Columbus Zoo PlaygroundNo visit to Columbus is complete without a trip to the zoo. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium regularly tops the rankings of the nation’s zoos. And you don’t have to be there long to see why.

I traveled with two 8 year olds and a 4 year old, and one grandma in a wheelchair. There is plenty of walking involved, as at most zoos, so bear that in mind. Wheelchairs and strollers are also available for rent.

We started by saying hello to the fish. The aquarium is not as impressive as some I’ve seen like the Beijing or Indianapolis Zoo, but the touch-and-feel of some small sea animals at the Tide Pool Touch Tank and the manatees swimming up close is pretty cool.

One of the most awesome things about the Columbus Zoo is the playground. This is a great place for the grownups to stop and rest.ColumbusZooTRex There is a small area for smaller kids and a bigger playground structure for the bigger kids. The playground is kind of on the way to both Australia and the Islands and the Dinosaurs.

Dinosaur Island is super cool. It was a tad bit scary for the 4 year old but not overly much. You get in a boat ($2 for members) and make a tour around the island where life size dinosaurs move and make the appropriate noises – yes, including a T-Rex!

Over in Australia, the Gibbons and Orangutans are pretty cool. But the coolest thing was seeing two koalas – wide awake (rather unusual) and looking right at us. It was fun too to walk through the kangaroo grounds, where some would plop themselves in ColumbusZooKoalasthe middle of the walkway or under a bush in the heat of the day.

Another awesome thing about the Columbus Zoo, that we have still to explore, is Zoombezi Bay, a water park. And of course there are holiday specific events – Halloween will be celebrated the weekends of October 18-20 and 25-27. Get the schedule here.