Thanks to the efforts of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, encounters with aquatic life are plentiful for tourists, the Ohioans returning home and for the curious Columbus locals alike. Read on for some of our favorite Aquarium experiences in Columbus.
Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
Aside from its impressive roster on the zoo side of the park and the thrills at Zoombezi Bay, the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium also boasts considerable wealth in marine life among its 800 species and more than 7,000 animals.
The Shores & Aquarium portion of the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium is a journey through the waters of the world and the lifestyles of some of the most iconic aquatic animals, including the miniature garden eel, bold Caribbean flamingo, stoic Aldabra Giant Tortoise, and the eccentric Humboldt penguins. A family of adorable California sea lions steals the show at the neighboring Jack Hanna’s (the one from TV) Adventure Cove, an exhibit showcasing their charming antics and the effort to protect them into the future.
More famously, in keeping in line with Jack Hanna’s passion to share the beauty and wonder of nature with the people in a wide variety of interactive experiences, this is for the hands-on visitor! Touch Bays for Stingrays and Sea Stars are a gentle, intimate way for visitors of all ages to personally touch and greet these docile creatures. The Manatee Coast Boat is a trip into the warm waters of Florida right here in Columbus, where visitors tour and learn about these gentle giants. The penguins as well as many other species at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium also have their own regular educational talks and Q&A sessions, where the keepers and caretakers answer all the questions you might have while watching the animals.
More specialized experiences are also available by appointment and a range in pricing for those who want a more individual and truly immersive experience. The ‘Behind The Marina Sea Lion Tour’ is an even closer look into the daily lives of the resident sea lions, and all of the workings and care that go into making it all possible. Night Hikes and Twilight Tours give a rare look into the after-hours routines of the animals here at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, where you and a small group are guided by Zoo and Aquarium staff into the nighttime activities.
Those passionate about animal care or are pursuing a career in Zoology and Conservation might be interested in the Animal Health Center, a look into the work of the Animal Health staff, their facilities, and their stories taking care of the residents of the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. Those who want to see it all behind-the-scenes can embark on the Animal Programs Tour or the VIP Behind The Scenes, with your own tour around the grounds with a personal guide, personal interviews, and meetings with the animal trainers and some of the biggest stars of the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium themselves!
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