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MDMC01

Cincinnati Zoo 11/11/2018

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So, I got back from exploring the zoo for the first time in a while (and my first solo trip!) and had a blast. Before I start, this won't be an ordinary trip report as I'll explain my thoughts on my Zoo trip, but it won't necessarily be in chronological order like most TR's are. Enjoy!

To start, I got a Zoo pass last Saturday from my parents as a gift for my 1 year anniversary at my job (which is a really big deal!) and decided to take my first trip this afternoon. During my journey, I saw and did some cool things and I also noticed a few things have changed, which can take some getting used to. (Also as a note, parts of the Zoo is currently under construction as part of their "More Home to Roam" initiative, so do keep that in mind if you plan to visit).

Upon entering, I headed to the P&G Discovery Center, which is basically a rainforest inside a greenhouse. Although it's not as big as its older counterpart Jungle Trails, I still enjoyed exploring the area and reading about the different kinds of plants and animal species in there- I even saw a macaw! After that awesomeness, I headed around the zoo and ended up near Base Camp Café (close to the zoo's old (Pre-Africa) entrance). I then explored the Children's Zoo and saw one of the keepers feeding the goats, which was cool. Although the goats were out and active, the gate to go play with them was locked for some reason (I later returned and pet a goat through the fence as the gate was still locked). After seeing the goats, wolves and otters, I headed into Wings of the World, where I noticed my first major change of the day. I guess they had redone it since the last time I'd been through as the colors where brighter and there was a random play area towards the end. Although I appreciated the new artwork on the wall near the entrance courtesy of a local artist, the changes really messed with me as I remember the building being darker (especially the end) and the penguin area being restructured). Also, the Australasia aviary seemed smaller (also, you could see into it from the outside thanks to some mesh) and the hornbills were moved to a separate habitat adjacent to the aviary (they were originally behind mesh in a separate area within the Australasia aviary), which was a shock to me.

Afterwards, I walked in the Garden of Peace exhibit (it was created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the nation of Israel) as well as went down Jungle Trails (all the bears except for the polar bear were not out, probably due to weather and also one of the enclosures was being used to expand the polar bear exhibit). Jungle Trails was cool and some of the darker inside portions reminded me of a Haunt maze (this won't be the first time I mention in this in the trip report- towards the end of the trip, I saw some guy with a Haunt hat on!). I also learned I'm not as fit as I used to be as I failed miserably at all of the physical activity stations lol. Afterwards, I went through the African Veldt and then Manatee Springs. I saw zebras, flamingos and rhinos. The interesting thing is that on both of my passthroughs, I saw different species of rhinos. On the first runthrough, I saw my favorite animal, the Indian Rhino, just hanging out near some foilage. The second time around, it wasn't out, but I did see two Black Rhinos, so I'm not sure if they were rotating the rhinos or what was going on (even though they are in two completely different exhibits). Manatee Springs was nice and warm, but there were no manatees, only fish. I overheard a keeper say that this is because one of the manatees likes to eat the fish's food. There were also some volunteers with a small bird and a snake that were around the second half of the exhibit.

Although it happened later in the trip, I'll go ahead and talk about it here since this exhibit is in this part of the zoo: I tried to go down Big Cat Canyon (where the White Lions are) and not only were they off exhibit (probably because of the weather),but there were two walls preventing guests from getting to the other side of the walkway (the walkway in question is high above the enclosure and used to circle around and exit out near Manatee Springs), which means guests have to backtrack to and exit out the way they entered. Not exactly sure what was going on, but oh well. So, on my first pass through of the area, I noticed the Picnic Grove had completely changed and there were two food trucks where a snack area stood (like, the snack area was completely torn out), which shocked me as I remember what used to be there. Though the Carousel was running, I did not ride, but I did do the 4D theatre (which was a Zen Ride!) during my second lap of the Zoo. They were showing Storks in 4D and it was fun and provided some interesting effects including rain, "snow" and wind. Also, that poking sensation used in the Polar Express returned, but caused me to yell "Oh my gosh!" in the middle of the film as I wasn't expecting it. After the film, I bought a water bottle, which was partially an impulse buy and partially not (the other ones I have leak in various ways and this one has a straw!).

During my first passthrough, I continued up the hill and went into Dragons! which is the Komodo Dragon exhibit. Before going in, I took a rest and hatched a Pokémon egg (though I didn't get the app out that much on my trip- the focus was on the animals- I did accrue a ton of distance during the trip thanks to the amazingness that is Adventure Sync, which allows me to walk my Pokémon and hatch eggs without having the app open). Dragons! was cool and it was nice that the exhibit showcased other lizards similar to the Komodo Dragon at the beginning. Moving right along, I went into the Insect World, which was nice. Another interesting change was with Gorilla World as they swapped the entrance and exit and put this semi-indoor viewing area for the gorillas at the very end of the exhibit. Also, I found a lot of old cellphones reminiscent of the cautionary bin found in Diamondback's queue, but these were recycled to help save gorillas. Continuing up the path, I went into Night Hunters, which uses most of the old Cat House of the indoor portion to showcase cats as well as nocturnal creatures. This exhibit felt like a Haunt maze as well as it was pretty dark in there (as that's the point) and I saw an Aardvark and some bats. I also walked through the outdoor portion of the exhibit (Cat Canyon), which featured tigers and snow leopards.

At some point, I briefly went into the Reptile House, which hasn't changed much but still houses some interesting creatures, including a Diamondback and alligators in the center. Speaking of Reptiles, the nearby Tortoise Encounter wasn't open for obvious reasons. A really nice surprise during the visit was getting to visit Wildlife Canyon, which the map said was closed (as it will become Roo Valley and will feature a kangaroo walkabout, a craft beer garden and a ropes course). Though the only animal down there was the Takin (which is perfectly fine with the weather as it is from the Tibet/China area), I enjoyed getting lots of pictures and video of the area as I know it will bite the dust soon for the new expansion. For those wondering, I think the exhibit's old inhabitants will be moved to the African Veldt area (also known as Rhino Reserve) for the time being. After taking one full lap of the zoo, I ate some lunch at Base Camp Café (literally the only food stand open, with the exception of a snack shop close to the front gate) and I think the pizza is better at Kings Island then there. It was still good and afterwards, I explored the Africa exhibit and had fun trying to identify the different animal tracks on the ground. I saw lions, meerkats (they were inside), an Ostrich, giraffes (two were outside and some were inside, which took me by surprise as one was so close to the glass) and the hippos. I finally got to see Fiona and oh my gosh, the paparazzi is real- apparently Fiona is really popular! I was amazed and mesmerized at how gracefully Bibi (I think- it was the only other hippo that was in there) was swimming for being so big, but on the same token, she could kill you as hippos are one of the most dangerous animals on earth.

The last thing I did before leaving was see the elephants. I originally didn't think it would be open (as the path seemed blocked off), but it turns out it was still open during construction. Since the keepers were cleaning up outside, the elephants were inside and I briefly caught a glimpse of them before leaving the building (Fun Fact: Even though they used to be my favorite animal, I was  terrified of elephants as a kid because of their loud trumpeting). Overall, I had a fantastic day at the Zoo and plan on going back from my birthday in early December. On that trip, I hope to play with the goats as well as get a picture of the Indian Rhino and get a T-Shirt at the gift shop (as I was eyeing one on the way out). Also, although I love Kings Island and all the rides, the Zoo is great as it seems more chill and relaxed compared to the thrills at KI.

Hope you enjoyed reading the trip report; pictures may or may not be included in another post in the thread.

-MDMC01

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13 hours ago, upstop said:

What a fantastic TR! I hope to go to the zoo during the Festival of Lights. What a fantastic event. Lots of fun. I still haven’t seen Fiona. Heck she’s practically full grown now. Can’t wait to see her though!

Depending on temperatures, you might not see any hippos out.

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The zoo states on their website what the temperature has to be in order for them to be out.

I went a couple weeks ago.  We went to the hippo exhibit first thing and we couldn`t see Fiona.  Right before we left, we made the trek all the way out to the hippo exhibit (it is on a really long path with one way in and one way out, not unlike getting to The Bat in the Action Zone.  It is still amazing to think that the entire Giraffe Ridge and hippo area used to be a parking lot.

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4 minutes ago, CoastersRZ said:

It is still amazing to think that the entire Giraffe Ridge and hippo area used to be a parking lot.

They're turning the Safari Camp/ Parking lot into the new Elephant exhibit which is going to be a huge improvement on the old elephant reserve. The only animal exhibit that will be compromised to make this new elephant exhibit happen is the White Lions which may be relocated somewhere else in the zoo or just taken to another zoo. 

 

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23 hours ago, SonofBaconator said:

They're turning the Safari Camp/ Parking lot into the new Elephant exhibit which is going to be a huge improvement on the old elephant reserve. The only animal exhibit that will be compromised to make this new elephant exhibit happen is the White Lions which may be relocated somewhere else in the zoo or just taken to another zoo. 

 

I wonder what will be replacing the (now) current Elephant exhibit- I think I heard the giraffes were moving there, but I'm not quite sure.

Also, if they are in fact removing the White Lion Exhibit (formally known as Big Cat Canyon), that explains why sections of the path were closed off last time I went. 

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15 minutes ago, MDMC01 said:

I wonder what will be replacing the (now) current Elephant exhibit- I think I heard the giraffes were moving there, but I'm not quite sure.

Also, if they are in fact removing the White Lion Exhibit (formally known as Big Cat Canyon), that explains why sections of the path were closed off last time I went. 

Big Cat Canyon is actually a whole different part of the zoo entirely where the tigers and snow leopards are- the white lions were its own exhibit entirely. 

Also the giraffes have their own exhibit custom made for human giraffe interacrion- moving them back to the old elephant enclosure would be a step in the wrong direction.

I personally think it might be a type of hoofed animal or multiple since the exhisting Elephant house can hold a lot of animals.

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19 hours ago, SonofBaconator said:

Big Cat Canyon is actually a whole different part of the zoo entirely where the tigers and snow leopards are- the white lions were its own exhibit entirely. 

Also the giraffes have their own exhibit custom made for human giraffe interacrion- moving them back to the old elephant enclosure would be a step in the wrong direction.

I personally think it might be a type of hoofed animal or multiple since the exhisting Elephant house can hold a lot of animals.

I believe that area (now known as Night Hunters) ws formally known as (just) Cat Canyon. Big Cat Canyon used to have tigers (I think?) and are where the White Lions are currently (Well, technically not currently right now, as they are off exhibit :P).

Link to an older map: http://www.cincinnativiews.net/images-3/Zoo in 1993.jpg 

EDIT: The zoo has changed a lot since that map was printed (1993); I remember using that map to get around as a kid.

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19 hours ago, SonofBaconator said:

 Also the giraffes have their own exhibit custom made for human giraffe interacrion- moving them back to the old elephant enclosure would be a step in the wrong direction.

Agreed!!! Went to the zoo for the first time this summer, enjoyed the whole thing, but this was one of my favorite parts...

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You are correct that Night Hunter/Cat Canyon is separate; my apologies. I always kinda thought it was one thing myself but I guess I didn't pay close enough attention lol.

Looking at that map, I realized that was a smart decision on the zoo's part as the old Cat House and Cat Canyon were close in proximity to each other; guess it was natural that they made it into one giant exhibit (imo).

EDIT: Just want to say that the White Lions are in fact out today. The path to Wildlife Canyon, however, is closed.

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The white lions have sorta become obsolete ever since the lions were added to the Africa section back in 2013. Their exhibit is outdated and "ghetto" in terms of how exhibits currently are so I'm kinda happy its going. 

I love how the zoo is constantly updating itself to stay fresh and relevant. They might not have the land that the Columbus or San Diego Zoos have but they do their best and it certianly shows

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