Cincinnati Zoo to open African exhibit June 29

If this week’s visit was any indication, it isn’t just the children who will get a kick out of interacting with exotic and interesting animals.

When staffers from the Cincinnati Zoo stopped at our office in Dayton this week to promote their upcoming Africa exhibit, the media folks lined up like wide-eyed kids to greet Cue Ball (a ball python), Goblin (a white-faced scops owl), Boots (a leopard tortoise) and two giant Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

“It feels like a moving necklace,” said a grinning Kaity Conner, a television intern from Ohio University who’d just had a snake wrapped around her neck.

“She likes to be on your neck because it’s warm,” explained Kate Olukalns, coordinator for the zoo’s Wild Encounters. “But the less screaming or sudden movements you make, the better.”

The Cincinnati Zoo, rated eighth in the country by Parents Magazine in 2012, will host its largest exhibit opening on June 29 when “Africa” opens to the public. It’s Phase III of a $21 million five-phase project that, when completed, will be the largest exhibit on the zoo grounds.

The exhibit will include a herd of Maasai giraffe and a newly-expanded Giraffe Deck with a covered treehouse that allows visitors to get closer than ever to the zoo’s tallest residents. The two new African lions will have their own Pride rock, a la “The Lion King.”

“Visitors will come face-to-face with the lions through a glass wall in their new 11,200-square-foot exhibit,” explained the zoo’s Public Relations Manager Tiffany Barnes.

The new African cheetah exhibit features grasslands, a waterfall and a rippling creek. There’s Base Camp Cafe — the zoo’s new African-themed dining facility — that will feature more dining space and a new, expanded outside deck overlooking the African savanna.

The exhibit also will include a Circle of Love animal encounter open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. that will give visitors the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with the zoo residents like those giant cockroaches.

“If we didn’t have these we would all be living under a pile of trash!” said Conner, who studied zoology at Ohio State University.

Last year, 1.4 million visited the Cincinnati Zoo, which is open every day of the year except Christmas.

Watch for a complete wrap-up of the new exhibit in our Life section in July.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

D.L. STEWART: ‘Last class’ creates plenty more room for concern

Boarding an airplane is traumatic for me. It has nothing to do with a fear of flying. I’ve managed to put that in the back of my mind, although any time there are 10 or more consecutive seconds of turbulence it vaults to the front of my mind. My concern is walking through the first class or business section and looking down on the passengers...
Coupon deals of the week
Coupon deals of the week

Coupon availability and coupon values may vary within different regions or neighborhoods. All Laundry Detergent This week at CVS, All laundry detergent is on sale for $2.99. Use the $1 off one All laundry detergent coupon found in most of today’s RedPlum inserts. Plus, if you have the CVS Pharmacy app on your smartphone, and have your Extra Care...
PARENTING WITH DR. RAMEY: Why kids don’t reveal sexual abuse

At my Catholic high school in Massachusetts, it was well known that a few of the clergy were molesting various boys. While several of my friends spoke about this informally, I said nothing to any adult. I assumed that since it was such common knowledge around the school, that people in authority accepted such behavior. I’ve been thinking of my...
Why you shouldn’t ignore hand and wrist arthritis
Why you shouldn’t ignore hand and wrist arthritis

What starts out as a dull, deep aching pain in the hand may eventually lead to a less impressive golf swing or the inability to open a jar lid. ››RELATED: Older people should screen for Hepatitis C The progressive pain is known as arthritis in the hand and wrist, and if not caught and treated early could mean permanent loss...
6 easy side dishes anyone can make for Thanksgiving Day
6 easy side dishes anyone can make for Thanksgiving Day

Although the turkey will surely take center stage at your Thanksgiving table, a few unforgettable side dishes can't hurt. These simple sides won't take very much time or effort to pull together, but look (and taste) like a million bucks. This Thanksgiving Day, give your family a feast they won't forget by including a few of these easy-to-make dishes...
More Stories