Two-Hour Trips: The Wilds brings safari home

Photos provided by The Wilds
A zebra stands in the open-range park.

Photos provided by The Wilds A zebra stands in the open-range park.

CUMBERLAND, Ohio — Want to go on an African safari but don’t want to leave the country? Located in Cumberland, Ohio, The Wilds, a private non-profit safari park on approximately 14 square miles, is one of the largest wildlife conservation centers for endangered species in North America.

And it’s only an hour drive from the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Opened to the public for tours in 1994, The Wilds provides an open-range home to the animals it houses. There are more than 500 animals and 29 species from around the world, and new animals are born there every year.

Animals at the park include ostrich, African painted dogs, banteng, cheetahs, giraffes, greater one-horned Asian rhinos, zebras and more.

There are a variety of different kinds of tours available, on offer daily through September, and then on Saturdays and Sundays in October. Reservations are always recommended.

Photos provided by The Wilds
A horseback safari is one of the many safaris patrons can take.

Photos provided by The Wilds A horseback safari is one of the many safaris patrons can take.

The open-air safari tour allows guests to ride in a special safari vehicle and experience the animals up close in a 2 hour visit.

The sunset safari tour is guided during the animals’ most active part of the day and also includes a stop at the Carnivore Center and other destinations. A buffet-style dinner is also included.

The tour is 2 hours, with dinner served before the tour through September and after in October. The wildside tour gives patrons a one-on-one experience with animal management specialists and the animals in a special 2.5-3 hour tour.

The sunset wildside tour allows the same one-on-one experience but at a later time during feeding time with the animals.

The are several zipline tours available of the park.

Photos provided by The Wilds
Patrons take part in an open-air safari.

Photos provided by The Wilds Patrons take part in an open-air safari.

The zipline safari tour is a 2.5 hour tour of 10 ziplines and rappel overlooking the animals. The zipline overlook tour is a shortened version with 5 ziplines lasting 1.5 hours.

The zipline sunset tour is available on Fridays and Saturdays at dusk.

There is also a special horseback safari tour that is an hour long and visits scenic overlooks, and a sunset horseback safari tour that lasts about 2 hours.

Viewing the animals is not the only thing to visit. Those who enjoy fishing can take a fishing safari at the more than 100 lakes and ponds on the property.

There are also mountain bike trails and walking trails, a birding station to watch the local species and a butterfly habitat to visit.

Photos provided by The Wilds
A giraffe is one of the many animals that can be viewed.

Photos provided by The Wilds A giraffe is one of the many animals that can be viewed.

The Wilds has several breeding programs in place.

They manage one of the largest white rhino herds and have fourth- and fifth-generation rhino calves born in human care. It is also a designated cheetah breeding center and works with the Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition.

The Wilds has also promoted population sustainability of freshwater mussels, eastern hellbender salamanders and is home to the largest herd of sichaun outside of China.

The facility has also hosted research projects on imperiled populations of grassland nesting birds.

Other research projects have included biocontrol of invasive trees, native bee responses to prairie restoration, the land’s ability to support rare native species and investigation of native grasses’ use as biofuel.

Photos provided by The Wilds
Cheetahs are one of the parks features.

Photos provided by The Wilds Cheetahs are one of the parks features.

The Wilds has plenty of education and fun to offer families.

***

Hours

* The Wilds is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 7 days a week from May through September and Saturdays and Sundays in October.

***

Photos provided by The Wilds
Zipline tours are also available at the park.

Photos provided by The Wilds Zipline tours are also available at the park.

Ticket Information

* Parking: $6 a vehicle

* Open-Air Safari: $30 per person

* Wildside Tour (tour times 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. through Oct.): $125 per person

* Wildside Sunset Tour: $150 per person

* Sunset Safari Tour: $75 per person

* Zipline Safari Tour: $84 per person, kids ages 10-15 ride half price Monday through Friday with adult

* Zipline Overlook Tour: $54 per person

* Zipline Sunset Tour: $84 per person

* Horseback Safari: $30 per person

* Horseback Sunset Safari: $75 per person

* Fishing Safari: $100 per person with boat provided by Wilds, $75 per person off bank

***

In Guernsey County…

CAMBRIDGE — The Wilds isn’t the only thing to visit in Guernsey County. The Cambridge area has plenty of educational offerings available. The Great American Steam Locomotive Museum in Cambridge has handmade steam locomotives and is also home to the Cambridge Wood Toy Co.

More information is available at cambridgewoodentoyco.com. The Guernesey County History Museum is an 188-year-old building that features 16 rooms of antique furnishings and items from the county, including a one-room schoolhouse display and a replica coal mine. It is open through December from noon to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Open through September is the Living Word Outdoor Drama in Cambridge which is a non-denominational outdoor theater with a 400-foot panoramic set. More information can be found at livingworddrama.org. Also in Cambridge, Mosser Glass Inc. offers a guided tour of the glass-making process and a retail store. Tours are available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Find out more at mosserglass.com. The National Museum of Cambridge Glass has several exhibits, an educational center and a gift shop. Open through October Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.. to 4 p.m. and Sundays noon to 4 p.m., more information can be found at cambridgeglass.org.

In New Concord, the John and Annie Glenn Museum is available for tours through October, Wednesday through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 1-5 p.m. For more information, visit johnglennhome.org.

In Norwich, the National Road and Zane Grey Museum tells the store of the National Road and America Midwest as well as noted author Zane Grey. The museum is open through October Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. Sundays.

***

Special Events

* Aug. 19: 32nd Annual Cambridge Classic Cruise-In

* Aug. 26: Jerusalem Experience, Living Word Outdoor Drama

* Sept. 11-16: 170th Guernsey County Fair, fairgrounds

* Sept. 23: Lore City Car Show, Lore City

* Oct. 1: Friendship VII Chorus Annual Show, Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center

* Oct. 6-8: Paul Bunyan Show, fairgrounds

* Oct. 7: National Road and Zane Grey Museum Fall Festival Day

* Oct. 7, 14, 21: Petrified Forest Haunted Trail, Deerassic Park Education Center

* Oct. 28: Munchkin Masquerade, Historic Downtown Cambridge

* Oct. 28: Trail of Treats, Deerassic Park Education Center

* Nov. 1-Dec. 31: Dickens Victorian Village and Courthouse Light Show

* Nov. 4: Jingle, Mingle on Main: Holiday Open House and My Magical Frozen Moment, Historic Downtown Cambridge

* Nov. 5: Gingerbread House Class, Guernsey County Senior Center

* Nov. 25: National Museum of Cambridge Glass Holiday Open House

* Nov. 25: Christmas Parade in Cambridge

* Nov. 27: John and Annie Glenn Christmas Open House

Photos provided by The Wilds
Talkin and their babies stand in the park.

COMMENTS