There’s a reason Toledo Zoo is called the “must-do zoo.” Actually, there are a lot of reasons. Always focused on creating fun for families, Toledo Zoo innovates with some unique, immersive experiences that you won’t find anywhere else.
With more than 10,000 animals representing over 700 species from around the world, Toledo Zoo exceeds the expectations of those who love to see, experience and learn about animals. And, now that it’s close to summer and warm weather is upon us, families should take full advantage of the unique splash pad to cool off, says Jen Brassil, Events Manager at Toledo Zoo.
“Bring your suit because our splash pad is open daily now,” she says. “It’s a big favorite.”
You’ll be surprised by all there is to do and see at Toledo Zoo. The zoo is just the start! Here, we share an insider’s look at the best-of-the-best the Toledo Zoo has to offer.
- Toledo Zoo has an aquarium!
“We renovated our aquarium that reopened in 2015 and people really enjoy it,” Brassil says. She loves the visual integrity of the building, which fits in perfectly with the other Works Progress Administration-era buildings on-site at the zoo.
With more than 3,000 aquatic animals in 178,000 gallons of water, families can really explore the fascinating lives of animals that live in oceans, lakes and rivers. The aquarium features a Touch Tank and guests can actually stick their hands below the surface of the water to feel a sting ray. The Touch Tank is so popular that the museum also has one where you can touch a sturgeon and learn more about these amazing creatures.
- There’s a natural history museum, too!
At Toledo Zoo’s ProMedica Museum of Natural History, your family can experience representations of ice age-era animals, including wooly mammoths. “You’d never believe these animals used to live in northwest Ohio!” Brassil says. “Upstairs in the museum there are exhibits of fish and Komodo dragons and a hands-on area where you can touch animal pelts and teeth. It’s a neat space where you can really explore. We’re really proud of it.”
There’s a Hall of Venom where visitors can explore how venom works to protect animals against predators and how it has evolved over time.
- Nature’s Neighborhood is fully open
The hallmark of an age-inclusive zoo is the quality of its children’s zoo and Toledo Zoo does not disappoint. Nature’s Neighborhood is where children can experience live animal shows daily and explore age-appropriate indoor exhibits, including Home Sweet Home, where they can paint their faces, learn how to do animal-centric activities like make dog treats and pet and brush guinea pigs.
In the Forest Room, kids can play and climb, plus learn about forest animals. There’s a simulated beehive to climb through and plenty of crafts and activities to enjoy.
Outdoor activities include a stream and beach, treehouse and climbing wall and a really cool butterfly hut.
- An aerial adventure course? YES!
Set three stories above the ground, Expedition Africa Aerial Adventure Course offers a whole new way to experience the animals of Africa. Here, you can experience two high ropes challenge towers, a 30-foot quick drop and 763 feet of zipline fun. There are weight restrictions and health considerations, so be sure to visit the zoo’s website to make sure you wear appropriate clothing and shoes for your adventure. This first come, first serve activity is free with your zoo admission.
- Some really cool animals
“I love the giraffes and I love that people can feed the giraffes. They’re just so fun to be with, even if you get giraffe slobber on yourself because how many people can say that? They are probably my favorite animals here at Toledo Zoo,” Brassil says.
This year, Toledo Zoo debuts four new sea lions, who are getting used to their new home in the Arctic Encounter, next to the polar bears. “There are two moms and their daughters, and they are getting along well with the seals in the same exhibit,” Brassil says. “They’re really fun to see!”
In addition to all these fun experiences, there is a carousel, a train and a calendar full of special events, including summer concerts, Christmas in July and so much more.
Plan your visit now, and be sure to check the Toledo Zoo’s website to learn about what days the zoo is open and, best of all, how a membership will save you money while contributing to the conservation mission of the zoo, too.
“If you haven’t purchased a membership, consider it. It’s such a great value and within two visits, it’s paid for itself for a family of four,” Brassil says. “On Saturdays through October, members get in at 9 a.m., an hour before other visitors. There are so many perks to being a member.”
Learn more about Toledo Zoo and visit toledozoo.org to plan your visit today.