Guest blogger, Interpretive Media Intern, Crissi Lanier:
It’s no secret that of all the animals at the Zoo, some of my favorites are the big cats. So when I found out that there would be a new cheetah exhibit and an African lion, I was counting down the days until the new exhibit opened. AFRICA IS NOW OPEN!!! I went to see Africa a few days after it opened and was so excited I almost ran to the entrance. First, I saw the cheetahs in their brand new home that brings them closer to visitors with a beautiful waterfall and lush landscape. Now I can see how beautiful their eyes are!
As I left the cheetah exhibit, in front of me was a beautiful landscape stretching out that truly made me feel like I was in another country! This spacious grassy area, complete with cliffs and waterfalls, will be home to zebra, gazelle, and other savannah wildlife next summer.
On my right was a great hands-on area for all visitors, big and small. Zoo staff had various African animals here throughout the day to learn about and touch, putting Africa at everyone’s fingertips.
Finally, I found the king of the jungle – an African Lion named John. He was truly impressive when he finally walked out from the back. That was a sight I won’t soon forget. He had been a little shy since coming to Cincinnati from the National Zoo. John is almost three years old and weighs about 300 pounds. His keepers say every day he’s getting braver and coming closer to the glass that separates him from the visitors. With all the rocks and trees and his magnificent presence, I certainly felt like I was in my very own Lion King! If only I had Timon and Pumba singing…
After my African adventure, I stopped by the newly renovated Base Camp Cafe at the entrance to Africa. Here I had lunch while overlooking the African landscape and listening for John in the distance.
So come take a little trip, like I did, to Africa. Bring your camera and prepare to be transported!