The wait to experience the new Circle of Wildlife Carousel and Nature Discovery Ridge at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is almost over!
A graceful cheetah, a playful baby gorilla and an elegant trumpeter swan are just a few of the beautiful, hand-carved animals visitors can choose to ride when the carousel opens later this month. Sixty-four animals in all have been carved by Mansfield, Ohio-based Carousel Works will be installed in a new pavilion in the newly designed Circle of Wildlife area at the Zoo.
“The Zoo is very excited to bring this beautiful carousel to Cleveland,” said Executive Zoo Director Dr. Chris Kuhar. “The Circle of Wildlife area will provide perfect opportunities for making family memories and add an entirely new dimension to the guest experience the Zoo offers.”
The animal figures will be grouped together on the carousel according to their natural environment, including African grassland, tropical forest and tundra. The carousel company also created eight custom animals that don’t appear on any other carousel it has built, including an Anatolian shepherd, lynx, cardinal tetra (a species of fish), ocelot, ring-tailed lemur, loris, emperor penguin and fossa.
The pavilion housing the carousel will feature 12 of the bird tiles that acclaimed artist and designer Viktor Schreckengost originally created for the Zoo’s Birds of the World Building, which stood in the general area of the Zoo where the carousel is now from 1950 until 2004.
Single ride tickets for the carousel will be $3 and $2.50 for Zoo Society members. All day ride passes will be available for $8 or $6 for members.
Adjacent to the carousel is the new Nature Discovery Ridge play area, also scheduled to open in late May, which will engage children’s imaginations and inspire them to come out and play through the use of wild habitats and natural elements like rocks, water and trees. Kids will be able to explore, climb, and best of all, have fun reconnecting with nature and letting their imaginations run wild. An observation deck for parents and caregivers will overlook the play area.
New restroom facilities, a food concessions area and two new picnic shelters with a capacity of 120 guests each are part of the Circle of Wildlife area’s development as well. Pavilion rental packages include single ride and all day ride passes on the carousel. Future plans for this area of the Zoo include building a rentable events center adjacent to the carousel for weddings, corporate events, meetings, or trade shows to open by spring 2015.
The total cost for the first wave of development in the Circle of Wildlife area is $2.7 million. The Cleveland Zoological Society has committed to raising $2.2 million through private donations. Construction of the future events facility is estimated at $2.3 million. The Zoo’s longtime contracted caterer, ARAMARK, has committed $1 million toward the construction of the event center. The Zoo Society has committed $300,000 and the other $1 million will be funded by Cleveland Metroparks.
Northeast Ohio’s most-visited year-round attraction, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $12.25 per person, $8.25 for kids ages 2 to 11 and free for children younger than 2 and Zoo members. Parking is free. Located at 3900 Wildlife Way, the Zoo is easily accessible from Interstates 71, 90 and 480.
For more information, visit clevelandmetroparks.com/zoo or call (216) 661-6500.