Not too long ago, we took a trip as a family to The Wilds, an outdoor safari park in Cumberland, Ohio (just East of Columbus). Props to my sister for suggesting this adventure because to say I had no clue a 9,000 acre home for endangered animals from around the world was practically in my backyard is an understatement. This area of Ohio, which previously was used for strip mining, is now a sanctuary for these beautiful, brilliant animals to roam. There is much about the creation and history of The Wilds on the website. It’s really a fascinating story.
For our trip, we left early in the morning, drove through the countryside, and arrived ready to embark on one of the morning tours. Our guide was super personable and with the open air buses, every seat is a window seat. Most of the time passengers observe animals as they move naturally about their business (animals have business, right?). The guide explains all about the different species and the different habitats. There are times when the bus will stop and animals might roam up to the side. Or, you might wait a couple minutes while a few giraffes and camels stop in front of the vehicle to check you out! This was one of the highlights of my trip. Because the animals roam freely at The Wilds, each experience will be different. The guides are clear that it’s not a zoo; animals are not caged here so there’s no guarantee as to which animals you will encounter on any given tour. Some visitors came prepared with binoculars to better see the animals in the distance! Good idea!
In addition to taking an Open Air Safari (which I highly recommend), there are also opportunities for Zip-lining, horseback riding, fishing, and more. Several of the tours are wheelchair accessible so this is really a perfect trip for little kids and big kids! The safari makes a couple stops along the tour and there are benches if someone in your party cannot explore freely due to mobility issues. The Wilds also provides overnight stays at either their Lodge or Nomade Ridge. In fact, if you want a special, private view in the middle of the wild, you can spend the night in a Yurt (Umm, how cool would that be?). Honey, if you’re reading this, great gift idea here!
Admission is a bit pricey (cost does vary depending on the type of tour you select), but it’s nice to know that my money is going to a worthy cause. Also, if you plan to go more than once, the season pass would pay for itself. Honestly, I still cannot believe this place is in Ohio.
Tips: pack a snack or two for the drive, bring binoculars, and book your tour ahead of time!
As always, if you have any comments or questions, I would love to hear!
GO THERE (The Wilds)! TRY THAT (Open Air Safari)!