During the past 30 days, we’ve made two visits to The Wilds! Not too far from Marietta, The Wilds is a conservation center in Cumberland, Ohio, based on a 10,000-acre reserve donated by AEP after reclaiming the strip-mined area. The organization has ties to scientists from all over the world who come to research, study and help with what they call species survival plans. The Wilds has had incredible breeding success with many species of critically endangered animals. Think of The Wilds’ Safari Tour as a safe Jurassic Park-style drive in an open-air bus. You never know what you’ll see and who will pop over to say hello to us humans! Here are four reasons to bring your kids to The Wilds!


Newborn zebra, just hours old.

Reason Number One to Visit Before the Wilds Closes in October

You might see a new baby! During one of our visits, our tour guide did a happy dance because we got to see the newborn zebra she had heard was born in the early morning hours! And, by the way, all of the tour guides are into the animals and even though some of what they say is similar, they have their own stories and jokes to tell! We saw an entire herd of pregnant female rare Persian Onagers! They came close enough for us to touch, but we were instructed not to!


Bactrian camel baby

Today we were privileged to see a Bactrian camel baby! Incidentally, these interesting animals from Mongolia think Ohio is a tropical paradise! They stay outside all year. And there are only 300 left in the wild. Without The Wilds’ effort, they could become extinct.


Today’s tour guide was as enthusiastic as the rest of them.

You may not see any newborns this year in the carnivore section, but today we got to see the painted African wild dogs walking around for the first time. They usually just lie around when we visit!


Never trust these dogs. You look like lunch to them!


Reason Number Two — The Giraffe Experience!

You can get your own giraffe photo! During most of our visits, they’ve come to the bus to say hello. Today was not one of those days, but during our previous visit, we got some great shots!


Humans! Humans!



C’mon, someone scratch my side!



Reason Number Three — You Get to Help Save Some Species!

The money you spend on your tour, or your membership if you choose that, or to pay to feed the huge catfish and parakeets, goes for conservation efforts! The Wilds’ efforts include Ohio’s natural habitats… and many endangered species from the lightweight monarch butterfly, and the two foot long hellbender salamander, on up to 6,000 pound rhinos!

Fourth Reason, and Fifth, and…

Well, there’s the humor. I won’t spoil the tour guide’s jokes though…


It’s quite evident that the staff of The Wilds really care about the animals.

From its humble beginnings, the Wilds has grown to include many successful breeding projects, housing for visiting scientists, a lodge a group can rent, a yurt “glampsite” campsite called Nomad Ridge, zip lines, a carnivore center and much more! Surely if your kids didn’t get to go to The Wilds’ summer camp, they need to go see a giraffe up close!


Mr. Ostrich wanted to hitch a ride on the bus!


Have you been to The Wilds? Tell us about it!