WHAT: Ribbon cutting ceremony to kick-off the opening of Heart of Africa
WHEN: Thursday, May 22 at 9:30 a.m.
WHERE: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Heart of Africa.
*Media should arrive at the Columbus Zoo’s business office located on Jerry Borin Trace just north of the Zoo off of Riverside Drive. Media, please call in advance so we know who to expect.
WHY: Heart of Africa, the Columbus Zoo’s new 43-acre region, will immerse guests in an up-close, experiential adventure of Africa right here in Ohio. With 130 animals representing 20 species, visitors to this new region will encounter lions, cheetahs, ostriches, wildebeests, gazelles, vervet monkeys and many, many more.
Special guest, Betty White, first visited the Columbus Zoo and met Jack Hanna in 1979 when the Zoo was much smaller. They have been friends ever since and Jack is looking forward to showing her how the Zoo has grown thanks to Central Ohio’s support. Betty White has dedicated her life to making this world a better place for animals and has been a longtime board member of the Los Angeles Zoo and Morris Animal Foundation.
Special experiences at Heart of Africa include:
• Camel Rides – Upon entering Heart of Africa guests will meet dromedary camels and have the option to take a camel ride.
• Lion Experience – Guests will have the opportunity to get up-close and personal with the lions as they board an abandoned Beech-18 transport plane. The plane has been modified to allow guests to safely come face-to-face with the Zoo’s lions.
• Cheetah Runs – Cheetahs, the world’s fastest land animal, will display top speeds as they race across their yard at various times during the day.
• Giraffe Feeding – The journey through Heart of Africa culminates at the giraffe yard. There guests will come face-to-face with these long-necked herbivores and even have the opportunity to feed them.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is home to more than 10,000 animals representing over 575 species from around the globe. The Zoo complex is a recreational and education destination that includes the 22-acre Zoombezi Bay water park and 18-hole Safari Golf Club. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium also operates the Wilds, a 10,000-acre conservation center and safari park located in southeastern Ohio. The Zoo is a regional attraction with global impact; contributing more than $1 million annually in privately raised funds to support over 70 conservation projects worldwide. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Columbus Zoo has earned Charity Navigator’s prestigious 4-star rating.