Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
This second oldest zoo in the U.S., considered one of the best in the country, is most renowned for its endangered species and birthing programs, particularly for gorillas and white tigers, and has a wonderful collection of felines and a delightful manatees exhibit.
Duration: More than 3 hours
Meets animal welfare guidelines
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  • 🥳 🎉 🥳 Keep Life Simple 🥳🎉🥳
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania94,030 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth the trip
    The Cincinnati Zoo is really nice .we loved the elephants ,red Panda and Giraffe exhibit. But Hippo Cove is the place to be. We dove over 6 hours from Pittsburgh just to see Fiona, Fritz ,Tucker and the family. They did not disappoint and we spent 2 hours watching them show off. It was very relaxing and entertaining. They were very active in the afternoon. It was definitely worth the trip to the Cincinnati Zoo . The Zoo is very crowded and almost impossible to get a parking spot. We couldn't find one in the morning and had to leave and visit the Taft home and came back at 1pm that day. People were leaving and there were then many parking spots. Overall a wonderful time.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 25, 2023
  • Julie F
    New Lenox, Illinois161 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Loved it!
    We had the best visit to the Zoo! It was our 1st visit and it did not disappoint. I couldn't get over the amount of beautiful spring flowers blooming all over the zoo. The animals were out and active, which my kids loved. We can't wait to plan another visit!
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written April 29, 2023
  • John W
    Lostant, Illinois2,244 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful Zoo
    My wife and I spent two days here trying to go different zoos every year. The main reason to come here was to see the hippos since not many zoos have them. Those were one of our favorites but there’s so much here that it will take probably two days to see everything. The Asian Elephants were another favorite and while their enclosure was quite big they are working on an even bigger exhibit due to up within a year or two. Lots of primates here as well as reptiles and birds. Like the Columbus Zoo they also have manatees and there’s some fish in that building as well. There’s plenty of dining options to choose from and there are water stations spread around the zoo as you can bring in your food and bottles as long as they’re not grass. The gardens help make the zoo more beautiful than it already is. I don’t think I have been to another zoo that had as many different types of penguins as they do here. Try to see the cheetah encounter as they usually have it once a day.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 18, 2023
  • LivelySD
    25 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful day for the zoo.
    Lots to see and do. Many helpful zoo employees/volunteers to answer questions. The weather was beautiful, so the animals and plants were fabulous. Zoo maps were posted around occasionally, but could have been more so pulling up the tiny map on our cellphone wouldn't have been necessary. Got to the 2:30 giraffe feeding by 2:25 and they were finished, apparently doing the feeding early for some reason, so that was disappointing.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written June 8, 2023
  • Mike K
    75 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great place to visit.
    There is not much more to say about this zoo but wow! It is very well put together and easy to navigate. Spent 5 1/2 hours there and loved it. Fiona and Fritz are definitely the stars of the zoo but dont miss the penguins or the meerkats.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 29, 2023
  • Ken
    301 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful, top-rated zoo.
    A great way to spend a few hours or a whole day. I get there early and close them down. 9 a.m. entry is one of the advantages of being a member so...front row parking and you get to see the hippos before the throngs invade. This was a very HOT day but, fortunately, there was still a lot of activity throughout. Day started with encountering Isla, the tamandua, out for a stroll. The hippo bloat was chilling in the corner...until the hippo encounter experience brought romaine. Kip, the white cheeked gibbon, is not to be missed. The dude is pretty nonstop action and a video is a better option than trying to take stills. He is always on the go when he's not sleeping in the hammock and those long arms straight up in the air as he runs around are a hoot. The meerkats go nuts when they get a cricket delivery. Beaudan, the new bongo calf, is so freakin' cute and fun to watch when he gets the zoomies. Take in Wings of Wonder. Great, educational show with some pretty impressive fly-overs. The Cheetah Encounter is more of a conservation/awareness show than just a cheetah run featuring several species teaching RRR and other sustainable practices. These shows DO NOT run every day so check the schedule before you go. Beautiful grounds/flowers. Well taken care of. No wonder they're an accredited arboretum. There is quite of bit of relatively steep terrain so be prepared for a cardio workout.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 19, 2023
  • Luann M
    Pecatonica, Illinois424 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This zoo has beautiful animal habitats enhanced by gorgeous landscaping!
    We got to this zoo before it opened at 10:00. (Members get in at 9:00, but we were not members). Parking is covered and very close to the zoo entrance. You can take in picnic supplies and water. Benches are everywhere, helpful for seniors! Before time to get in, an employee came over to make sure we had scanned a map of the zoo and to give suggestions for visiting the parts of the zoo that really get crowded in the morning when not as many people are there. Wow! We really appreciated that! We did go to the kangaroo encounter first, then wandered over to the African part to see hippopotamus, African painted dogs, etc. Well done! There is also a cheetah encounter, a bird show, and talks where many different animals are showcased. In the afternoon, people can line up to feed the giraffes. We ate at a bench at the zoo, but there were restaurants, food trucks, and beverages and ice cream places available. It was a hot day, and it is hilly, but we managed to see the zoo pretty thoroughly in the five or six hours we were there. When you leave, there is a $10 parking fee that is payable only by credit card. I would highly recommend this zoo. You can also include the train and carousel with your ticket. We bought our tickets on their website a couple weeks before we went, and that worked out really well.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 22, 2023
  • Andrea S
    30 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Overall, it was ok
    We arrived around 10:30 on a Saturday. Parking really went quickly considering the crowd. Our visit was nice. It was hot and animals were resting but too be expected. We had a map of the zoo but it wasn’t really helpful. Signage was not great. The overall flow could be improved. We would get so far in an exhibit area and there was a bottleneck of people trying to go both ways, or there would be a zoo talk in the middle of the path and people were stopped so the only way out was too backtrack. It could have a smoother in and out of areas.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 23, 2023
  • Wendy C
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania39 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must do while visiting Cincinnati
    It was a great experience- even in the rain. Zoo was very clean, animals were beautiful. We did a VIP behind the scenes tour of the “gentile giants” - giraffes and it was amazing. Staff was knowledgeable, friendly and 70% of the cost goes to conservation and is tax deductible, I highly recommend.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 24, 2023
  • Darren
    Minnesota33 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    There's lots to see at this zoo
    A wonderful zoo with tons of exhibits both indoors and outdoors. The bear exhibit was still under construction (ETA 2024) but every other exhibit was well maintained. The zoo's layout is such that you are frequently walking in circles and ending up where you started and can pick up the next path. Would recommend for any trip.
    Visited August 2023
    Written August 9, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles3,975 reviews
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jpete02
Lansing, MI877 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020
Ohio has a lot of great zoos (Columbus and Toledo come to mind) but this zoo is just as good as any of them. This is one of the oldest zoos in the country and a little hemmed in due to its urban location but most of the exhibits are new and the enclosures are large.

This isn’t a flashy zoo but you will find a lot of unique animals here that you won’t find in other zoos, such as cheetahs and opakis. The insect house is unique to most zoos and fascinating.

Wasn’t sure if the weather while we were here had anything to do with it or not (60 degrees and sunny) but almost all of the animals were super active even during the middle of the day.

Zoo can be a little expensive to visit ($73 for a family of four that included parking) but it will take you 4-6 hours to see everything. The zoo is large but manageable to walk around it in one day.

Main parking lot is off Vine St. and you cross a foot bridge to get into the zoo. Not sure if this is due to Covid but you pay for parking when you leave, so make sure to have your pre paid parking as you leave.

Due to Covid, they have timed and limited entry. We bought our tickets two days before going and they were already sold out of the 9, 9:30, and 10 tickets for a non holiday Friday entry.
Written October 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TripPhotographer52
Cincinnati, OH1,813 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
My wife and I had not been to the zoo in a long time and decided to go, even though it was very hot. Many of the animals were probably inactive due to the heat, but we saw plenty and enjoyed the experience. There were many children who were enjoying themselves and I wish we were going with our grandchildren, but will have to do that on another time. We saw the elephants, giraffes, gorillas, cougar, monkeys, kangaroos, penguins, Fiona and many more. Sorry, not interested in the reptile world. The zoo has many paths and the plants and landscaping are great. Thy have a cute train for the kids, etc, and plenty of food and drink. I did not realize that buying an entrance ticket online beforehand could save money. We are senior citizens and I could have bought a ticket for $17.50 per person the day before and had to wait in the heat and pay $21 per person the day we went. We also parked on the street for free instead of paying $10 for parking in the zoo lots. Better to go when the weather is not so hot.
Written August 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Erika W
Madison, WI46 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
We had a great time visiting the Cincinnati zoo. Even though it was a blistering hot day, lots of animals were out and active. Our favorites were the kangaroos, which someone told us are most active in the morning, and the hippos, who were both out swimming when we were there in the late afternoon. The exhibits and gardens were beautiful and seemed well cared for. We happily spent an entire day and still missed a few things.

I'm especially appreciative about the customer service experience we had. I bought advance tickets for seven family members but my parents were unable to join us due to health reasons. I emailed the zoo store and they reissued tickets for a new day at no extra cost (although if the new tickets had cost more, I would have needed to pay only the difference). I'm relieved my parents will still get to go on a new day.

If you go when it's hot note that most building interiors were warm too, so you won't find much relief there. Probably more energy efficient that way.

Food was expensive, which was expected, but it seemed like the only options were heavy, diner-type foods. If you don't want something greasy and overpriced, I recommend packing a picnic.
Written July 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

wmtip
Alcoa, TN542 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020 • Family
My son wanted to see Fiona the hippo and cheetahs, so we decided to visit the Cincinnati Zoo. We were not disappointed. Many people wearing masks and social distancing was being practiced. We had timed tickets for 10:00 to 10:30 am and were very pleased with how easy it was to not only purchase tickets online but get through the gates once on site.

Animals were active and it was upsetting that some indoor areas were closed and exhibits were closed, but we still were able to see so many animals.

We loved the botanical gardens that wrapped around the animal enclosures. The bamboo provided quite a bit of shade. In fact, it was a nice surprise to see how shaded the zoo was to be nestled within an urban neighborhood.

The safari train and feeding the giraffe were musta do items. The train wraps around the lake and allows you to look into enclosures from a different perspective. We highly recommend!
Written July 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Takemetoaspa
Pickerington, OH24 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021 • Family
Normally I love this zoo, but you are now required to make reservations way in advance and there are no refunds for bad weather. You can also not leave and come back in the same day. Today it was literally snowing and so the following animals were not available: lions, bears, gorillas, gibbons, flamingos, hippo, kangaroos, elephants and a few more. Obviously I want the animals to be comfortable, but at least allow us to exchange our ticket for another day or not charge full price.
Written April 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

haleigh
1 contribution
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2020
I understand that due to covid things have been "difficult". BUT we are passholders and travel over an hour to visit with a two year old. we like to get there early and leave at nap time, we have only been able to make a reservation on a weekend one single time this year. There was even an instance that the reservation line told us to show up and we would be able to go in without a reservation, we were turned away and have to drive back home. Fast forward to festival of lights and trying to make a weekend reservation and all time slots are already filled. For the amount of money we spent on our passes this is 100% not ok. We have been to the Columbus zoo on several different occasions this year and had no trouble getting in. Next year we will be changing our zoo passes to Columbus.
Written December 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LK
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022
We love zoos and were excited to finally go to the Cincinnati zoo while on our vacation. We arrived only to find out they don’t accept cash for parking. You HAVE to use their parking app in order to pay. I guess if you don’t have a smart phone you are sorry out of luck. That being said, we get up to the gate only to find they have only one window open for ticket sales. Again, it almost forces you to buy the tickets on line in order to avoid standing there forever. We finally get inside and found there isn’t a flow with the zoo and you have to retrace your steps, a lot. The walking paths are also hard to maneuver when there are strollers around because they’re so narrow. The part that has the composite decking is worse, with uneven planks, and super slippery, even when it’s dry. As we were walking around we found it amazing how few animals we were actually able to see. There are a lot of the enclosures empty or there were signs that said basically sorry they aren’t out. I understand how the weather can affect the animals and the zoo needs to be concerned on whether to have them outside or not, but I shouldn’t have had to pay full price if they aren’t available to see. The ticket prices are outrageously expensive to begin with and change from day to day for no apparent reason. I paid 27.50 per person to see very little. I overheard one of the other guests say they felt the zoo “has improved” since the last time they were there and if that’s the case I pity anyone going there as they are wasting their money. You know the old saying, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice…. We won’t be back any time soon.
Written October 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steve bush
Cincinnati, OH4 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022 • Couples
My wifey and I visited this zoo on Saturday last month First, we had to wait in line for 10 minutes to buy our tickets. Parking was a bomb, zoo prices: (eye lip eye) then they charged $1.00 for a so called zoo paper. The worst was that we had to wait in line AGAIN for 10 minutes where buggy’s are rented to buy a paper map. Defs should have been free.never paid for a zoo paper at any zoo what’s goin on?
Written June 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Heather L
Indianapolis, IN186 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021
Zoo was clean but extremely crowded since the weather is warmer. I was a bit surprised at the crowds for a Friday considering they are supposed to be very particular about the number of tickets sold each day. Sadly a good number of visitors aren't wearing masks as required, and no one is telling them to comply. These aren't children with sensory challenges, these are entire families, grown adults, groups of teens - it's been a year folks, wear the mask.
While I understand that the weather will dictate whether or not animals are available for viewing the zoo does a horrible job with signs and identifying which exhibits are unavailable. At one point we walked a good bit out of our way just to end up in a spot with a tiny sign saying the animals were off exhibit for the season. We read the website about all the different animals before arriving and because of poor directional signs, massive crowds and no online map available (which was a big reason for losing one star) we couldn't even find many animals listed. Maybe they were off exhibit, maybe they were just hidden, but even after passing many exhibits more than once we gave up. It was a very disappointing afternoon.
Written April 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Fred B
109 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021 • Couples
After our visit to the National Zoo last week and reading the reviews in which people stated to skip Columbus in favor of Cincinnati, we chose Cincinnati.

NOTE- this zoo has variable ticket prices based on predicted attendance. Higher, the closer to your expected visit date.

We arrived about 15 minutes before the 10a general opening time and were directed to a spot in the main lot convenient to the entrance. Parking is 10 dollars and you can pay at the welcome center or the booth on your way out.

You drive through neighborhoods to get to the zoo, stay to the center lanes as streets are marked for two lanes either side of the center, but curb parking is allowed. Our route in was super easy, I-75 from the north to Mitchell, to Vine, to the main parking lot.

Once in we chose the counter clockwise route. Elephants, giraffes, cheetah show...many animals out and on display. Only saw a handful of empty or off display exhibits.

Park is very lovely landscaped though a couple of hedged were a little high, like at the rhino enclosure.

Park was crowded but most people were patient and took turns viewing, especially at the Hippos.

I will say, on a personal note, the number of extremely cranky or crying/screaming children seemed inordinately high.

As the day was hot, we pooped out before we visited gibbon island and the red pandas. However, we took the last, long downhill ramp to Roo Valley and were totally astounded. We were ushered into the enclosure WITH the kangaroos. You can walk a path where there is nothing between you and them but air. Wife was blown away.

Finally, we left about two in the afternoon after 4 hours in the park.

We have visited zoos from San Diego to Washington DC and Abilene to Roswell NM. This is the best zoo we've been in after San Diego. We highly recommend it.

Written July 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

Frequently Asked Questions about Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM


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