Africa is Closer than you think!
Phase III of the Cincinnati Zoo's Africa opened June 29, 2013 and offers open-air, dramatic views of some of Africa's most powerful predators - lions and cheetahs. In fact, visitors may even get close enough to count the whiskers on the "king of the jungle!"
The Cincinnati Zoo's newest exhibit transports visitors to the grassy plains of Africa. In addition to getting super close to lions and cheetahs, this spectacular and transformational new exhibit will feature cascading waterfalls, flowing streams and a communal watering hole will intertwine with the footpath as it winds under a wooden bridge and among naturalistic rock, termite mounds, Vulture Island, and the African lions home - Pride Rock.
Continuing up the path, guests will arrive at a lasting favorite – the Zoo’s Cheetah Encounter, where cheetahs can be seen racing at top speeds. In addition to cheetahs, visitors can also expect visits from fishing cats, African servals, Anatolian shepherds, and even a red river hog! Cheetah Encounter is free with regular Zoo admission.
Giraffes are the tallest animals in the world and one of the most popular at the Zoo, especially during feeding time. With its new gazebo-style feeding tree house that reaches out into the giraffe yard, guests will not only be eye to eye at these mighty giants, but will also have a breathtaking new view of the entire Africa vista. In addition, a new shade structure and more elbow room will welcome visitors at Giraffe Ridge.
Giraffes won't be the only ones in Africa experiencing new feeding opportunities! Zoo guests will enjoy dining at the Base Camp Café – a new African-themed restaurant. With more seating than ever before, and an expansive deck overlooking the exhibit, the café is a destination unto itself and the perfect spot for guests to refuel before heading out on their own African safari. Renovated restrooms and a brand new, comfortable and private Nursing Nest are located below the café.
Get close to "John" and "Imani":
The Big Picture - Completing Africa
Africa will be the largest and most ambitious wildlife exhibit in Cincinnati Zoo history. The next phase of Africa will include the addition of African wild dog, meerkat, gazelle, lesser kudu, impala, Ruppell’s vulture, crowned crane, and kori bustard. The hippo exhibit will be the final, and most anticipated, piece of Africa!
We need your help to make it happen. Please consider making a donation.
Africa - Green Building Standards
As the ‘greenest zoo in America,’ the Zoo wanted to ensure that this project would be built to Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Africa is on track to achieve a minimum LEED Certified Gold.
The Zoo partnered with the Metropolitan Sewer District to divert all of the rainwater that drains into the site off the storm water grid. Phase I alone replaced more than one acre of pavement with an acre of green space. Upon completion of Africa, nearly eight acres of green space will be added, which will take one-third of the Zoo’s storm water off the grid. Pervious concrete, bio-swales, and a large rainwater re-use tank will be used to pump out the water for irrigation.
Cincinnati Zoo Connections to Africa
The Centre is located in the South Rift Valley of Kenya, stretching from the Maasai Mara National Reserve through Amboseli National Park, and is one of the most spectacular wildlife areas on the planet. Each year, the Zoo, in conjunction with Miami University’s Project Dragonfly, leads an Earth Expeditions course titled Kenya: Wildlife & People in Integrated Landscapes. Up to 20 teachers, primarily from the United States, travel to the South Rift Valley to engage in community-based conservation in this dynamic landscape. This effort builds on the decades-long research of Dr. David Western, former head of the Kenya Wildlife Service, and the centuries-long research of the Maasai pastoralists, who have long co-existed with wildlife in an open grassland ecosystem populated by elephants, lions, giraffes, zebra, wildebeests, and a remarkable diversity of other species. With the rise of nontraditional lifestyles, private ranches, and fenced lands that prevent needed wildlife migrations, communities of the South Rift have recognized the need to understand the impact of these changes and to work together for a better future.
While in the AFRICA exhibit at the Zoo visitors will have an opportunity to help one of our conservation mission’s back in Africa. Beaded bracelets, made by the Olkiramatian Women’s Group that manage the Lale enok Resource Center in the South Rift of Kenya, are being sold in the AFRICA exhibit. These bracelets are an unchanging symbol of the Maasai – a tangible cultural icon and a means to maintaining healthy livelihood. The Lale enok Resource Center provides the community with important information including good places to graze cattle, recent lion activity, water sources, etc. The Resource Center also houses lion conservation research teams that track and follow the resident lion prides using GPS collars provided to them by the Zoo.
“The bracelets are a symbol of the coexistence of humans and wildlife – and the Zoo wants to inspire it’s visitors with this message of coexistence in hopes that they will take the sustainability and conservation messages they hear at the Zoo and put them into place in their homes and communities,” said Maynard. “By purchasing a bracelet, Zoo visitors are supporting the coexistence of lions, humans, and other wildlife in the South Rift.”