A must see at the Cincinnati Zoo is the Cheetah Encounter, an unforgettable experience. Twice a day visitors can watch these amazing felines sprint at full speed and gaze in wonderment at the fastest land mammals on Earth. One of their cheetahs, Sarah, just set a new world record. I hope the Columbus Zoo has took notice of this exhibit when they add their own cheetahs to the Safari Africa expansion area.
Other highlights of the Cincinnati Zoo include the Jungle Trails exhibit area. I really enjoyed the jungle feel in that area and the whole section just flowed together very well. Many exhibits here also do not have glass or fences to look through. Many exhibits are designed with moats allowing guests unobstructed views of the exhibits - when they were out in the open.
I also really liked the innovative environmental initiatives, such as the giant solar panels over the Cincinnati Zoo parking lot (I’ve been clamoring for a long time that every Walmat in the US should put solar panels over their parking lots).
On the downside, this zoo has some really serious traffic flow problems. Many of the paths are just way too narrow. I don’t know how many times I got hit in the shins by one of the hundreds of strollers. I hope the new Africa area helps alleviate some of the problems around the cheetah and giraffe section, as that was the worst area to negotiate, especially after the cheetah encounter ended. The new Cat Canyon section was also disappointing (and again had a lot of bad congestion). I thought the snow leopard exhibit looked especially bad (incomplete) but is probably fine for the animals, as discussed in my interview with a zoo designer.
I think what makes the Columbus Zoo stand out compared to others like the Cincinnati Zoo is how well organized it is and in my book is one the reasons it is still my favorite zoo. The Cincinnati Zoo’s layout is a chaotic mess, with no obvious way to efficiently view all the exhibits without a lot of backtracking. Maybe I’m nitpicking here but as a zoo enthusiast that is my job.
That being said, the Cincinnati Zoo is still unique and is one of the only places in the world to view a few of their animals. Pictured below is the Cincinnati Zoo map from summer 2012. Visit the official website for the Cincinnati Zoo hours.
Check out our new Zoo maps page where I will be linking to all the pictures of zoo maps in my collections. I also created a new Zoo links page where you can find several valuable zoo resources.