Having been disappointed when we visited the Columbus Zoo because of the commercialization, we had held off making the hour trip out to see the Wilds, a non-profit safari park and conservation center owned by the Zoo. The Wilds is home to numerous rare and endangered species living in a natural, open range habitat.
The property encompasses 9,154 acres of reclaimed coal mine land and includes 2,000 acres of pastures and a 27-acre Carnivore Conservation Center, claiming to be the largest wildlife conservation center in North America.
We purchased tickets for an open bus tour, which left the visitor center on top of a large hill. The ride on the bus was bumpy, a bit cool on a sunny late October day, but well worth it. The driver was very knowledgeable, humorous, and thorough without being boring.
We made our way through the tall fences between various pastures that keep animals that wouldn’t get along separate from each other. Camels and Bison in one pasture, Zebras and Hippos in another.
Expecting the worst, I was very wrong. This was a great place to see the animals, and well worth the trip out.