28371478201_fa236ddbd2_bCincinnati, OH (July 21, 2016) Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s much-anticipated hippo exhibit is finally open, and it was worth the weight! Visitors marveled at the girth of hippos Bibi & Henry for the first time this morning as the pair floated, splashed and belly-flopped in their 70,000-gallon pool.

Members took advantage of the opportunity to enter the Zoo at 8 a.m.  for Hippo Cove’s opening and were the first to catch a glimpse of the hippos. The Zoo will continue to open at 8 a.m. for members for the next three days (7/22, 7/23 & 7/24). “I hope as many members as possible will get out here early in the next three days to enjoy their exclusive, members-only viewing opportunity and get one of the first glimpses of Henry and Bibi,” said TR Amrine, Cincinnati Zoo Membership Director.

Henry, a 34-year-old male hippopotamus from Dickerson Park Zoo, and Bibi, a 17-year-old female from St. Louis Zoo, hit it off almost immediately after they arrived in Cincinnati earlier this month.  “From the moment he laid eyes on her, Henry was intent on trying to find a path to Bibi. Henry, a proven breeder, has already sired offspring in the past, but he has been without a mate for 20 years! Clearly he cannot wait to spend some quality time with Miss Bibi,” said Africa head keeper Wendy Rice when introductions were in progress (more in Wendy’s blog post). “The two have now been fully introduced and all indications suggest that they are compatible and happy to be with each other, a good sign since we have a breeding recommendation for the pair!”

The Zoo’s new Wi-Fi network makes it easy to share photos and videos from Hippo Cove, and the exhibit’s underwater viewing area provides the perfect backdrop! Bring a wide-angle lens to capture full body shots of Bibi and Henry from the exhibit’s scenic overlook. Kids will appreciate a special viewing window that’s close to the ground and will enjoy climbing on hippo statues in the new play area.

Nile hippos, also known as river hippos or river horses, are vegetarians and can weigh as much as 8,000 pounds.  Males are typically much larger than females. Although hippos spend much of their day in the water, they actually can’t swim at all. They float or walk along the bottom of the water.

Hippo Cove is FREE with regular Zoo admission.