Gearing up for school brings mixed emotions, but there's still time to make more great memories with your kids before summer truly slips away. For example, have you seen the new Hippopotamus Exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens? It is really fantastic and a great place to take your kids!
The Zoo's new Hippo exhibit, called Hippo Cove, was one of our favorite outings this summer! Both of my kids and I loved it and we highly recommend that you experience it for yourselves! The zoo has two brand new hippos: Henry and Bimi. They are truly amazing and fun to watch. It has been many many years since the Cincinnati zoo has had a hippo exhibit due to the very extensive and expensive filtration it takes to maintain a hippo environment (if you have ever visited a hippo pool in Africa, you know how dirty they get). The newly opened hippo exhibit earned a big fat WOW from us!!!! Cinci... Congrats! You knocked it out of the park! The underwater viewing area is especially amazing!
Henry and Bimi are most active and playful first thing in the morning and from 2-6 pm. Just next door, in the African exhibit you can also see the adorable baby giraffe. I know many people are anti zoo because they feel animals are better off in nature. I really respect that, and when I returned from my African Safari in 1990 it was very difficult for me to visit the zoo for many years. I now realize what a great educational vessel the zoo really is. Without it most would never get to see a real hippo or a giraffe.
Funny story... In 1990 I went on a youth trip to Kenya in East Africa. At that time I was between 8th and 9th grade and not so savvy about the dangers that lurk in the wilds of Africa. So one day my group was picnicking near a river. While the adults were setting up, some friends and I ventured down an embankment to the river. We thought perhaps we would cross the "big rocks" that were partially exposed out of the water and go to the other side of the river. Within seconds our tour guide was quite excited. Frantic some might say as he practically tumbled down the hill screaming for us to get away from the HIPPOS!!!! It was then I learned how dangerous these beautiful creatures really are. Thankfully we were all ok.
The name hippopotamus comes from an ancient Greek word, which means "water horse." Hippos love to spend most of their time in the water, which keeps them cool during the heat of the day. But they also venture onto land at night to graze on grass. The average hippo weighs 3,300 pounds and can run over 30 mph. Although they appear "cute," they can be quite dangerous. In fact, hippos kill more people in Africa each year than any other animal. Fortunately for you, they can now be viewed up close at the Cincinnati Zoo in a safe and pleasant environment.
This weekend (August 20-21st) the Cincinnati Zoo is celebrating Visitor Appreciation Days and tickets are 1/2 off the normal price, so take advantage of this special and go see these spectacular creatures.
Venture out and let me know what YOU THINK of the new hippo display. To my readers and friends not in the Cincinnati area, please tell me in the comments below how you will enjoy these last few bits of the glory days of summer where you live. You never know, there's still time to take a short road trip and make great family memories!
Go catch fireflies and toast marshmallows... Summer is not over yet!
PS- Don't miss the cutest baby giraffe at the Cincinnati Zoo!