Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Wilds - Cumberland, Ohio

One of the main events of my trip to Ohio last week was to visit The Wilds*, a private non-profit conservation center that does various tours, activities, and events in its mission to advance conservation through science, education and personal experience. There's some sort of affiliation with the Columbus Zoo and Jack Hanna, but honestly I never really figured it because it was kind of irrelevant. 

I have concerns about zoos and I have concerns about places like The Wilds, too, but overall I feel like these are good places doing good scientific and advocacy work. 

So, on to our tour. We took the "Open-Air Safari" ($30/person), so that meant we got to ride in an open-air vehicle like the one pictured below as it drove through the thousands of acres of land that make up the park.
After a bumpy start (seriously, I thought we were going to fall out), the first animal we came to was an Asian rhino and her baby.  It was pretty amazing and I think maybe a baby rhino would be an okay kind of pet.
There were lots of other animals, including this majestic camel who just desperately wants to be a cover model for Camel GQ.
The Wilds makes a very concerted effort to work on breeding programs and we certainly saw a fair number of young animals around to show how successful it has been, including this adorable Grevy's zebra feeding from its mother.
If you're in for a more exciting kind of experience (although, seriously, we almost FELL OUT OF THE TRUCK), The Wilds also offers ziplining tours, horseback tours, and a variety of open/closed conveyance tours.
It also has camps and lodging available if you're into the idea of hanging out in a yurt with a rhino wandering around in your backyard (I am...not into this idea).
And, if all else fails, you can feed this bird.  He'll be your new best friend.

We had a ton of fun and I think this would be fun for all animal-loving people, even people who get the heebiejeebies when they think about zoos.  Just try to go on a day when it's not raining.  Because that will make you kind of sad.

*As always, I get paid nothing to do this blog. Bestest Friend paid for our tickets and I freeloaded off of her, but The Wilds paid me nothing to write this.

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