Adventure Cove at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio, is opening this summer. Located just inside the front entrance, this new region features a Pacific Northwest inspired rocky coast and harbor setting for sea lions and seals, a colorfully themed and immersive village highlighting animals from all around the world, and updated existing attractions.
Adventure Cove was developed as an active, engaging, year-round experience for the whole family. It will highlight the Zoo’s mission to lead and inspire by connecting people and wildlife; provide exceptional daily animal care, enrichment and positive reinforcement training for the animals; offer opportunities to share these efforts with our guests; and honor Jungle Jack Hanna’s legacy of “touching the heart to teach the mind.”
Guests will have multiple opportunities at the entry to the region to experience sea lions and seals basking on rocks, barking and bellowing, or diving and swimming through currents of water past huge viewing windows. They will also be able to observe training and enrichment demonstrations and presentations from above, and to wander down into an underwater viewing “cave” and through a tunnel of clear acrylic. The tunnel is the first of its kind, taking guests on a curved, 60-foot-long journey down a submerged acrylic channel and boasting 360-degree views of these animals and the environment that surrounds them. The California sea lion and harbor seal species are increasingly in need of our help as environmental threats to their survivability increase. Guests will be enchanted and fully engaged with these playful pinnipeds and will explore how their sustainable actions in Central Ohio can have a direct impact on protecting these species and their ocean homes.
Past the pinnipeds and their watery world, guests will discover Jack Hanna’s Animal Encounters Village, a lively, one-of-a-kind indoor-outdoor animal habitat. This unique animal area, themed as a colorful village streetscape, is a highly enriched and ever-changing environment with up to 50 diverse species, including sloths, penguins, bat-eared foxes, cheetahs, tortoises and much more. Specially designed with opportunities for people-wildlife interactions, guests may come upon training and enrichment demonstrations, watch a sloth moving above their heads, encounter a bush-baby leaping nearby from branch to branch, or feel the wind from a flap of a macaw’s wings. The village truly evokes Jungle Jack’s whimsical spirit and genuine enthusiasm for connecting people and wildlife.
Additionally, the stingray touch experience is returning—renovated as a year-round opportunity to enjoy this amazing sensory animal interaction. A new restroom facility has been added to the area as well, and lastly, the rides in the former Jungle Jack’s Landing area have undergone facelifts for full incorporation into this new and engaging section of the Zoo.
Please note that Columbus Zoo and Aquarium leadership continues to follow guidance and protocols from federal, state and local authorities in regard to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. Some activities and offerings listed in this article may not be immediately available at the time of the region’s opening.
Adventure Cove shares important messages about human-wildlife conservation issues impacting the wildlife and native ranges of the ambassador animals featured here. Immersive environments, graphics, and programs will identify actions that guests can take to help make a positive difference for wildlife. Alongside these “calls to action,” the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s conservation success stories and our collaborative efforts with conservation partners working to protect many of Adventure Cove’s signature species will be highlighted.
As one example, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has contributed funding and veterinary support over the past five years to the Marine Mammal Center (MMC) in Sausalito, Calif. MMC is a veterinary research hospital and educational center dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of ill and injured marine mammals, primarily elephant seals, harbor seals, and California sea lions. Other Adventure Cove-related conservation partners include the Turtle Survival Alliance, the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), and the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF)
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