Cupps; Julie Estadt, zoo photographer; and Jennie Pettit from the education department.

Security guard George Ginunas grabbed a .30-06-caliber rifle from his truck.

"I don't think the public realized what was happening. The whole place was packed," Mrs. Cupps said.

Mr. Cupps, head keeper of the bears, said, "I didn't think she could make it, but she almost did.

"If she would have gotten her paws a little higher than her head, she could have pulled herself out."

Hanna said other polar bears in the zoo collection were bred in captivity in Holland. None has tried to escape, he said.

The bear probably would have made a run for the Scioto River, a hundred yards to the west, where people were picnicking, he said.

PLANS ARE being made to raise the height of the moat wall, he said. Visitors will probably have to stand on an elevated platform to see over the wall.

"We should have the bear on exhibit next week," Hanna said.

The 16-year-old bear was captured in Manitoba in 1971, 1973, 1975 and 1983. Each time, she was released. In 1975 she had one cub. In 1983 she had triplets.

The bear was caught again Oct. 6 with three more cubs. The cubs were weaned, and she was held for zoo placement.

Zoo officials hope the wild bear will provide a much-needed new blood line to zoo collections.

::emphasis added::

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I do not remember the near escape.I take it that happened awhile back. Reason being that Jungle Jack was there, and the fact that no one sued the zoo for "mental trauma" LOL

If I had one complaint about the zoo, it would be the scattered set up. It looks like they are trying to set the exhibits up by continent, which would be really cool if they do that completely. I may just not be giving them enough time but the Australia and the Islands was put in awhile ago, last year the Asia building, and now the new bear exhibit is going in to North America. Where is Africa, and South America? Why are the penguins between alligators, which should be in North America, and the reptile house? With the current location of the Gorilla exhibit, and the Pachyderm building, they are going to have trouble trying to put the Africa animals together. I want my giraffes and zebras back too!!! LOL

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I do not remember the near escape.I take it that happened awhile back. Reason being that Jungle Jack was there, and the fact that no one sued the zoo for "mental trauma" LOL

If I had one complaint about the zoo, it would be the scattered set up. It looks like they are trying to set the exhibits up by continent, which would be really cool if they do that completely. I may just not be giving them enough time but the Australia and the Islands was put in awhile ago, last year the Asia building, and now the new bear exhibit is going in to North America. Where is Africa, and South America? Why are the penguins between alligators, which should be in North America, and the reptile house? With the current location of the Gorilla exhibit, and the Pachyderm building, they are going to have trouble trying to put the Africa animals together. I want my giraffes and zebras back too!!! LOL

Well, the first half of Africa is in the African Forest, back along the river. This portion has the jaguars, drills, bonobos (one of only a few zoos in the counrty to have them), drills, and Gorillas. In 2012, the zoo is supposed to open an African Savannah exhibit, which will hold lions, african elephants, hippos, giraffes, zebras, gazelles, and other savannah animals. This exhibit (which is rumored to be around 70 acres!) will go on currently empty land purchased from a church a few years ago. The zoo is also planning a "Madagascar" Biome on another seperate expansion pad inbetween Asia Quest and North America.

Once the Savannah is complete, you'll have a zoo made up completely of "Biomes": North America, Asia, African Forest, African Savannah, The Islands Of SE Asia, Australia, and the Shores.

The penguins, alligators, discovery reef, manatees, and reptiles make up the "Shores" region of the zoo. A sea lion pool has long been rumored for this area as well, in the large grassy field that sits infront of the Discovery Reef and Manatee Coast. This area was formerly taken up by the Johnson Aquatic Complex until it was demolished in the early 2000s.

I should note that arranging the animal collection into "Biomes" is different than standard geographical classification, as a Biome is grouped by climate conditions. Even though all the animals in the Shores region aren't necessarily from the same geographical area, they share climate characteristics.

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I do not remember the near escape.I take it that happened awhile back. Reason being that Jungle Jack was there, and the fact that no one sued the zoo for "mental trauma" LOL

If I had one complaint about the zoo, it would be the scattered set up. It looks like they are trying to set the exhibits up by continent, which would be really cool if they do that completely. I may just not be giving them enough time but the Australia and the Islands was put in awhile ago, last year the Asia building, and now the new bear exhibit is going in to North America. Where is Africa, and South America? Why are the penguins between alligators, which should be in North America, and the reptile house? With the current location of the Gorilla exhibit, and the Pachyderm building, they are going to have trouble trying to put the Africa animals together. I want my giraffes and zebras back too!!! LOL

Well, the first half of Africa is in the African Forest, back along the river. This portion has the jaguars, drills, bonobos (one of only a few zoos in the counrty to have them), drills, and Gorillas. In 2012, the zoo is supposed to open an African Savannah exhibit, which will hold lions, african elephants, hippos, giraffes, zebras, gazelles, and other savannah animals. This exhibit (which is rumored to be around 70 acres!) will go on currently empty land purchased from a church a few years ago. The zoo is also planning a "Madagascar" Biome on another seperate expansion pad inbetween Asia Quest and North America.

Once the Savannah is complete, you'll have a zoo made up completely of "Biomes": North America, Asia, African Forest, African Savannah, The Islands Of SE Asia, Australia, and the Shores.

The penguins, alligators, discovery reef, manatees, and reptiles make up the "Shores" region of the zoo. A sea lion pool has long been rumored for this area as well, in the large grassy field that sits infront of the Discovery Reef and Manatee Coast. This area was formerly taken up by the Johnson Aquatic Complex until it was demolished in the early 2000s.

I should note that arranging the animal collection into "Biomes" is different than standard geographical classification, as a Biome is grouped by climate conditions. Even though all the animals in the Shores region aren't necessarily from the same geographical area, they share climate characteristics.

Thanks for the response. It all makes sense once it is explained. I really like the biomes idea. I think I like the savanah idea as much as any of them. To see all those giants roaming 70 acres will be special. I have only seen the Rhino in his cage inside ever sense the big "rocky" display went away.

We have talked everyday sense our trip about going back in May to see the new bear exhibit, and the baby manatees. I think the zoo should get used to seeing us! The 109 dollar family pass seems like a great investment.

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Sweet pics!

One of the gorillas there (it may have been the one you got a pic of) continually barfs, then slurps it up. Over and over again. Then there is another that has its mouth hanging open all the time like something is wrong with it..had a stroke? I don't know. Apes are always so fascinating... and disturbing.

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Oldiesmann- The Columbus Zoo is Awesome! and it seems to get better every year. Like I was talking about with WSYXguy, the new bear exhibit set to open in May is supposed to be a state of the art facility that could change the way we get to see the animals. Check out the zoo if you can, it is a very relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

Alluna- I don't know enough about the animals individually to tell one from the other, but I can tell you that there was one gorilla that was constantly barfing in his hand and eating it. He was sitting right beside the booger picker, By that, I mean the gorilla pictured, not my 5 year old!!! LOL

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