Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Meet An Elephant!

Ohio has a large number of top-notch, nationally acclaimed zoos. In fact, according to a 2007 article by The Columbus Dispatch (as well as a TON of other articles and lists I found online), Ohio is home to FIVE of the nation's BEST zoos, with Columbus Zoo & Aquarium consistently ranking as Numero Uno! The other zoos on the list are the Akron Zoo, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, The Toledo Zoo, and Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Ohio and California are the only states with at least three zoos that draw more than 1 million people a year.

Zoos can sound lame for an adult, especially for one without kids. However...if you have a few extra bucks laying around, you can make your zoo experience above and beyond anything you experienced as a kid: you can get VIP treatment and get to have a special encounter with a number of wild exotic animals, including: ELEPHANTS!

My favorite animals are dogs and elephants. It's nearly every day I get to see dogs, but extremely rare I (or anyone) would ever come in close contact with an elephant (or even see one from afar). I had the awesome opportunity to get up close and personal with not one, but two, African elephants at the aforementioned Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens. I got to touch them, feed them, and stand face-to-face with them. It's a moment I will not soon forget, and for the right price, you too can have an amazing experience such as this with the world's largest land mammals.

So how can you get in on the elephant fun?

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens has a "VIP Backstage Pass" that costs $80 and lets you encounter not only elephants, but giraffes and other cool animals. This is the one I got to experience and from my research, is the best experience offered among the Ohio zoos. Visit the site to find out how you can get a VIP Backstage Pass!

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo just introduced the African Elephant Crossing, a state of the art exhibit that allows you to see the elephants in a very unique way, but not as close as at Cincinnati. Toledo Zoo just welcomed a brand new baby elephant to its exhibits, and even has an Elephant Cam to watch them in action.

If you are a fan of these enormous and magnificent creatures, you owe it to yourself to meet the elephants in Cincinnati!

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