Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is the seventh oldest zoo in the US. The zoo was much bigger than what I envisioned; 168 outdoor acres and two indoor acres. The outdoor part of the zoo had different sections, each featuring a different theme: Australian Adventure, Northern Experience, African Safari, Cats, Primates and Aquatics. Two trams take you to the outmost parts of the zoo if you don't want to have a hike.
Our visit to the zoo started at the Rain Forest, which is in a two floor enclosed building. The rain forest was designed very beautifully. The atrium had a 25-foot waterfall surrounded by ancient temple ruins and dense foliage, and the second floor was designed to give an atmosphere of a research center in the tropics. The first floor exhibited bats, reptiles, crocodiles, primates and amphibians. I found the second floor more interesting as bigger species were on display.
After the rain forest exhibit, we entered the main zoo This years main attraction was the dinosaurs. Eleven species of life-size dinaosaurs were on display. The dinosaurs roared and moved as if they were alive and awed and scared the kids and the adults with kid spirits.
Our next stop was the Australian Adventure. As we were tired we took a train tour around this park ($1.50 per person) and got to see the wallabies real close. Later we made a walkabout and discovered that this place was designed more for kids than for adults. There was a tree house, petting zoo, and camel rides.
We took the blue tram to the exhibit of Primate, Cat and Aquatics. We saw various lemurs, chimpanzees and gorillas from Asia and South America. Howler and Spider Monkeys were off interest to us as we had previously seen them in Costa Rica in nature. The Aquatic part included beautiful tropical fish and corals.
We wanted to visit the Northern Experience, however, as it was close to the closing time, the red tram was not working. We toured some parts of the African Safari, but most of the animals were taken inside. Even the Butterfly Exhibition was closed. I suggest that you tour the rain forest last, as this part of the zoo closes at 6:30pm, while the outdoor part of the zoo closes at 5pm.
The ticket to the zoo enables you to get a $2 discount on The Cleveland Museum of Natural History (5/15/03-9/1/03).