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 a safe attraction to visit this year.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., with extended hours for Boo at the Zoo.
All Zoo visits (including Members) will require a dated, timed ticket to help ensure that social distancing and other precautions are followed appropriately. Members can visit without a reservation after 3 pm. See full details in this article before you plan your visit for other changes in regulations and precautions.
Read below for details about Zoo babies, free admission days, Zoo Bus (now available in Fall!), Zoo discounts, and membership details.
What’s new at the Columbus Zoo?
New babies on view at the Zoo
2 Masai giraffe calves
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium guests will have the opportunity to view the endangered male Masai giraffe calf born on June 28, 2020, to mother, Zuri, and father, Enzi. After first bonding with his mother behind the scenes in the giraffe barn, followed by introductions to other members of the herd, the calf has been exploring the adjacent smaller yards and a section of the giraffe feeding yard. Zuri and her calf have indicated that they are now ready to access the full feeding yard located within the Heart of Africa savanna!
Guests will be able to view Zuri and her calf on a limited basis. The best time to see them will be as soon as the Zoo opens for the day. However, there currently is no set viewing schedule, as opportunities are determined based on the animals’ needs and preferences. (They may choose not to be outside every day.)
A second endangered male Masai giraffe calf was born to mother, Jana, and father Enzi on August 27. Jana and calf are behind the scenes until ready for viewing.
Guests can participate in $3 giraffe feedings from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily to receive an up close, memorable experience.
Baby Gorilla Jamani
At 4 months old, baby gorilla, Jamani, is growing fast and getting extra squirmy as she is learning to climb and crawl. Also, she now has several adorable teeth! Currently, the best time to view Jamani with her troop is in the mornings.
Two Sea Lion Pups!
The Zoo has welcomed two sea lion pups since June! The pups are behind the scenes until they get older, but soon enough you’ll enjoy the babies at the new Adventure Cove. Keep reading below for details about the new exhibit!
Two Red Panda Cubs
You may remember a little incident with the red panda cubs’ mom, Kora, who escaped her exhibit for a brief time in July. With two new babies, we think she just needed a break for self-care. The good news is that two Zoo guests spotted her, and she was returned to her healthy cubs and all are doing well. Guests will be able to visit the baby girl and boy cubs when they are about 4 months old and begin to explore outside of the nest.
On the morning of May 29, 2020, the Australia and the Islands region welcomed a baby siamang. Siamangs are the loudest and largest species of gibbon, known as a lesser or small ape.
New Exhibits at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Sea Lion Adventure Cove for Seal Lions and Seals
Visit Adventure Cove to enjoy seal lions and seals basking on the rocks, barking and bellowing or diving and swimming through currents of water past huge viewing windows.
Watch training and enrichment demonstrations and presentations from above, or explore the underwater viewing “cave” and through a tunnel of clear acrylic. The tunnel is the first of its kind, taking guests on a curved, 60-foot-long journey down a submerged acrylic channel and boasting 360-degree views of these animals and the aquatic habitat that surrounds them.
The new Adventure Cove features a Pacific Northwest inspired rocky coast and harbor setting for the sea lions and seals that mirrors the coastal wharf of San Francisco’s Pier 39. The exhibit also includes Jack Hanna’s Animal Encounters Village, a colorfully-themed and immersive village highlighting diverse species of animals from all around the world.
Observe behavioral demonstrations with the animals, learn from Zoo educators, and experience one-on-one animal encounters. The stingray touch experience has also returned, and the rides in the former Jungle Jack’s Landing area received some minor facelifts and sign updates in order to seamlessly integrate them into this new and engaging section of the Zoo.
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 though, 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!
- Free Admission for First Responders and Public Safety Officials (plus 5 guests): December 26, 2019 – January 5, 2020
- Half price winter admission 50% off regular admission January 6 through February 29, 2020. Extended through April 6. Indoor exhibits closed during coronavirus crisis.
- Free Admission to Columbus Zoo for MLK Jr. Day: January 20
- Free Admission at Columbus Zoo on President’s Day: February 17
- Mother’s Day; Free admission for moms: Zoo is CLOSED
- Father’s Day; Free admission for dads: tba (NOTE: discounted days are not being held at this time due to crowd size limitations and restrictions)
- Military Family Free Days at Columbus Zoo: tba late June – early July (NOTE: discounted days may not held at this time due to crowd size limitations and restrictions)
- Free Admission to Columbus Zoo for Veterans and Families: Veterans Day, November 11, 2020
- Wildlights Stuff the Truck Food Drive: November 20, 2020. Each person can bring 5 non-perishable food items for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank and get free admission.
- Jack Hanna’s Home for the Holidays: December 12, 2020. Free admission with donation from Zoo’s wishlist
- Free admission for First Responder and Public Safety Workers: December 26, 2020 – January 3, 2021. All current and retired first responders and public safety personnel, plus 5 of their guests can enjoy free admission to the Columbus Zoo and Wildlights. A valid police/fire photo ID must be presented (showing proof of department of employment), or badges and credentials plus a photo ID.
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
Remember, for the time being ALL visitors must make reservations for timed tickets online, including members. See full details here.
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
- $3 discount for reservations made after 3 pm with the Late Day discount
- 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
- $3 discount for reservations made after 3 pm with the Late Day discount
- Parking per car – $10 (no cash starting June 2020)
Zoo More Experience Package
**Best value package!** Includes Zoo admission PLUS all of the attractions in Jungle Jack’s Landing; 4-D Theater; Dinosaur Island; and carousel, train, camel and pony rides. UNLIMITED!!! NOTE: this package is not available after the reopening due to the possibility that attractions may be closed temporarily.
- Franklin County: $26.98 – $31.98
- Outside of Franklin County: $31.98 – $36.98
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
NOTE: These discounts are currently unavailable during reopening. Check this link to see whether they have reinstated these discounts.
- Tuesdays – Seniors (ages 60+) receive half price admission to the Zoo
Franklin County Days
- Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays Franklin County residents receive half price admission to the Zoo.
*Zoo Guests will be asked to provide a valid driver’s license, state-issued ID or a current utility bill to receive the Franklin County Days discount.
- Active and Non-active duty military personnel receive a $2 discount on up to 6 tickets when they show a valid military ID.
2020 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. NOTE: You MUST make a reservation in advance to visit the Zoo in 2020. Reservations can be made by visiting ColumbusZoo.org or by calling (614) 645-3400.
Zoo Bus Summer service for Zoo and Zoombezi Bay is offered from Friday, July 3, 2020 through Labor Day, Monday, September 7, 2020.
Cota Zoo Bus Fall Service is available Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from September 18 through November 1, 2020! 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 at 8:30 AM, 10 AM, 2:30 PM, 4:30 PM, and 6 PM, 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 9:15 AM, 10:45 AM, 3:45 PM, 5:15 PM and 7 PM, making stops at Dublin Park & Ride and Griggs Dam Park & Ride before it arrives at the Statehouse & High.
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!
Note for Zoombezi Bay reopening 2020: All Zoombezi Bay visits will now require a dated, timed ticket, including all Season Pass Holders and Gold Members. Members can visit after 3 pm without a reservation.
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 partners for 2020
- LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Columbus
- Columbus Museum of Art
- Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
- Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
- National Veterans Memorial and Museum
- Ohio History Center & Ohio Village
- Pizzuti Collection
- Wexner Center for the Arts
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