I purchased our tickets 1-2 weeks in advance and the earliest entrance time available was 2 pm and they closed at 5 pm.
Even though that gave us enough time to explore the zoo, it would have been nice if we had had a little more time.
We arrived to the zoo around 1:30 pm to see if they would let us in and thankfully they did.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is the second oldest zoo in the United States, founded in 1873 and officially opening in 1875. It originally began with 64.5 acres in the middle of the city but has since expanded to 75 acres.
The Zoo features more than 500 animals and 3,000 plant species, making it one of the largest Zoo collections in the country.
Tip: The oldest zoo in America is the Philadelphia Zoo. It opened in 1874.
There were flowers blooming all over!
As one of only two accredited botanical gardens in Ohio, the Cincinnati Zoo offers one of the largest tulip displays in the Midwest. Dubbed “Tulip Mania,” Zoo Blooms also features more than one million daffodils, hyacinths, flowering trees, shrubs and other spring bulbs exploding with color.
We took a picture of the map of the zoo so we could use our time wisely and see everything we wanted to see.
Click here for an interactive map of the zoo
We first spotted the Elephant exhibit first..
Next were the giraffes where, for a few dollars, you had the opportunity to feed them. We decided to pass on this since we’ve had this experience before at other zoos and since our time was limited.
For $4 pp, you can take a train around the zoo..
Next exhibits were the Cheetahs, African Safari (that included several animals), painted dogs and the lions.
Next was the hippo exhibit & unbeknownst to us, this zoo had a famous hippo named Fiona!
Fiona was born 6 weeks premature at the Cincinnati Zoo. She is the smallest hippo ever to survive. She only weighed 29 pounds; the recorded range of birth weights for the species at that time was 55–120 pounds.
She is now 4 years old and very healthy!
Next we headed to the “Wings of the World” exhibit…
This exhibit featured birds from all over the world….
My favorite was the puffin! We saw puffins on our trip to Iceland a few years ago.
We enjoyed seeing the penguins too
Next we headed to see the Visayan Warty pigs….they were being lazy so we headed to the next exhibit.
We saw the Galapagos Tortoise & the Arctic Fox….a lot of the animals seemed to be sleeping or inactive.
Next we headed to the Reptile House.
The oldest American zoo building, the Reptile House was built in 1875 in Turkish style and is a National Historic Landmark.
Originally housing monkeys, the building is now home to more than 35 reptile species, including snakes, lizards, turtles and alligators, from around the world.
We saw lots of snakes & other interesting animals.
After leaving the reptile house, we spotted several bald eagles.
We then headed to the Cat Canyon section where we saw cougars, tigers, snow leopards and more.
Next was Gorilla World… these gorillas were huge!
Next we saw the Andean Condor. The Andean Condors are among the largest flying birds in the world. It has the largest wing area of any bird.
While flying, the condor only flaps its wings about once an hour. It’s wingspan gets up to 10.5 ft. These birds weigh around 18-33 lbs and can live up to 50 yrs.
After seeing the condor, we headed back to see the hippos one last time before we left the zoo.
While we were there, the zoo was featuring these painted barrels to raise awareness for storm water conservation.
One last pic with Fiona!
After seeing the hippos, we left the zoo and headed to LaRosa’s for pizza!
LaRosa’s has been serving their delicious pizza since 1954…it was soooo good!
I haven’t had pizza in a very long time because, as some of you know, I eat a strict diet…except, I usually splurge a bit when on vacation!
After pizza, I splurged again on dessert at the famous Graeter’s Ice Cream!
Graeter’s was founded in 1870 by Louis C. Graeter. The company has since expanded to 50 retail locations selling ice cream, candy and baked goods. It further distributes its ice cream to 6,000 stores throughout the country.
I ordered a scoop of cookie dough & a scoop of cookies & cream…my husband ordered the blackberry chocolate chip with chocolate fudge topping….the ice cream was delicious!
After ice cream, we called it a night.
The next day, we checked out of our hotel and headed home.
Thanks for reading!
My next blog posts will be on NC (was supposed to be Yosemite but we had to cancel because I got sick), Glacier National Park, St Louis & we are still deciding on a location for a long weekend in Dec!