The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is one of the most popular attractions in Columbus – for good reason! Our Zoo is amazing and regularly ranks as one of the best Zoos in the U.S.
There’s so much to enjoy this year at the Zoo, including new exhibits and new babies. With tons of outdoor exhibits and miles of paths, it’s always a great place to visit. Read below for some special Spring and early Summer events they have going on!
Read below for details about Zoo babies, free admission days, Zoo discounts, and membership details.
Note: we don’t sell Zoo tickets – we just share about the special events and discounts. You can purchase tickets at the Columbus Zoo or on the website.
What’s new at the Zoo?
Dinosaur Island returns!
This is such a fun feature! Dinosaur Island will take guests back 65 million years on a quest to discover over 30 animatronic dinosaurs that shift and blink, have tails that move, bodies that breathe, and electronic “brains” that activate and control their movements and sounds.
A special admission ticket is required for entrance and is not included with Zoo admission. Admission to Dinosaur Island is $3 for general admission, $2 for Columbus Zoo members, and free for Columbus Zoo Gold members, as well as included in the price of a ZooMore ride wristband.
Open daily through Aug. 14; Aug. 15-Sept. 5 (weekends only); Sept. 6 – Oct. 30 (daily – hours may vary).
Sensory-friendly Zoo Quiet Hours
October 9, 2022 | 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Zoo is offering these special quiet hours to provide families with sensory needs the opportunity to enjoy the Zoo in a more calm and relaxed environment with reduced sounds and decreased visual stimulation.
There won’t be music playing throughout the park, or on the Carousel. Each region will have different accommodations, but most monitors, projectors, and sound-making activities will be turned off. The Zoo is open to the public, so crowds may be typical. See website for full details.
There is also a special Boo at the Zoo Sensory-Friendly Halloween Character Meet & Greet from 10 am – 2 pm. Details here.
Columbus Zoo discounts
We love the Columbus Zoo and we get lots of questions about discounted Columbus Zoo & Aquarium tickets for the season and we post them when we see them.
There are some discounts available year-round, plus season passes are a great way to save money if you plan to go several times through the year. Read below for details, events, and free days at the Columbus Zoo!
The best way to find out about discounts to Columbus Zoo is to sign up for email updates from Columbus on the Cheap, and like our Facebook page. When we find new deals, we make sure our readers know about them.
Special Events and Discount Days at the Columbus Zoo
Annual Discount Days
There are quite a few free and discount days offered throughout the year, but the offers aren’t usually verified until a month or two prior. Here are posts from the prior year, but they aren’t guaranteed to be offered in subsequent years – click the link for the updates as the date gets closer for each!
- Half price winter admission 50% off regular admission January 3 through March 11, 2022
- Free Admission at Columbus Zoo on President’s Day: February 21, 2022
- Mother’s Day; Free admission for moms: tba for 2022
- Franklin County Community Days: May 15-16, 2022, September 11-12, 2022, October 2-3, 2022. Franklin County residents get 1/2 off admission as a thank-you for supporting the Columbus Zoo through the levy
- Father’s Day; Free admission for dads: tba for 2022
- Military Family Free Days at Columbus Zoo: July 2-10, 2022
- Free Admission to Columbus Zoo for Veterans and Families: tba for 2022
- Wildlights Stuff the Truck Food Drive: December 3, 2021. Each person can bring 6 non-perishable food items for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank and get free admission for that day – tba for 2022
- Free admission for Employee Appreciation Days:
First Responder and Public Safety Appreciation Days: December 26, 2021 – January 2, 2022 – tba for 2022
Healthcare Professionals Appreciation Days: December 26, 2021 -January 2, 2022 – tba for 2022
Family Access Membership
The Family Access discounted membership category is for families who live in Ohio and qualify for government assistance. The membership admits up to two primary named members in the same household, plus either dependent children or grandchildren up to age 21 years (not both) to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and/or The Wilds.
The membership is $45 and includes free admission and parking, access to members-only events and a digital magazine, discounts on educational classes and camp offerings, a 10% discount in gift shops, discounts on Zoombezi Bay single-day waterpark tickets and Season Passes, and discounts at Safari Golf Club and The Wilds.
The Wilds’ Family Access Membership is $60, and includes free Open-Air Safari tours and parking, discounts on overnight accommodations and merchandise, access to The Wilds’ digital member magazine, and more.
Both the Zoo and The Wilds’ Family Access Memberships also provide discounted or free admission to more than 150 other Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited facilities.
Family Access Memberships to the Zoo and The Wilds can only be purchased onsite at the Columbus Zoo’s Membership and Season Pass Processing office. Families interested in a Family Access Membership at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium are encouraged to check out the FAQ page for more information. An FAQ page with more about the Family Access Membership for The Wilds is also available here.
Free Culture Passes at Columbus Metropolitan Libraries
Additionally, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is taking part in a collaborative project with the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) through the Culture Pass program. At select CML locations, cardholders can check out a Culture Pass, which will grant them a free visit to the Zoo. At check out, CML cardholders receive a yellow Zoo Culture Pass (valid for two days), which they take to the Zoo’s entrance.
The pass can be redeemed for up to six adults and/or children. The Culture Pass can be returned to one of the Zoo’s team members, so guests do not need to return the pass to their library. Read more about the Culture Pass program here.
Purchase tickets online
Save $1 or more per ticket by ordering online. Print your pass, or show the receipt on your smartphone.
From the Columbus Zoo website; prices subject to change
Regular Admission Franklin County Residents (proof required)
- Under 3 – Free
- Ages 3-9 – $11.99
- Ages 10-59 – $16.99
- Seniors over 60 – $11.99
- Parking per car – $10 (no cash starting June 2020)
Regular Admission for outside of Franklin County
- Under 3: Free
- Ages 3-9: $16.99
- Ages 10-59: $21.99
- Seniors 60+: $16.99
- Parking per car – $10 (no cash starting June 2020)
Zoo More Wristband
Zoo More wristbands are available now for $9.99 weekdays until May 28! Wristband includes unlimited access to the North America Train, Grand Carousel, 4-D Theater, pony rides and camel ride. The cost of the Zoo More Wristbands is $14.99 when Rides at Adventure Cove are open beginning weekends May 1 and daily May 29. Dinosaur Island will also be included once it opens for the season.
Columbus Zoo/Zoombezi Bay 2 Day ticket (admission to the Zoo and Zoombezi Bay for both days during Zoombezi Bay Operating Season) for Franklin County residents. Add $5 for non-residents. NOTE: This offer is currently unavailable.
- Ages 3 – 9 and 60+: $31.99
- Ages 10 and up: $43.99
Year Round Zoo Admission Specials
Check this link to see whether they have reinstated these discounts.
Franklin County Community Days
- May 15-16, 2022, September 11-12, 2022, October 2-3, 2022. Franklin County residents get 1/2 off admission as a thank-you for supporting the Columbus Zoo through the levy
- Active and Non-active duty military personnel receive a $2 discount on up to 6 tickets when they show a valid military ID.
If you are going to go to the Zoo more frequently in a season, you will want to consider buying a season pass. You’ll get free parking (normally $10 a car), as well as other member benefits, like free preview nights for special events. There are discounts on season passes throughout the year.
Online Price for Franklin County residents ($3-$5 more if purchased at the Zoo; ). Non-Franklin County residents pay $5-$20 more per membership.
- Individual Membership – starting at $44 Admits one named adult
- Individual Plus One Membership – starting at $74 Admits one named adult and one unnamed guest
- Family Membership – starting out $114 Admits up to two primary named adult members within the same household plus either dependent children OR grandchildren up to age 21 (not both) to the Columbus Zoo.
- Family Plus Membership – starting at $144 Admits up to two primary named adult members within the same household plus either dependent children OR grandchildren up to age 21 (not both) to the Columbus Zoo. This membership also includes up to two named* or unnamed* guests.
- Gold Individual Membership – starting at $144.99 This individual pass gives you access to the Zoo and Zoombezi Bay, FREE Zoo rides* (including Jungle Jack’s Landing) and FREE admission to Stingray Bay and 4-D Theater.
Zoombezi Bay Season Pass – $69.99 – $144.99
Just want to enjoy the water at Zoombezi Bay? Surf into the wildest water park ever and get a special discount on your Zoombezi Bay season pass through our online store. These make a great gift!
Reciprocal Discount Member Benefit
As a Columbus Zoo and Aquarium member, you can save $3 on general admission to select Columbus museums and attractions through the Columbus Member Advantage program. No coupon is necessary. Simply show your valid Columbus Zoo membership card each time you visit!
Limited to 4 discounts per membership per day; can’t be combined with other discounts. Columbus Zoo members receive discounted or FREE admission to the AZA accredited Zoos in the list below
NOTE: Contact the attraction that you wish to attend to ensure they are honoring the Columbus Member Advantage discounts during the reopening phases.
Columbus Member Advantage Program
If you’re a member of select Central Ohio attractions, you can save $3 on general admission to the Zoo through the Columbus Member Advantage program. No coupon is necessary. Simply show your valid participating membership card when you visit! Limited to 4 discounts per membership per day; can’t be combined with other discounts.
Member Advantage partners for 2022 include:
- Columbus Museum of Art and Pizzuti Collection (see our article)
- Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (see our article)
- Dawes Arboretum (see our article)
- Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (see our article)
- LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Columbus (see our article)
- National Veterans Memorial and Museum (see our article)
- Ohio History Center & Ohio Village (see our article)
- Wexner Center for the Arts (see our article)
- COSI (advanced tickets required)
- The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology (also qualifies for ASTC reciprocal admission)
COTA Bus Rider Discounts for Summer and Fall
Ride the Cota ZooBus for $2 each way ($1 for seniors/kids over 48″, free for kids under 48″) and get a huge discount on admission. Admission to the Columbus Zoo is just $3 and admission to Zoombezi Bay is $10 off! Riders will receive a transfer/coupon from their driver to receive discounted admission. See details on schedule and fares.
May 7 – Memorial Day Service: Saturdays and Sundays
Memorial Day – Labor Day Service seven days a week
Sept. 5, 2022 – Oct. 31, 2022 Service: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays
When COTA Zoo Bus customers make a reservation, they can receive a voucher for $3 Zoo admission, per person. To register, go to the “Make Your Reservation” button below and click on the orange “Tickets” tab. Under “Daily Tickets,” click the button that says “Zoo Bus Customer Registration.”
Zoo Bus leaves from the Statehouse multiple times a day, making stops at High & Broad, Griggs Dam Park & Ride and Dublin Park & Ride before it gets to the Zoo. Bus leaves from the Zoo at various times, making stops at Dublin Park & Ride and Griggs Dam Park & Ride before it arrives at the Statehouse & High.
Programs and discounts TBA for 2022
Half-priced Winter Admission
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is offering 50% off admission discount from January 4 through March 12, 2022 to show their appreciation for the great support they received in the last year. See more info here.
Sensory Friendly Summer Night at the Zoo
May 26, 2022 from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Enjoy a sensory-friendly stroll at the Zoo after it closes to the public. Tickets are limited to ensure smaller crowds. Music and extra noises will be turned off. Sensory kits will be available. Admission is free for members; minimal fee for non-members. Ticket and detail info on the website.
Electronic recycling and Earth Day Celebration
The Zoo has some fun Earth Day activities coming up, include the electronic recycling drive (April 21) and Earth Day Celebration on April 23-24, 2022.
Donate Blood; get BOGO Zoombezi Bay tickets!
June 8, 2022, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Columbus Zoo has partnered with Versiti Blood Center of Ohio to raise the awareness of the need for lifesaving blood donations. The blood drive is in the Africa Events Center off the main parking lot. Donors must be 17 years old (16 with parental consent) and meet donor eligibility requirements.
Every donor will receive a Buy One Get One Zoombezi Bay ticket (a $42 value) and a portable Bluetooth speaker (while supplies last)! Appointments are highly recommended; book here.
EARLY MEMBER MORNINGS presented by Wendy’s®
July 17 & 18, 2022 | 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM. Watch the keepers get the animals ready for the day, get early access to activities and visit your favorite spots without the crowds or the heat.