The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is set amidst 183 wooded acres, off of Fulton Avenue, just four miles south of downtown Cleveland. It's a fascinating collection of animals from all over the world, many residing in natural-like, open-air settings.
Favorite exhibits include the African elephants, the "Wolf Wilderness" exhibit, and the latest addition, the "Australian Adventure." A two-acre, enclosed Rain Forest features some of the myriads of wildlife found in the tropical jungle.
The Zoo's History
The Cleveland Zoo was founded in 1882 and was originally located in Wade Park, near University Circle. The land and the first animals -- fourteen native Ohio deer -- were donated by Cleveland businessman and philanthropist, Jeptha Wade. At first, the Zoo was dedicated to local, indigenous animals, but eventually grew to include creatures from around the world.
The Deer Park stayed at Wade Oval long after the rest of the zoo moved to its present location. Eventually, in 1975, the deer joined the rest of the zoo inhabitants. The original Wade Park Deer Pavilion is now located at the zoo near the pond. It houses the Victorian ice cream parlor.
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open to the public all year, every day except for January 1 and December 25. Children under 2 are free all year. Prices are reduced by 50% on "Polar Bear Days," any day that the temperature is below 32 degrees (as determined by NewsChannel5 or WMNV weather). You can also save $1 per person by ordering online.
Cuyahoga County residents can visit the zoo for free on non-holiday Mondays by showing a state ID, driver's license, or utility bill with the person's home address. If Monday is a bank holiday, the discount applies to Tuesday admission. Free Mondays apply only to Zoo admission, not to the Rain Forest. Discount tickets are available at AAA outlets.
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo offers nine snack and dining options, from McDonalds and Pizza Hut outlets to the full-service Amazon Cafe in the Rainforest building.
Parking and Facilities
Parking at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is free and shuttles run continuously between the parking lot and the main entrance. The zoo has ample facilities for picnicking. Bring a basket or buy food at one of the many snack bars throughout the park. The zoo also features several gift shops.