Get Involved with the Zoo

Walking Program Centerpiece of New Partnership with OhioHealth and Columbus Zoo

Media Alert: Tuesday, May 15, 2012


May 15, 2012

Jennifer Wilson
Communications Manager

Powell, OH – OhioHealth and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium announce a five-year partnership featuring an exciting new addition to the Zoo, a walking program called “HOOFit.”
HOOFit is designed to raise awareness of the health benefits that Zoo guests are already taking advantage of while walking through the park. The program encourages adults and children to keep track of how many steps they take as they explore the Zoo.  Each visitor will receive a step guide when they arrive at the Zoo so they can see how many steps it takes to make it through each region of the Zoo.
“The partnership with OhioHealth ties in beautifully with our work at the Zoo,” says Dale Schmidt, president and CEO of the Columbus Zoo. “We contribute directly to the quality of life in our community – and staying healthy is the key to quality of life. We care about animals, in the wild and in our zoos, and the partnership with OhioHealth helps us demonstrate how much we care about the well-being of our visitors as well.”
“Partnering with the Zoo gives us a unique opportunity to deliver on our mission to improve the health of those we serve,” says Laura McCoy, vice president of OhioHealth Marketing and Communications. “‘HOOFit’ has a strong wellness-focused message, and, while our expertise in medicine is unsurpassed, our true goal is to help people get and stay healthy.”
Throughout the summer, OhioHealth also will be hosting several organized walks with healthcare experts in areas such as primary care, sports medicine, women’s health and heart health. These dates are: Thursday, June 21; Thursday, July 19; Thursday, August 16; and Thursday, September 27.
In addition to the HOOFit walking program, a group of friendly, enthusiastic Street Team Ambassadors sporting OhioHealth-branded attire will share valuable health tips and animal fun facts with zoo visitors.
OhioHealth is now one of the Zoo’s four major platinum-level sponsors and the Presenting Sponsor of the Zoo’s “Australia and the Islands” region exhibition. In addition to the “HOOFit” Walking Program, the partnership provides OhioHealth with the opportunity to have its name and logo on signs throughout the Zoo (as well as provide flu shots and TB testing to the Zoo’s nearly 300 full-time employees.
“The Zoo attracts more than two million people each year, many who are women between the ages of 35 and 65.” said McCoy. “These wives, moms and daughters are care-takers, usually making healthcare decisions for themselves and their family members. We want to remind them to focus on their own health and also share information that can help in their decision-making process.”
OhioHealth has had a long-standing informal partnership with zoo through its WorkHealth (Employer Services) program, providing care for its associates. Some OhioHealth physicians have also partnered with Zoo veterinarians to provide specialized care for the animals.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is home to more than 9,000 animals representing 675 species and provides more than $1 million annually to support over 70 conservation projects worldwide. 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 hosts more than two million visitors annually and was named the #1 Zoo in America by USA Travel Guide. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Columbus Zoo has earned Charity Navigator’s prestigious 4-star rating. For more information and to purchase advance Zoo admission tickets, visit