Take a break from city life and immerse yourself in nature with visits to these unique parks and habitats around Ohio and Indiana. You’ll find something for everyone to enjoy, whether it’s a hands-on experience with an elephant or a drive-thru safari for the more timid animal lover.
Wilstem Wildlife Park
Wilstem Wildlife Park offers a world’s worth of animal experiences and outdoor activities in one Indiana location. Take a zip line tour or ride an ATV through the park’s 1,100 acres. Experience animal encounters with giraffes, elephants, grizzly bears, lemurs, kangaroos, and sloths, with a variety of VIP tours curated to specific interests, including one to bathe a retired circus elephant. Lodging is also available on the property for visitors who plan to make a weekend trip.
4229 U.S. 150 W., Paoli, Indiana, (812) 936-4484
Located about three hours northeast of Cincinnati is North America’s largest conservation facility, The Wilds. Part of the Columbus Zoo, the habitat is an immersive outdoor experience with zip line tours, a butterfly habitat, horseback riding, fishing, and more. With more than 9,000 acres of land and a variety of animals from Africa and Asia, this nonprofit brings the feel of an authentic safari to rural Ohio. Summer tours begin in May but there are events at The Wilds all year long.
14000 International Rd., Cumberland, Ohio, (740) 638-5030
Wolf Creek Habitat
For a unique outdoor excursion during the winter, head to the Wolf Creek Habitat in Brookville, Indiana. Located only an hour from Cincinnati, right in the owner’s backyard, visitors are able to interact with two human-raised wolf packs in their natural habitat. Dress warmly and you will be able to get up close and personal with adult wolves and cubs and experience their playful nature.
14099 Wolf Creek Rd., Brookville, Indiana, (513) 312-9143
Walk with Hawks
Try your hand at falconry on a Walk with Hawks outside of Columbus. These hands-on guided tours offered by the Ohio School of Falconry allow participants to learn about the different kinds of hawks, training techniques, and history about the art of falconry. Free-flying hawks will soar down from their 70-foot-high canopy and land directly on your outstretched glove during walk-through sessions in the woods. Walks will begin in April and go through December.
7925 N. High St., Columbus, Ohio, (614) 312-5004
The African Safari Wildlife Park
This safari experience allows you to observe and encounter animals without even leaving your car. The African Safari Wildlife Park near Lake Erie offers both drive-thru and walk-thru experiences with more than 50 different types of animals. You can feed a bison out your car window or have a kangaroo eat out of the palm of your hand. The park also offers activities like camel rides and educational programs.
267 S. Lightner Rd., Port Clinton, Ohio, (419) 732-3606