Plan your visit to the Zoo this winter
Anyone living in Cleveland, OH knows how long and unforgiving the winters can be and dread spending months stuck indoors with nothing to do. But what most people don’t realize is that their Zoo is open 363 days a year and when we say there’s always something to see at the Zoo, we mean it. But, you’re probably wondering what there is to do at the Zoo when it’s freezing and snowing outside. The good news is that the cold weather allows you to see the Zoo in a completely different way. Stop in places you might have passed by during the warmer months and see your favorite animals in Wilderness Trek much more active in the colder winter weather they are used to.
African Elephant Crossing
The first thing most people see upon entering the Zoo is the amazing herd of elephants roaming around their habitat. Guests also have the opportunity to view these animals in their indoor space. Simply walk through African Elephant Crossing to explore the building in between the two elephant yards. Step out of the cold weather to see the elephants up close and personal.
In this space you can watch Willy, Moshi, Martika, Shenga and Kallie from a few feet away and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a view of them laying down and taking a nap. Take a walk around the interior and learn lots of awesome facts about elephants. Like this one, “an elephant produces about 220 pounds of dung a day”, gross, right?
Before heading back into the cold, you have to check out the colony of naked mole rats. This species spends most of its life underground in darkness, which is why the Zoo has created a similar habitat for them to live in. Beside the naked mole rats is an African rock python. Like all pythons, this snake is nonvenomous but can kill by constriction. Be sure to check out these two species that you may have otherwise missed!
Primate, Cat and Aquatics
Hop on a covered bus to make your way up the hill to the Primate, Cat and Aquatics building. When the weather’s raging outside, this building provides a warm haven where you can see 20 species of primates and 30 species of aquatic life! Let your kiddos run around and get face to face with lemurs, gorillas and so many more species.
Here, the primates have access to their indoor space where you can watch them swing around their exhibit and interact with one another. In the nocturnal area, you can try to slow lorises and moholi bush babies in their dark habitats.
On the other side of the building, you can watch 110 different types of fish swim through the water. Be sure not to miss the blind fish that inhabit water in pitch black caves.
Sarah Allison Steffee Center for Zoological Medicine
Located next to the rhino exhibit is the Sarah Allison Steffee Center for Zoological Medicine, a hub of veterinary excellence for the last 15 years. This is a great place to take the kids to learn about the life cycles of different animals at the Zoo and how the animal care team works with the Zoo’s 600+ species.
If you come on the right day, you might be able witness an animal exam or operation through the glass windows that give you a glimpse into the animal hospital. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is a place of science and education that strives to bring guests closer to wildlife.
While not located indoors, the Asian Highlands exhibit located in Wilderness Trek is a must-see during your trip to the Zoo this winter. The animals here inhabit colder places in Asia and welcome the cold winter months.
Snow leopards, red pandas, takin and Amur leopards were built to leave in the cold mountains of Asia and are accustomed to the snowy weather and freezing temperatures. You can expect these animals to be much more active during your winter visit than if you had visited them in the summer. Who doesn’t want to see adorable snow leopards playing in the snow?
The Mexican grey wolf at the Zoo is another animal that thrives in the cooler months. Good news for you, you don’t have to brave the elements to see them.
Make your way to Wolf Lodge to watch the Mexican Grey Wolves from the warmth of a heated building. This is also a great place to educate yourself or your children by checking out the education material throughout the lodge.
A guest favorite in the winter, The RainForest offers a guaranteed 80-degree escape from the cold with a lot of awesome things to see.
The RainForest showcases more than 10,000 plants and over 600 animals from the jungles of Asia, Africa and the Americas. Explore the research hut and observe animals through its windows.
Hang out with two-toes sloths and look up as more than 50 specimens of 15 different bird species fly freely overhead in the free-flight, indoor aviary.
You cannot end your visit without stopping by the orangutans and saying hi to the always entertaining 5-year-old Merah. You won’t be able to pull yourself away once you start watching the orangutans.
The RainForest also features a tropical rainstorm exhibit with thunder and lightning effects, a weather station and other interactive exhibits. Located near the main parking lots, The RainForest is the perfect place to end your winter visit to the Zoo.
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