I created this because my old one was closed and I want people to be able to comment on this. I also has permission to do this. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is 64.5 acres of heaven for zoo lovers, mostly for me. It is 139 years old. It stands at number 5 on my top zoos list. The gardens are beautiful and are all around the zoo. The biggest question asked at the zoo is, "Where are the botanical gardens", the answer is that they are everywhere around the zoo. So lets take a trip at the "Sexiest, Greenest, and 2nd Oldest Zoo in America". I would also like to hear how many times you have visited the zoo, to start out, I have been there more than probably 70 times. The fun already begins in the parking lot, or at least to get across to the entrance. Almost every parking spot is below large solar panel canopies that all 64,000 panels were completely built in April of 2011. As you park and are ready to go, you will arrive at an escalator that takes you across a bridge that goes over Vine Street and leads you to the entrance. I forgot to mention in my last update that the black rhino statue was not in front of the escalator the last time I went. Anyhow, you can buy tickets either electronically or the old fashion way by buying them at a ticket booth. I have no idea what the admission is because I am a member. When you walk in, you will be looking at the new food court area that was built in 2009. One big reason why it was renovated was because of the empty exhibits from Vanishing Giants, but also to make it look nicer and "greener". This renovation included two new food stations, a survival shop, a great new zoo shop, new entrance, cut off the easier entrance to the Sumatran rhinos, more gardens, and even Crane Island. Crane Island is a medium sized exhibit on Swan Lake that holds red-crowned cranes and other waterfowl from the lake. You have the choice to go straight, two rights, and a left. I would suggest taking a left to save the best for last. You will approach a few attractions. To the left is a tall aviary that is 140ft tall, 70ft across and 50ft wide, this large aviary is Eagle Eyrie. The aviary is divided into two separate exhibits, one holding Steller's sea eagles and the other Andean condors. I am completely confused about the condors being freed and I don’t know if they are at the zoo or not. There are two doors that give you entrance into each aviary. The viewing for each enclosure is remarkable, you are looking out unto a large canyon. There is no separated space between the guests and the birds so if they wanted to, they could even attack us. The last sea eagle born at the zoo was in January of 2011. This flgith cage opened in 1970. To the both left and right of Eagle Eyrie are signs that say Wildlife Canyon. These lead you down what is of course a canyon and features many hoofed creatures that have moved in and out throughout the years. Since there are two entrances and exits, it depends on what you see, I again like to save the best for last, so I would take the right entrance and exit in the left. There are animals like emus, camels, takins, river hogs, and the endangered Przewalski's horse. The next two exhibits are reserved for the very rare Sumatran rhino. The first yard is home to Suci, the daughter of Ipuh and the deceased Emi, who is originally home to the second exhibit, but I along with many others have not seen him in a while. Wildlife Canyon also gives a great view where you can look up at Eagle Eyrie. The last baby that was born here were 8 river hogs in 2008 and a takin in 2007. As you know the zoo has successfully bred 3 Sumatran rhinos in about 7 years. Andalas(2001), Suci(2004), and Harapan(2007). This canyon opened a couple of years after the zoo's opening, so maybe 1877. Across from all this is a 50ft tall, white Turkish style, 137 year-old building. This is the famous Reptile House, or also known as America's Oldest Zoo Building. In 1875, it was the Monkey House, in 1951, it was renovated to house reptiles. Before entering into the building, there is a small island connecting on the right side. This area is what I personally call Cockatoo Island even though the zoo's website says that it is Reptile House Island, but I think that is ridiculous. The island is home to two species of cockatoos, Major Mitchell's and Salmon-crested. These birds rotate every other day. Anyways when you enter the Reptile House you'll greatly feel the hot climate that the reptiles need to survive. Around 50 herps are displayed throughout the building, and much, much more are behind the scenes. There are 19 snake species, 10 lizard species, 4 turtle species, and 3 amphibians. There are a lot of negative comments toward this building or at least the idea about dedicating it to reptiles. I will go with the positives on this one, people can't understand how it held monkeys, but if you look at the dimensions and all the space and height of the walls and the pillars, it could definitely fit exhibits in for primates, probably about 12 monkey exhibits in the building. I would like to point out that there are no more exhibits that are not suitable or are too small for each herp, all of it was recently renovated and I have no complaints anymore. The last baby born in this building was a Yucatan Neotropical Rattlesnake who was recently transferred to the Atlanta Zoo, around the same time, a black rat snake and desert tortoises hatched. Monkey Island was built in 1930 and was the first bar-less monkey exhibit at the zoo. Over the years it has held Bharial sheep, and from what I read it held sea lions at the same time with the sheep and monkeys. Today, it features 11 Japanese macaques. I don’t get how the small, shallow pool keeps them out since snow monkeys can sometimes love water. I can't remember the last time there was any baby animal that was born at the island. I would like to point out to the zoo that this exhibit needs hot springs and especially more climbing structures. Before entering into the newest attraction, Night Hunters, pass the entrance and hear pounding music, and a man talking about the zoo's cougars, Joseph and Tecumseh. They are brothers that came to the zoo on September 14, 2010. They were held in the nursery for a while until they were moved to a left over Cat House exhibit outdoors and then later kept off exhibit until their new home opened on August 14, 2011. Once you enter NH, right away there is a Eurasian Eagle owl that always looks like it's going to attack you, it is thrilling and is a wonderful idea. And yes even though the exhibit is small, keepers take her behind the scenes and let her free-fly. This is a multi-censored building that showcases animals from the Cat House, Nocturnal House, Reptile House and Jungle Trails. If you have been in the Cat House before, you can tell that the zoo reversed the exit and nearly made it into the entrance. The zoo says they tried to make us feel like the prey but the only thing I find scary is the sounds. The species in here includes fossas, owls, aardwolves, leopards, vampire bats, flying foxes, pottos, lorises, aardvarks, bush babies, sand cats, ocelots, a python, a caracal, bearcats, foxes, fishing cats and more. I find these exhibits to be very well suited for each species, the size is good, especially the 10ft long vampire bat exhibit. To be able to see what I am talking about you have to take your time to look all around each exhibit. When you walk outside, on the side of the building is a solitary Siberian lynx. The last baby or babies born in this building were the first Pallas' cats born from AI on June 8, 2011 and before that was a bearcat and before that was a tayra.This area opened in the 50's. Gorilla World is just an amazing exhibit, it has many tropical plants and waterfalls all over the entire attraction. I would say the exhibit is about over 40,000sq ft, which is perfect for 4 gorillas(counting rotations with the other 4). The females are Muke (pronun: MOO-KEE), who will be transferred to the Oklahoma City Zoo in the spring, Chewie, M'linzi, Samantha(the second gorilla born at the zoo), and Asha who arrived on October 13, 2011 from the Gladys Porter Zoo. Another female named Anju at the Pittsburgh Zoo will arrive at the zoo in the spring. Both Asha and Anju will breed with Jomo. Other females named Shanta and Mara left on November 8, 2011 and were transferred to the Dallas Zoo. The males' names are Jomo, from the Toronto Zoo, he is also the leader of the group. Lastly there is Bakari who is the 48th and currently the last gorilla to be born at the zoo in 2006. Bakari will join his mother Muke at the Oklahoma City Zoo to interact with other gorillas his age. It opened in 1978. World of the Insect that opened in 1978 (called the "Insectarium" at the time but Thane Maynard still calls it that), is the largest building and collection dedicated to insects and other invertebrates. I counted and there are about 65 species on display but there are over 500,000 total animals in the building. There are animals like assassin beetles, hissing cockroaches, Goliath bird-eaters, tamarins, walking sticks, snakes, spiny lizards, bullet ants, and pygmy geese. The building is also home to the largest ant exhibit in the world that contains leaf-cutter ants. With each daring turn you make, you will be both surprised and amazed by the creepy crawlers that help this world. At the end of the building is a room that takes you into a rainforest, a Butterfly Rainforest. This is a small walk-through atrium I would say, where the birds usually perch a foot above your head. The last babies that were born were naked mole rats in 2010, along with giant walking sticks. I think Lemur Lookout is both an amazing exhibit but also a waste of space. Even though the zoo has 3 other rare lemur species, I wish they didn't stick with the most captivated primate on Earth, the ring-tailed lemur. Anyways the exhibit is a ditch with many plants, streams and large rocks. I wish the island still held baboons, it had ibexes on it and at one time it held markhors. This ditch was made in the 60's. The Dragons! renovation in 2007-2008 made space for 5 monitor species, Ackies dwarf, green, quince, crocodile, and Hudo the Komodo dragon. Each exhibit is perfect for each species, but I have just one complaint, the collection is far too small for a building that could put in at least 3 more exhibits. Hudo has a marvelous outdoor exhibit adjacent to the building. The last babies that were born here were 2 green tree monitors that were born on June 2 and 3rd and before that were 32 Komodo dragons born in the early 2000's. If you're about to visit the zoo, then Manatee Springs is the place to go. It is a 15,000 sq. ft. Florida masterpiece. The building used to be an aquarium from the 50's to 1998. When you enter through sliding doors, it will certainly feel like walking through the Everglades. If you feel uncomfortable with it, don’t worry it doesn't take long. Just don’t forget to see the large alligator, gars under a bridge, and Leslie, the American crocodile. The next area is completely indoors and is at the perfect temperature. Marvel at crabs, anoles, spiders and even a large alligator snapping turtle. What is arguably probably the best part about the zoo, the manatees. Wooten and Betsy are a treasure and are always willing to spin around and just fly through the water. They live in a 120,000 gallon tank along with 10 other species like catfish, gars and even a soft-shell turtle. There is a tank featuring a depiction of the swamps with piranhas and tilapia. The Biodiversity section features snakes, musk turtles, shrimp and other tropical fish. The last section is a 9ft by 6ft exhibit simulating the Scrubs. 4 snake species live together in it, yellow rat, eastern diamondback rattlers, Everglades rat, and corn snakes. There is also a manatee skeleton, and interactive games teaching us how we can save manatees. The last manatee to be at the zoo that left was Illusion. She was freed on November 9, 2011, she was the 8th manatee set free into the wild from the Cincinnati Zoo. The White Lions of Timbavati exhibit is very natural for any cat that lives there. These 4 South African Lions (Panthera leo krugeri) were given to the zoo from Siegfried and Roy. There are two males and two females and all of them are related, so to stop inbreeding, they rotate everyday by sex. The viewing is very cool, the coolest at the zoo. You can walk along just outside of the exhibit on a bridge that semi-circles around the habitat to get a perfect shot of the cats. This exhibit opened in 1975. Rhino Reserve takes you around exhibits that feature animals from all over Africa and parts of India. It consists of Indian and black rhinos, an okapi, bongos, cranes, and zebras. Half-way through the exhibit is Flamingo Cove, it is full of of course flamingos and a couple of geese. The okapi, Kuvua, is pregnant and I believe she will give birth early December of this year. There is confusion and wonderment about where the duiker is. It was very old and as soon it came back on exhibit, it was taken off. I think the exhibits are okay, but they aren't that great because none of them are lush and are just "dry" looking. All except Kylde's (black rhino) exhibit, which is a perfect looking African Savannah. As it has been said over 50 times, this area is home to Nikki, the first Indian rhino impregnated from AI. The last baby born at Rhino Reserve were two flamingo chicks in July 2011. Before that was the baby Indian rhino born from Nikki in October 2010. Before that was Luna, a bongo born on Valentine's Day of 2010 from Safi and Mac. Before that was Marty was born in September of 2009. This area was renovated in the 1997. Jungle Trails is a 2.5 acre rainforest that is not just great for the wild apes, but like us apes. This opened in 1993 and is divided into 2 parts, Asia and Africa. Each trail takes you outdoors and then inside to see the animals in bedrooms and even nocturnal creatures. This area consists of 17 mammals, 8 birds, and 1 reptile. In the Asia trail, there are gibbons, orangutans, storks, cloud rats, a civet, gliders, macaques and langurs. The Africa trail showcases pelicans, more storks, ruffed lemurs, ravens, bonobos, colobus monkeys, pottos, bush babies, a genet, brand new sifakas, hornbills, hamerkops, starlings, ducks, bamboo lemurs, aye-ayes, and a ground boa. During the Festival of Lights, all of the Asia trail and only the African building is open. The storks and the pelicans are out inside the African Savannah aviary, I learned that the scary(ask to explain if you don’t get it). The last babies born here were three bonobos in March and May. Before that was Possum, a white-handed gibbon born is early March. Before that were two female galagos. I am surprised that there were so few zoo babies in about 3 years since this area is the place with the most births. The Lords of the Arctic area is great for any bear, any day. It is a large 21,000 sq. ft., shotcrete floored exhibit, with two large pools in which one of them holds 70,000 gallons. Three polar bears and a barred owl are featured but when spring hits, a bald eagle will replace the owls and be back where they used to be. In 2000, the zoo added a second part to the exhibit, allowing guests to view the bears underwater. I talked to someone in the elephant house about breeding polar bears. He said that they have tried a ton of times to get a cute little polar bear, but Little One the zoo's male, is starting to get too old to breed. This exhibit opened in 2000. Bear Grottoes are two outdated bear pits that were once near the former sight of 3, 15 by 10 ditches where guests can view them through vertical bars and above the exhibits. The ditches were built in 1934 but I don't know when they were renovated into grottoes. Over the years the zoo has given the bears more and more enrichment to keep them company. Each exhibit has a 6 by 4 water hole that is probably 7ft deep. They are the greatest when they are active. Also these exhibits were built on a steep hills to make them feel like they are in their mountainous habitats and to keep the bears cool in the summer because the sun never hits the exhibits. Black and spectacled bears are live here. The Wings of the World building was first the Reptile House that was built in 1937, the birds came in in 1951 and in 1996, Wings of the World opened. Before entering, there a few aves outside of the building. See kookaburras, macaws and the always loud screamers. When entering there is an awful smell, but I don’t mind it and you know what, that’s life. There are 9 exhibits, 2 walk through aviaries, 2 open-windowed exhibits, 1 wired-windowed exhibit, and 6 glazed enclosures. There are birds from all over the world in here, and I mean ever part of it. All the way from the Amazon to the Sub-Antarctic. There are birds like conures, ibises, quails, hornbills, bird-of-paradises, mynahs, bee-eaters, herons, finches, smews, pigeons, puffins, wigeons, king, magellanic , and rockhopper penguins. The penguin display opened in 1969 and I learned that it was as big as the aquarium's. The last baby that hatched from this building was a king penguin in August of 2011. Before that was a Pigeon Guillemot in July 2011, and a rockhopper penguin on June 2, 2011. Next is Lorikeet Landing (typical name idea, I know). This was built in 1961 and was the way it is now, but only with a theme. One of the only reasons they created LL was because the Adventure Down Under was going on in the Children's Zoo in the summer of 2006. And where are lorikeets from? Australia. When you enter into the aviary there are gorgeous birds from not just Australia, but from New Guinea too. You can hand feed rainbow, black-capped, chattering, ornate, Weber's and more lories and lorikeets nectar and seed sticks for $1. There are is also a barren goose, shelducks, imperial pigeons, magpies and more in the aviary. Sea Lion Falls is a great and large hybrid exhibit perfect for all sorts of pinnipeds. I would say this exhibit is about 10,000 sq. ft. and has an over and under-water viewing. Callie and Duke, the California sea lions are always moving around and playing with each other. In and I think before 2002, this exhibit held 3 walruses, two of them died of sickness and the one, Bruiser, I believe was moved to Seaworld, Orlando. This area has been home to pinnipeds since the zoo's opening when it has the Sea Lion Basin. Wolf Woods is one of the newer exhibits that opened in May of 2005. It is a very small attraction on a hillside that is supposed to take you around the woods. but I can;t really see it. There are foxes, otters, box turtles, parrots, quails, and of course Mexican wolves. The exhibit is 20,000 sq. ft. Over the summer there were complications after a storm hit, closing half of the exhibit. The otter viewing glass was shattered after a very and it is rumored that is fixed and the otters along with everything else are back on display. The last babies that were born here were 6 wolf pups in 2006. Two sisters of the litter remain at the zoo today, Maya and Sedona. This is the least visited place in the zoo. The Children's Zoo, I would put it as a 55,000 sq. ft. wonderland for both children and adults. This is also a very "not-typical" Children's zoo, the theme is the same but the collection is exotic. You would expect to just to see ordinary sheep, cows, goats, etc. There are all sorts of things to do here, gawk at baby animals, touch a tortoise or an armadillo, feed a rare goat, and many more. It all starts out with Penguin Walkabout. This exhibit used to hold a cape-barren goose, and before that I think there were flamingos. Through this small area, you will walkabout two small species of penguins, the little blue, and the African black-footed. The exhibit is divided into two parts by the path you walk on, but it is actually one yard with a very large pool(large in scale for the size of the penguins). Kids and even adults will crack up at the penguin's gunny behavior. In the actual CZ, the first thing there is a building called the nursery. It features babies that are brought in from other zoos. Each year the zoo gets one or two new baby animals to put in the nursery and they will replace another one. None of the animals in the building are what I would consider too much to be babies anymore. It is currently home to Padmae, an aardvark, Lucy, the official Cincinnati Bearcats mascot, and Rocko and Jazz the Bennett's wallabies. The last animal to leave from the nursery was a coatimundi named Wilbert. Other inhabitants in the past included, Tommy T. a cheetah that is in the zoo's Cheetah Encounters, Carolina, a prehensile-tailed porcupine, Joseph and Tecumseh, two brother cougars that are now in an exhibit connected to Night Hunters, Caspian, a daughter of the Eurasian eagle owl in Night Hunters and runner-up of the "Cutest Zoo Baby in America", an African crested porcupine and more. Each animal is trained to interact with the keepers and even guests so they are comfortable coming out of their exhibit and out in the open air. Over on the right side of the CZ is a newly renovated play area that has many features for the kids. There is a large spider web, monkey bars, slides and the ol' fashioned turtle shells for the kids to climb through. That's not just all, there is also an armadillo and a mixed tortoise exhibit. The petting zoo features great animals, Nigerian dwarf goats and baby doll sheep. The kids are also able to feed them. To the left of the petting zoo and right and to the left of the nursery is a newer pigeon exhibit. In a home-style looking area (not actually an exhibit), displayed Hali, a Tawny frogmouth the last time I visited the zoo (in the summer). Over by the Blakely's Barnyard features indoor and outdoor exhibit that are on either side of the barn. See rare and other common creatures like Dexter cattle, Jacob's four-horned sheep, a llama, an alpaca, more dwarf goats and miniature donkeys and miniature cows. The two mini cows take walks literally around the entire zoo every week to get the exercise the need. This was renovated in the 80's and 2007. In the next attraction, you can walk on the lake and hoot with the loudest land animals on Earth, gibbons. This is Gibbon Islands and it is full of noise and excitement. Take a board walk on Swan Lake to watch Siamangs and Buff-cheeked gibbons brachiate on their giant jungle gyms on decently sized islands that were built in the 70's. If you don’t want to go on the lake, then listen to them from every part of the zoo. This was built in 1972. Get with-in 5 ft. of the cutest animals at the lushest exhibit at the zoo. The red panda habitat. Here lives not 5 but now 6 red pandas that 5 of them were a gift from the Beijing Zoo in China. The 6th one is a male from the Houston Zoo so that we can have red panda babies this year! The attraction has to separate exhibits connected to each other. I would rate this the greatest red panda exhibit in the U.S. for many reasons. 1. It has natural climbing opportunities. 2. The pandas are always active. 3. There is one long stream surrounding the whole inner part of the exhibit created by a small waterfall from swan lake. 4. There are many China plants to resemble a real forest in China and not to mention a bamboo path that leads to the pandas. Opened probably in the 90's. Giraffe Ridge is the most thrilling part of the zoo, where you get with eye-to-eye view with the tallest animals in the world, the Masai giraffe. Meet the mating pair that is Kimba and Tessa, some of the zoo's stars that live in a 121,000 sq. ft. African Savannah yard that opened on June 6, 2008. While reaching the exiting point at this attraction, you will look over the whole exhibit while being 15ft. above the ground, allowing guests to feed the giraffes crackers with a low purchase. In the winter, the giraffes are kept in stalls that are transparent to visitors on the right side of the area. The mating pair sired one offspring on April 2, 2011. The first giraffe born at the zoo in 26 years. Her name was Zuri, and immediately she stole everyone's heart. I think she might have been the cutest baby giraffe ever born. Sadly, about a month in a half about her birth, she somehow broke her back left hind leg. After about two weeks later, the wound was getting worse and they had to put her down, to jump and run in heaven, just like she used to do here. Off to the side is an expanded waterfowl exhibit that is home to flamingos and crowned cranes. Giraffe Ridge opened on June 6, 2008. Enter into a 3.25-acre park where we can learn the everyday lives of the largest land animals on the planet, this is called Elephant Reserve. I would recommend taking as long as you can at this exhibit, just staring and wondering how great it would be to be an elephant. I once stood in the elephant house for 30 minutes not for the warmth during the cold weather but also because I don’t mind the smell at all. This area is home to Jati(24, arrived in January 1991), My-Thai(38, arrived in 1974), Princess Shcottzie II(36, arrived in1978 ), and the bull Sabu-hit(or Sabu, age 23, arrived in 1991 and 2008). These are not the old typical Asian elephants that the zoos say they are, even though this zoo does identify them as just Asian. Did anyone know that there are 8 species of elephants? Anyways there are two of them at the zoo and they are species that are common but are rarely in captivity. Jati and Sabu are both Malayan elephants and My-Thai and Schottzie are both Indian. Sabu has a separate exhibit on the other side of the elephant house that was renovated in 2008. Sometimes his mate, Jati, will be in the exhibit so they can reproduce. They have before, they sired Ganesh on March 15, 1998. he was the first elephant born in Ohio since the Ice Age. I forget when he was transferred to Columbus but he later died of an HIV virus in 2005. I was talking to a worker in the elephant house and he said they were too early for a sonogram on Jati, not sure what that’s means, but I asked someone I know and that might mean there is a large possibility that she is pregnant. In 1906 it became the Herbivora Building that featured kangaroos, hippos, rhinos and elephants. In may of 2000, a $6 million plan called "Vanishing Giants", showcased a giraffe, four okapis, and the elephants the zoo has today(except Ganesh). In 2008 it became Elephant Reserve, the giraffe was transferred to The Wilds, the okapi was moved to Rhino Reserve and the zoo got Sabu back. While renovation for Giraffe Ridge was in progress, dromedary camels took over the giraffe exhibit. The whole area opened in 1906, but was renovated in 2000, and then 2008. The last attraction you will probably visit last is the Discovery Forest. It is a greatly simulated depiction of the rainforests in South America all in a 40,000 sq ft atrium. People miss-understand what this exhibit is really for and so that is the reason for the very small species collection. There are cane toads, a macaw, boas, and a two-toed sloth that hangs from her tree all day. This is actually the camp area for the children. The building is full of rooms for each level and age in each one of the camps. This is also a learning center where there are some presentations of live animals. The secondary purpose for this building is that it is an off-holding area for all sorts of small creatures, like turacos, hawks, falcons, lizards, and many more. That's not all, the building has two floors and is all full of large plants from South America, none other then my favorite, the bird-of-paradise. There also used to be a toucan that could fly around the exhibit, anyone know why it isn't there anymore?. Also I read somewhere that it held tamarins or marmosets, is this true? I hope not because the ceiling is full of large and dangerous fans that any primate could climb up to. This building was renovated into an atrium in 2008.