We grew up with Jack Hanna from the Columbus zoo, showing up on Johnny Carson and other shows with a menagerie of wild animals. Little did I know that he had another project going on outside of Columbus called The Wilds. A 500 acre plot that was once a coal mine that was transformed into a wildlife refuge for endangered animals. Today they have been able to reintroduce animals back into the habitat that have gone extinct in the wild, like the Scimitar-Horned Oryx that has been extinct in the wild since the mid-’70s. Now The Wilds sports a host of options for families and children who would like a safari adventure without traveling to the far reaches of the world. In addition to a whole host of summer camps (for children 8-18) where campers stay in Mongolian style yurts and enjoy canoeing, horseback riding, and unique animal encounters,
The Wilds provides day tours and three types of overnight accommodations.
Day visitors can choose a from a list of exciting options, group tours for those who enjoy staying on the road in one of the Wilds open-air safari buses or you can do a private safari in a smaller jeep where you go off road and get up close to the animals. They also offer horseback riding safaris, various sunset safaris, or an evening at the outpost where you are transported to a deck overlooking a meadow full of rhinos, giraffes and other species while you are served drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
If you would like to stay overnight they have three options.
Nomad Ridge – (adults only) Enjoy your own well-appointed private yurt with your own observation deck. Overnight stays include breakfast and dinner, an open-air safari, 24-hour concierge service, and free WiFi.
The Lodge – a private luxury lodge that holds up to twelve people with comfortable living and dining areas, a fully equipped kitchen, six bedrooms each with its own private bath and a screen porch. The Lodge includes a whole list of activities for guests including a private lake, horseshoe, cornhole, outdoor fire ring, rowboats, canoes, and pedal boats, a floating trampoline, fishing rods, and lures.
The Cabins at Straker Lake – Seven 3 bedroom cabins nestled around Straker Lake. Each cabin is appointed with a living area, fully functional kitchen, and screened in porch. The cabins have a shared lake with a pedal boat, rowboat, and fishing gear. There is a central lodge where guests can gather, TV, fire pit and ping pong.
Here are the animals you can see at The Wilds.