Thanks so much to Xanterra Parks for inviting me on this press trip to Ohio which included a visit to The Wilds Safari Park. Although I received compensation for this post, I truly did love and treasure my time at The Wilds.
If your family loves animals, you absolutely have to consider visiting The Wilds safari park in Cumberland, Ohio. I was there a few years ago and I still hold really fond memories of it. I can’t wait to be able to go back. The Wilds is the largest wildlife conservation center for endangered animals in North America. It’s a non-profit center associated with the Columbus Zoo. Its aim is to promote conservation through science, education, hands-on experiences, and one-of-a-kind adventures. The Wilds sits on an area of approximately 10000 acres and includes 2000 acres of pastures and a 27 acre Carnivore Conservation Center.
More than 350 mammals from 31 different species from around the world live at The Wilds. The unique environment at The Wilds provides for very successful breeding programs. As of when I visited, The Wilds was maintaining one of the largest white rhino herds in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It is the only known facility outside of Africa with fourth-generation rhino calves born in human care. One of the highlights of my life was getting to pet one of the babies born there. Other breeding programs at The Wilds have seen amazing success as well including cheetahs and American bison.
WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE WILDS?
A variety of safari experiences are available at The Wilds including in an enclosed bus, in an open air bus, wildside tours that include up-close interactions with animals, on horseback, fishing safaris, sunset safaris including dinner, and even ones via zipline! The Wilds is designated as an Audubon Important Bird Area and includes a birding station with covered lookout. There is also a butterfly habitat, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, and about 150 lakes. Special events are held throughout the year including festivals, photo safari camps, family camps, and more.
WHERE CAN WE STAY WHILE VISITING THE WILDS?
Nomad Ridge Private Yurts
Imagine falling asleep and waking up to the sounds of the wildlife living at The Wilds. Or how about sitting around the campfire overlooking the safari park? This is what awaits you if you choose to stay on site at The Wilds in one of their luxury overnight accommodations. Up on Nomad Ridge, adult only accommodations come in the form of well-appointed private yurts. Tucked in among the trees, you can sit back and relax on your personal deck next to The Wilds’ animal pasture areas. Bring your binoculars because the possibility of animal sightings abound! Relax around the campfire in the evening and forget about the outside world for a little while. Includes a Safari Transport or Open-Air Safari Pass for each guest, dinner and breakfast for two, and concierge services throughout your stay. Bedroom, private bathroom, and Wifi available in each yurt.
The Lodge at The Wilds
The Lodge at The Wilds offers a private luxury cabin tucked away by a beautiful scenic lake. It can accommodate up to 12 people and includes a comfortable living and dining room, fully equipped kitchen, and 6 bedrooms with 2 twin-sized beds in each. Every bedroom has its own private bathroom including shower. Wifi, satellite TV, a grill with charcoal, and boats with fishing equipment are also available. Recently opened are The Wilds’ Cabins at Straker Lake. Similar to The Lodge in amenities but with 3 bedrooms with 2 twin-sized beds in each instead for a smaller accommodation. The Cabins also include a communal dining hall where guests can mingle. The Lodge and The Cabins, like Nomad Ridge, include safari passes for each guest.
This is definitely one of those destinations where there is something for everyone. I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying their time at The Wilds. There is so much to see, so much to do, and so much to learn. For me, it was an amazing experience being able to get up close to animals I had only ever seen before behind walls and bars. Knowing that The Wilds is working to save endangered animals and that the money they receive from my visit helps them continue this good work is a huge added bonus. And the convenience of being able to stay and dine right on site is one that I greatly appreciate. The Wilds is on my “Must Visit Again” bucket list. I can’t wait to take my grandson there!