Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Owen, an energetic four year old who LOVES the new “Dinosaur Island” exhibit at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium that just hatched this week. Owen loved the “Dinosaws” so much that his mom had to go through the exhibit twice in one day!

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Owen with the T-Rex at Dinosaur Island

Q: Owen, what did you see today?

A: Dinosaws! Lots of them. Their wings went up and down and made noises. They had babies with eggs! The lady gave me pictures of all the dinosaws so I could see if they eat meat or leaves. The sand pit had cool, soft sand and bones in it, but i couldn’t take them home. The long dinosaw was eating a tree, then the man buckled my seat belt, but I told him I can do it. He didn’t want me to fall out of the boat. 

Q: What happened on the boat?

A: We saw even more dinosaws and they squirted me a little, but mostly got mommy wet. And do you know what?

Q: What?

A: I ate a big pretzel after!

Q: Did you do anything else after?

A: I climbed and slided then we saw penguins, elephants, lions, monkeys, pretty birds, a dark building…. then we went to see the dinosaws again!

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Dinosaur Island

Owen’s mom had a lot of great tips for seeing this fantastic new exhibit. They toured it first thing in the morning and there was no line. Stroller parking was easy as there was an area by the ticket booth as well as an area close to the boat ride if your little ones prefer to ride as long as possible. The attendants at the ride were great in making sure all the kids were buckled in safely  and if you would enjoy staying a little dryer- sit on the right hand side. The dinosaurs were all throughout the ride on both sides and very easy to view. There was nothing scary for any age. 

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has many areas for picnicking- Owen and his mom found a shady spot by the Aquarium building. The Grange Insurance Stings, Wings N’ Playthings Park is very close to Dinosaur Island and a great place to rest while your kid enjoys the playground. 

When they returned mid-afternoon for round two of Dinosaur Island, there was about a ten minute wait for the ride itself, but you don’t notice the line because you were enjoying a shady walk beside the river with lots of dinosaurs at every turn. The waiting area by the boats also has a shaded cover and moves quickly. 

The “Zoo-it-All” wristbands are available at the front gate for $9.99 and include unlimited entry into Dinosaur Island, the Carousel, Bob Evans Express Train Ride and Jungle Jack’s Landing. They do not include entry to the zoo.

If you are planning a trip to the Zoo this summer, check out the Columbus Zoo/COSI Family Getaway Package  that includes discounted tickets to the Zoo, Zoombezi Bay and COSI!  

Now that the long awaited warm weather has graced us with its presence, it’s time to get outside! Pack up the family and head to Dublin this weekend to see some art in public places, visit the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium or splash around at Zoombezi Bay on their opening weekend!

Zoombezi Bay

Zoombezi Bay

Zoombezi Bay has attractions for every member of the family. Fly down 17 state of the art water slides, bob in the wave pool or relax in the lazy river (Crocktail Creek is my personal favorite spot).

TIP: If your little one likes or loathes being splashed- there is a large barrel that dumps 500 gallons of water every few minutes in Barracuda Bay. Listen for the ships bell that dings when the barrel gets full to either prepare to get soaked or make a quick escape!

Many new additions have been made at Zoombezi to enhance the experience.

 NEW THIS YEAR

  • Cabanas with overhead fans, refrigerators and safes have been placed throughout the park
  • The new ZOOMPASS is a virtual ride reservation that holds your spot in line while you maximize fun!
  • Zoombezi Bay will have several special offer days:
  • Mondays: Students in the Sun- $10 discounts with student ID or grade card.
  • Tuesdays: Season Pass Appreciation Days- discounts on food and beverage, gift shop items and ZOOMPASS.
  • Wednesdays: Safety in the Sun- learning programs and discounts for the achievement of safety programs.
  • Thursdays: Fun in the Sun- Live entertainment at various times throughout the day.
Zoombezi Bay

Dolphin Dash, Zoombezi Bay

Opening Weekend Hours: May 18 & 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Zoombezi Bay opens daily beginning May 23 at 10:30 a.m. Closing times vary each day.

Visit www.zoombezibay.com for more info.

If you’re planning on going to the Zoo and Zoombezi Bay, check out the Family Getaway Package that includes discounted tickets to the #1 Zoo, Zoombezi Bay, the # 1 Science Center, COSI, and discounts at Dublin area attractions and restaurants!

The school year is winding down, the trees are blooming and it looks like the warm temperatures are here to stay – finally! Enjoy the warm weather this spring or summer by booking a trip to Dublin through our Columbus Zoo/COSI Family Getaway Package.

Big Boa Falls at Zoombezi Bay Water Park

Big Boa Falls at Zoombezi Bay Water Park

The package is an affordable way for the whole family to discover the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (#1 Zoo in America, USA Travel Guide), COSI (#1 Science Center in the nation, Parents Magazine), Zoombezi Bay Water Park, the Ohio History Center, Columbus Clippers Baseball and more at discounted prices! Here’s how it works:

When you check in to one of our participating Dublin hotels, you can purchase discounted tickets (up to a 26% savings) to favorite area attractions like:

  • The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
  • Zoombezi Bay Water Park (opening 5/18)
  • COSI

When you check in, you will also receive a kid’s activity sheet with coupons to area attractions, restaurants and shops such as:

Columbus Clippers, Ohio History Center, The Candle Lab, Our CupCakery, Graeter’s, Sisters Sweet Shoppe, Sunny Street Café, The Dublin Village Tavern, Menchie’s and 1 Stop Bead Shop.

Finally, those participating in the package have the opportunity to win a 2014 Columbus Zoo Membership! All you have to do is turn in the form from the kids activity sheet and drop it in the designated box at the Dublin Visitor Information Center.

Sun, savings, science and more await you and your family in Dublin this spring and summer. Book your Columbus Zoo/COSI Family Getaway today!

Contact the Dublin CVB if you have any questions at 800-245-8387.

Post by Sam

Polar Plunge Participants - G. Jones

Polar Plunge Participants – G. Jones

The weather might be chilly this weekend, but it’s the ideal time to show your support at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s 11th annual Polar Plunge on Saturday. During this event, Over hundreds of  participants will take jump into an oversized swimming pool full of ice-cold water to raise funds for Special Olympics Ohio. A donation will also be made to the Polar Bear Conservation Fund on behalf of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for hosting the event. At 2 p.m., a Post Plunge Party will be held at Polar Frontier for all event participants and their guests courtesy of Roosters. Other activities during the day include: a costume party (1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.) and polar bear keeper talk (2:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.).

If you’re not taking the Plunge and still would like to back a great cause, click here to sign up as Too Chicken to Plunge and support your favorite Zoo plunger!

Have a nice weekend!

~ Post by Dawn

It’s hard to believe the holiday season is already here. Although winter is usually a time when we tend to stay indoors to keep out of the cold, there’s a great reason to get out of the house starting next week – Columbus Zoo’s Wildlights is opening!      

The 3 million lights displayed throughout the Zoo are enough to put even Clark W. Griswold to shame.  The event is an American Bus Association “Top 100 Event in North America” and offers a little something for visitors of all ages to see and experience.

This year the Dublin CVB has teamed up with some of our local hotels, the Zoo, and a few of our partner restaurants to make it easier and more cost effective than ever to bring your entire family to Dublin to see the Wildlghts through our Kids Go Free/Columbus Zoo Wildlights Package.

Here’s how it works:

When you book an overnight stay at one of our participating Dublin hotels, you will receive free kids admission tickets to the Wildlights (up to 2 per reservation – additional tickets can be purchased at the hotel). On top of receiving FREE kids admission tickets, you will also receive FREE kids meal coupons to participating restaurants (including Graeter’s Ice Cream for a sweet treat). To make your stay in Dublin even better, many of the hotels are offering free shuttle service to the Zoo, complimentary treats, and complimentary breakfast.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to bring the whole family to Dublin for a holiday getaway they will never forget!

-Post by Sam

Our friends at Experience Columbus are celebrating Columbus Day with some great incentives to encourage you to come to Central Ohio and discover the city this weekend (Oct. 5-8). This guest post comes from Joe Vargo, Interactive Marketing Specialist at Experience Columbus.

Each year, Experience Columbus partners with the city’s most popular attractions and the culinary genies that make up Columbus Dine Originals for Experience Columbus Days. During these four days (October 5 – 8) you can check out the city for cheap.

With America’s #1 Zoo, Science Center, and some of the best museums in the area, Columbus is THE place to be this fall! And, to make things even sweeter, during Experience Columbus Days you’ll get 50% off admission to over 20 attractions!

Columbus has been praised for its stellar food scene, and here’s your chance to sample it for yourself! Enjoy 25% off your food bill at some of the city’s best restaurants. The list of participating restaurants can be found here.

So, come, have fun, eat well. We know that once you get a taste, you’ll be back! To take advantage of these once-a-year deals, simply print or download this flier and present it (on your smartphone or old-school paper) at each participating attraction or restaurant.
For more information on Experience Columbus Days, visit www.experiencecolumbusdays.com.

~ Guest post by Joe Vargo, Interactive Marketing Strategist for Experience Columbus

Animal encounters, pumpkin carving, and crafty creations… Celebrate the first days of fall with Jack Hanna and his animal friends at The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium during Jack Hanna’s Fall Fest this weekend! The event runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Jack Hanna signs autographs at Fall Fest

Hanna will be making special appearances at the Animals on Safari Stage on both Saturday and Sunday at 11:45 and 1:45 p.m. He will be joined by several of his animal friends, including “Air Bud” (yes, the one from the family films). Between performances, Hanna will sign autographs for guests.

For more family fun, head over to the Trades of Tradition Village (located in the Zoo’s Shores area) to see several artistic demonstrations, such as candle and soap making, blacksmithing, woodcarving, and quilting. Guests can even help the Zoo prepare for its upcoming Boo at the Zoo event by making scarecrows, and pick up a work of art created by the zoo’s residents at the Animal Enrichment Painting Sale.

A pumpkin carver at Fall Fest

A new addition to this year’s event is Jack Hanna’s Pumpkin Carving Championship at Conservation Pond. Nine culinary will compete to be crowned “Carving Champion”. The competition consists of three parts. For the first part, zoo guests will vote on the competitors’ pre-carved pumpkins. In the second part (Saturday from 11 – 3), competitors must carve a 3D-zoo themed piece, and in the final portion (Sundays from 10 – 2) carvings do not have to adhere to a specific theme.

Fans of the film How to Train Your Dragon can participate in the Fall Fest Seek-N-Find. Explore the zoo to learn more about the world of dragons and earn a chance to win prizes, including tickets to see the How To Train Your Dragon LIVE Spectacular at the Schottenstein Center in October.

And, of course, the weekend would not be complete without some animal activities! Catch your favorite critters bobbing for apples, meet a few up close at Jungle Jack’s Landing, or watch one of the zoo’s scheduled shows (Animals on Safari will start at 4 p.m and features over 100 exotic, barnyard, and domestic animals).

Other highlights during this weekend’s festivities are keeper talks (scheduled from 11:00 – 3:30), musical performances by Mike Cheatham and the Hastily Assembled Bluegrass Band, and entertainment by the Cowboy Magician. A Country Character Caravan and Character meet and greets are also scheduled each day.

Finally, if all of the activity is making you hungry, stop at one of the following for a specialty treat:

  • Village Coffee and Deli (Pumpkin lattes and cappuccinos)
  • Ice Cream & Fudge (Pumpkin fudge and ice cream)
  • Conservation Courtyard (Kettlecorn)
  • Tunnel and Lakeside Cart (Pumpkin flavored beer and hard cider)
  • Various carts (S’mores and caramel and candy apples)
  • Congo River Market Food Court (Soup and chili)

For more information on Jack Hanna’s Fall Fest, visit the Columbus Zoo website.

~ Post by Dawn