The Heart of Africa at The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
Friday, I had the opportunity to visit the new Heart of Africa exhibit at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. It was a beautiful Spring day with perfect weather and walking felt great as opposed to sitting at my computer.
Working my way through the crowd, I walked through North America and past the Polar Frontier. Both of these areas are amazing too, but my goal this day was to see the new Heart of Africa.
At the entrance gate to the Heart of Africa, I smiled right away when I saw a termite mound to the right of the path. The 43 acre exhibit was created to give the zoo visitor as authentic an African savanna experience as possible in the heart of Ohio. When I saw that termite mound, I knew no detail was spared.
I walked past the camels and found my way to the overlook to take in the view of the savanna. I expected the new exhibit to be great because when the Polar Frontier opened it was amazing but this view blew me away. As I listened to the people around me the consensus was that this exhibit far exceeded any expectations. I think they did an amazing job and I will show you what I mean.
Zebra in the Heart of Africa.
And here are Zebra in a photo I took in Kenya. I was in Kenya during the dry season so there is less green but pretty close.
I love that the Columbus Zoo rotates animals during the day so that visitors to the Heart of Africa will see different animals when they visit the water hole. And that is how it is in Africa too. You never know which animals will show up at any given time.
Water Hole in Namibia
Giraffes in the Heart of Africa
Giraffes in Kenya
As you can see, the Heart of Africa gives the zoo visitor an experience as close as they might get without traveling to Africa. And even then, there are no guarantees you will see lions, cheetahs and leopards. But you will see lions and cheetahs in the Heart of Africa and there are leopards in another area of the zoo too.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium works with conservation programs in Africa that mitigate threats to both people and wildlife by supporting a balance between the needs of humans and animals. The animals living in the Heart of Africa are some of the same species their conservation partners are working to save in Africa. Some of the projects the Columbus Zoo helps to fund are EWASO Lions, Grevy’s Zebra Trust, and the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia. To learn more about the Heart of Africa and the Columbus Zoo’s Partners in Conservation visit The Heart of Africa.
“The Eye Never Forgets What the Heart Has Seen”
Leaving the exhibit last Friday, I felt hopeful. I heard so many people expressing joy and love for the animals they were observing. I looked up and saw the African Proverb painted on the exit of the Heart of Africa. We need more hearts to see and fall in love with Africa. It will take all of us to save her.