Located on 10,000 acres of land in Cumberland in Guernsey County in Southeast Ohio, The Wilds is one of the world's largest and most impressive wildlife conservations. There are many rare and endangered species living here, for purposes of science, research, education, breeding, observation, and personal experience.
Even in our late 20s and early 30s, my friends and I were pumped to see these exotic animals out in the open! On our 1.5 hour drive from Columbus, we were as excited as elementary students on their way to the zoo! But "The Wilds" is much more - it's an interactive animal experience without all of the cages and walking that come along with a visit to your typical zoo.
We called ahead to make reservations for a 2PM Open Air Safari tour, which costs $30 a person, and lasts about 2.5 hours! We found this to be a fantastic deal! Being our first time at The Wilds, we were a bit lost and confused when we arrived. There were so many people visiting, that it was pretty chaotic. Due to the massive popularity of The Wilds, I would recommend arriving extra early to get your bearings.
Once we finally were directed to our open air bus (think of a school bus without the walls and windows), things were a breeze! Our tour guide got things rolling by asking one of the children aboard the bus to operate a remote to open a large gate that would let us into the main conservation area. As the giant gate (operated by solar energy) slowly cracked open, it felt like we were entering a much tamer version of Jurassic Park.
Immediately upon entering, a large pond was on our right, where a group of Pe're David's Deer appeared to be bathing. The deer, which are native to Vietnam and China, are extinct in the wild. We came to find that this was just one of the many species that were exclusively found at The Wilds.
Continuing on, we saw wild horses, sichuan takin, bison, and zebras! We took a quick stop to feed catfish at a lake and watch as visitors flew by on the zipline tour!
Then, it was off to the mid-size carnivore conservation center where we got to walk around and (barely) see cheetahs, dholes, and African Wild Dogs!
Soon after, the bus took us past ostriches, giraffes, trumpeter swans, and to a field full of rhinos,oryxes, and antelopes co-mingling!
The tour came to an end with a bus full of smiling faces! Everyone seemed to enjoy the unique, thrilling, breathtaking adventure. Plus, The Wilds has even more to offer than just Open Air Safari tours: horseback safaris, fishing safaris, zipline safaris, sunset safaris, overnight cabin stays, and MORE!