Giraffe, monkey and elephant illustration (photo by iStock)

Go Wild: Ohio Animal Attractions

These attractions allow travelers to get up close to animals you don't see every day in Ohio.

African Safari Wildlife Park, Port Clinton

Visitors can come face to face with exotic animals — including American bison, giraffes, sika deer and zebras — at this wildlife park’s Drive-Thru Safari, which has a 22-acre expansion underway. (They’ll even eat right out of your hand!) The park’s Walk-Thru Safari features smaller creatures, from exotic birds to tortoises to red kangaroos.

The Wilds, Cumberland
Feel like you’ve traveled across the globe without leaving Ohio at The Wilds, a 10,000-acre safari park and conservation center. Take a guided Open-Air Safari tour to learn about the dozens of animals roaming the park — from ostriches to cheetahs. Extend the roaring fun overnight at Nomad Ridge, The Lodge, The Wilds’ Cabins at Straker Lake or WildNights at the Outpost. 

Safari Adventures Animal Park, Sandusky 
This unique animal experience located at Sandusky’s Kalahari Resorts & Conventions allows you to get up close to cool creatures for photo opportunities. Visitors can buy carrots to feed the animals, which include kangaroos, goats, rabbits and wallabies. Kids can even help walk pygmy goats, donkeys and baby calves.

Idle-Hour Ranch, Troy
Queenie the sloth has been the star of this animal sanctuary in Troy for the last five years. Enjoy feeding and petting Queenie, along with the opportunity to interact with other gentle animals such as the ring-tailed lemurs and kangaroos. Idle-Hour Ranch also offers a range of activities, such as gemstone mining and horse and camel rides. 

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Powell
Adventure Cove debuted at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium last summer with a splash, showcasing seas lions and seals. (The zoo also recently welcomed a giraffe calf, sea lion pup and red panda cubs.) From the 43-acre Heart of Africa savanna to Stingray Bay, the 
zoo teaches about conservation and the world beyond our backyards.