Big Cats, Cold Weather and Rain

Lion pensive at Columbus Zoo

Tuesday was supposed to be a mild partly cloudy day.  The rain, according to the weather forecast, was supposed to be well off to the east of us by mid-morning.  Paul had the day off and we planned to go to the Columbus Zoo. He wasn’t able to visit when the Heart of Africa opened due to his work schedule, and he missed the opening of the Polar Frontier too.

Last summer we set out for the Zoo but stormy weather stopped us from reaching our destination.  So, on Tuesday, as we drove towards the Zoo in the drizzle, we kept telling ourselves that the sky looked lighter and surely the rain will stop by the time we reach the gate.

As we pulled into the parking lot rays of sunshine broke through the clouds and we decided to proceed.  We had no trouble finding a parking spot. I don’t think there were more than 20 vehicles in the lot.  We lost hope of seeing the lion cubs because it was too chilly and rainy for them to be outside.

We found our way to the Heart of Africa by way of the Trumpeter Swans and the Mexican Wolves, the most rare and genetically distinct subspecies of grey wolf in North America.  The wolves were curled up in tight circles snoozing.  We passed by the Bison and read a sign that the Heart of Africa was closed for the season but you would be able to observe the lions….weather permitting.

As we walked towards the lion habitat, we didn’t see Tomo resting underneath the overhang of the habitat.  He had found a nice dry place to survey his surroundings.

Lion Profile close up

Our presence didn’t seem to bother Tomo in the least.  He remained pensive and gave us a nod and a yawn.  We admired him for a while and when he decided to go inside, we decided to move on to see the other cats.

Cougar Columbus Zoo

The rain stopped but a cold mist filled the air.  One of the cougar found the perfect location curled up inside a hollow log. He was able to stay out of the rain yet still observe.   Paul and I were the only people around the North American area so we had plenty of quiet time to spend just hanging out.

Bobcat sleeping

This bobcat had the right idea.  She was tucked underneath a log out of the rain, snug and warm.  Another bobcat was romping and playing and darting around so quickly I couldn’t get a good photo.  Reminded me of Annie.


Tiger playing with bone

We worked our way over to Asia Quest to see the Amur Tigers.  We found one tiger romping and playing with a treat.  He was having a great time, and then he saw us.

Tiger straight forward

“Are you looking at me?”  We were the only two visitors in the area and when he realized he was being observed, he stopped playing and gave us this look. We nodded back and moved along to let him have his privacy.

Tiger cub playing

We were lucky to find one of the tiger cubs playing in his yard too.  He was bunny-kicking his spool toy and having a great time.  That is until he saw he wasn’t alone.

Tiger Cub playing

Paul and I waved goodbye to the little guy.

The cooler temperatures aren’t all that bad when you are visiting because there are many animals that are happy when the temperatures drop.  This guy in particular seemed to be loving the lower temperature.

Polar Bear at zoo

This guy, however, had been a good sport and enjoyed seeing the cats and bears but was ready for some warmth and food.

Paul by tiger ornament

As we were leaving, the Columbus Zoo was getting ready for the start of Wild Lights at the end of the month.  We hope to make it back.


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  1. da tabbies o trout towne says

    Joanne; THANX for sharing this visit !! I could watch the big cats all day. I hope you do make it back at the end of the month; I’ll bet the Wild Lights tour is something to see ? Laura

  2. naturegirly says

    I wanted to visit the Columbus Zoo this summer but I had to work the weekend we had planned. Hopefully next year! Looks like it’s a good one. Thanks for sharing the pics!