The Cincinnati Zoo fast became one of my favorite zoo's, and I've been to a far few over the years. Not only because of those penguins. But there's great natural exhibits, encounters, great landscaping and it's huge. And it's not just a zoo, it's also a botanical garden and, as a result, offers a beautiful blend of gardens and flowers as you wander around between the exhibits. Plus gives the animals that all important privacy if they want to keep away from the crowds.
From rain gardens, a green (low input plants) garden and a conifer garden to name but three, the flower borders are also filled with plants butterflies and pollinators love are bright and bold. My favorite, the Pollinator Garden is found on the main loop by you guessed it, the insect building. Borders are crammed full of nectar rich, long flowering plants and shrubs perfect for butterflies, bees to birds. If you're anything like me, a wannabe butterfly garden gardener, you'll leave with so many ideas and plant names.It's all certainly a great approach to landscaping and wildlife and I wish more places would follow suit.
The Cinci Zoo is rather historic too - opening in 1875 it remains America's second oldest zoo. While located in the heart of Cincinnati's Avondale district you'd be forgiven thinking you were miles away from the hustle and bustle of city life with how peaceful and green the zoo is.
It's home to over 1,800 animals over 500+ species. From the huge Elephant reserve, the new African exhibit (more on this to come) special night creature exhibits to gorillas and manatees, there is so much to see. We even managed to spot some baby flamingos which I have to admit, after the penguins came close to being a favorite. There's also a great mix of inside and outside exhibits, so if you're visiting on one of those hot summer days like we were, there's plenty of ways to cool off.
While it might be a three and a half hour drive from Detroit, I think we'll certainly be popping back for another day trip, it's well worth a visit.