Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Zoo in Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Zoo in Cincinnati, Ohio

Snow Leopard Relaxing Photo © Mark Dumont

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Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

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Southern White-Faced
	Scops Owl - Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
Southern White-Faced Scops Owl - Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Photo by jjjj56cp
This zoo upholds its mission statement of “adventure, education, conservation, and community” every day. Originally home to less than 500 animals, over 400 of those being birds, it has now grown into a large contributor to what makes Cincinnati, Ohio tick. On the one hand, you will find an inner-city zoological park, but it is much more than that. The Cincinnati zoo partners with local schools and maintains a large educational resource center.

In addition, the zoo also operates in Conservation and Research for Endangered Wildlife (CREW) through its Lindner Center. As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, and one of only two accredited botanical gardens in Ohio, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens proves to be a must see when in Cincinnati!


The Cincinnati Zoo was originally founded on 65 acres of land in the middle of town. With help from the Zoological Society of Cincinnati, founded in 1873, doors officially opened to the public in 1875. This makes Cincinnati Zoo the second oldest zoo in the United States behind the Philadelphia Zoo in Pennsylvania.

When the zoo first opened, it was home to a very small collection of animals made up of just eight monkeys, two bears, three deer, six raccoons, two elk, a buffalo, a hyena, a tiger, an alligator, an elephant, and over four hundred birds. In well over one hundred years of history the zoo has expanded in size and number of animals dramatically!

The zoo also has a long history with captive breeding and conservation efforts. After about one hundred years of captive breeding, the zoo finally established the Lindner Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) in 1986. This has simply upheld their long-standing commitment to conservation of both endangered plant and animal species.

115e turk's cap lily -
	Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
115e turk's cap lily - Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Photo by jjjj56cp


"Chin Up!" -
	Polar Bears - Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
"Chin Up!" - Polar Bears - Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Photo by Valerie
The Cincinnati Zoo is made up of over 20 animal exhibits. In addition, the zoo prides itself in the beautiful botanical gardens scattered throughout the entire park. In addition to the animal exhibits and gardens, there is a train ride that circles around the zoo and serves as yet another popular attraction awaiting visitors. Also, there are daily events at the zoo that include interesting features such as talks with zookeepers, and a display of how fast cheetahs can run, among others. Some of the notable animal exhibitions include:


This is a large exhibit that is still growing. It features many of the mammals that are characteristic to Africa. This exhibit showcases lions, cheetahs, painted dogs, vultures, giraffes, and more. Africa has been designed to reflect the true landscape of the continent including waterfalls, streams, and a congregating place for lions.

Elephant Reserve

This exhibit reminds visitors of the zoo’s ongoing conservation efforts, and why it merits a place as a national historic landmark. The architecture of the main building in the Elephant Reserve is a massive structure that was constructed in 1906. With a Taj Mahal-esque feel to the design, it is one of the more popular buildings in the zoo. This exhibit is home to the Asian Elephant (Wikipedia
	Article), a species at risk that the Cincinnati Zoo continues to try and preserve from extinction.

Cat Canyon

The Cat Canyon exhibit gives an up-close look at some of the most admired big cats. The exhibit offers viewing from a variety of angles, including a viewing space that puts you just inches away from the majestic Malayan tiger. In addition to Malayan tigers, the Cat Canyon exhibit also features snow leopards, white tigers, and cougars.

Peacock - Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
Peacock - Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Photo by Rob Amend

Akere - Cincinnati Zoo
	and Botanical Garden
Akere - Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Photo by Valerie


The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is open year-round with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve in the evening, and all day Christmas Day. For visitors under the age of two, admission is free. Regular adult admission for those ages 13-61 is $ 16 USD . The child/senior admission for those between the ages of 2 and 12 and adults who are 62 and older is $ 11 USD . In addition, parking is $ 9.00 USD for the zoo.

Due to the unpredictable nature of Cincinnati weather (particularly in the winter), certain exhibits may not be open all year depending on the needs of the animals. In addition, some rides and attractions may also be closed during the winter months for routine maintenance.

There are, however, some notable events that may help one decide when to visit. For example, from late-November to early-January each year the zoo extends its evening hours and hosts a Festival of Lights. This features a variety of holiday festivities amidst a zoo full of bright lights, and many of the exhibits are still open to go inside and see the animals! In the spring, the zoo really highlights the botanical garden as a display of more than 100,000 tulips blossom all over the park. Also in spring, during the month of May, the zoo features all of the “zoo babies” that are welcomed into the family.

How to get there

Lovey Dovey - Cincinnati
	Zoo and Botanical Garden
Lovey Dovey - Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Photo by Dave Crim
The Cincinnati Zoo is located in the Midwest of the United States in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is in a very easy spot to locate in Cincinnati, north of the Ohio River on Vine St. The zoo is very close to the University of Cincinnati (Wikipedia Article). The location puts this zoo in a tristate area very close to Indiana and Kentucky. In addition, it is very close to some important interstate highways: I-71, I-75, I-275, and I-74.

Similar and nearby landmarks

With regards to zoos in Ohio, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and Toledo Zoo (Wikipedia Article) are also potentially worth a visit. In the area, Cincinnati itself is an interesting place to see, especially the Cincinnati Museum Center (Wikipedia Article). If looking for other zoos in the world, the Bronx Zoo and London Zoo may be worth the visit.

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Author: brendalyn.r. Last updated: Mar 13, 2015

Pictures of Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

New King On The Block - Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
New King On The Block - Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Photo by Dave Crim


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