Cleveland Zoo – Animals in Natural Habitat
A review of the Cleveland Zoo, and the changes that have taken place to make the Zoo more educational and experiential.
In past years, zoos in the United States worked to collect as many animals as possible. There was a desire to approximate Noah’s Ark, with two or more of any many species as they could contain and afford. Over a number of years, the Cleveland Zoo, one of the most prestigious zoos in the country, has evolved from a collection of animals to an experience, where animals roam in areas designed to recall they’re natural habitat, informing and educating rather than amassing and displaying.
The Zoo is set up in six main areas, including Australian Adventure, Wildlife Pond, African Savanna, and Northern Trek. These areas are meant to place the patron in the country of the animal’s origin, and allow the animals to roam as freely as possible.
Cleveland Zoo Habitats
The Australian Adventure features the requisite kangaroos, koalas, and wallaroos, as well as birds from the continent, but places the zoogoer in with the animals. A train runs through the habitat, giving the patron an up-close view of the animals. Only ropes separate the wallaroos from the customer, although there is a double door system to prevent the marsupials from running loose in the rest of the park.
The African Savanna has giraffes, ostriches, rhinos, and zebras, set up they have room to run, with areas built up and around the Savanna for viewing. It is a great place to see the antelope play, although there are no buffalo roaming about. The Northern Trek features bears and tigers, oh my, but the lion is near the Savanna.
One of the results of this focus on habitat is a reduction in the total number of animals and species. Many of the species are not present or represented by one or two animals. There was only one lion a large area, and two polar bears and gorillas. No Grizzly Bears or Bongos were apparent, as in prior years. Monkey Island used to be covered with hundreds of monkeys, but now has about a dozen, hardly enough for a barrel. A great many birds are in the zoo, including uninvited local Cleveland fowl such as crows and gulls. Fewer animals are being removed from the wild due to concerns from animal rights groups, and the cost of transporting and maintaining the large animals.
Other areas include a butterfly area, primate cat and aquatic building, and a new wolf viewing area. There is also a building holding a Rainforest, which requires an additional admission fee.
Animal Medicine at the Zoo
The Zoo has recently opened to the public the Center for Zoo Medicine, where visitors can tour the facility and watch medical procedures being done. In 2007, The Cleveland Zoo is the only Zoo with its own CT scanner, which can accommodate many of the smaller animals. There are a number of souvenir shops, as well as fast food kiosks and restaurants. Docents are available to answer questions and provide information on exhibits and animals.
The Cleveland Zoo is an educational and fun way to spend a day, conveniently located on the West Side of Cleveland not far from downtown. Simon and Garfunkel said that it was all happening at the zoo, and today that is clearly evident at The Cleveland Zoo.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, OH 44109
Phone: (216) 661-6500