Columbus Zoo & Wyandot Lake Update 6/24/07

Associated parks:
None

Monday, June 25, 2007 5:19 PM
I went to the Columbus Zoo on Sunday. Here is a quick update on the construction and expansion work going on from what I could see. Driving north on Riverside Drive you can see where the new Powell Road is going to intersect on the south side of Wyandot Lake where I think the picnic shelters used to be. They still have you enter the zoo property same as you used to but the old parking lot ticket booths are gone. You now have to drive all the way around the lot to the southern end where the new ticket booths are located, which will be easily accessed once the new Powell Road is completed. The parking lot is nicely paved now (as opposed to a big stone lot like I remember from a few years back) and there is even a tram to take you to the front gate. The new road is expected to be open by the fall of 2007 and I think they are on track to easily make this date.

A new entrance plaza opening in spring 2008 is being worked on as well. The old handicap parking area is now completely flattened and nothing but dirt. I thought it was interesting to see advertising for a chance to win a trip to WDW right outside the front gates. There are also many signs up advertising the new Artic Frontier and other expansion areas opening next year. I looked for construction where the new exhibits are going but at this point it looks like they are still in the land clearing stage.

As for WL, the Sea Dragon coaster is still standing along with Christopher’s Island (the play place with the big dumping bucket) and a few buildings are still there but all the slides and the wave pool are gone, replaced by a large flat field of dirt. There was a small army of construction equipment nearby but there was no new visible vertical construction that I could see.

For those who haven’t been there, the Columbus Zoo is top notch. I recently visited the San Diego zoo and I think I prefer Columbus. The attention to detail and overall theme of the exhibits is amazing. There are a few rides including a train, carousel, and a nice boat ride. Plans call for a second rail line and water line to be built in the African Savannah region when it is constructed in 2010. They are definitely going to need some in park transportation when the new areas open as the size of the zoo is going to be huge (a sky ride from the east side to the west side would be cool.) I spent about 6 to 7 hours in the zoo and didn’t even get to see everything, although my legs were very tired by the end of the day. I am excited for the zoo’s future. Each expansion area built is bigger and better than the last one. In three years it’s going to be one awesome place to visit.

I will have some construction pictures and video posted soon.

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Monday, June 25, 2007 5:43 PM
Here are a few pictures I just uploaded. There'll be more along with video later.

http://s209.photobucket.com/albums/bb185/ntweisen/Columbus%20Zoo/

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007 8:46 AM
Nice tr. Great Pics.
I'll have to check out the Zoo. All the times I've been to Columbus, i've never been to the zoo. Manatees are good.
Again, great shots!
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Tuesday, June 26, 2007 11:10 AM
Great TR Amnesiac.

I was there for Zoofari (an annual fundraiser), and found pretty much what you did. And yes, for those wh ohave not been there, the Columbus Zoo is simply amazing, and it really does take an entire day to see every exhibit. It seems that every year they are updating and/or installing a whole new area. Updating the water park is simply going to put it over the top (to quote Sylvester Stallone) ;)

It is odd to see the Sea Dragon gutted. The structure is there, but the tracks were missing and there was no lift motor...just a "coaster skeleton".

I thought I would link some of the "artistic renditions" of the new water park here as well, in case anyone was interested. If it even comes close, it will be a blast.

http://www.nameyourwaterpark.com/sketch.htm

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007 11:44 AM
Hey, I was at Zoofari, too! (Why did many food stands run out of food so early?)

I didn't get a close enough look at Sea Dragon to see the "gutting." It ran pretty well the last time I was on it (couple years ago).

The new parking lot is certainly surreal. Sidewalks, pavement, trams? It used to be a big gravel field!

Somebody please submit alternatives to those horrid name choices for the new park! Ugh.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 10:42 PM
Video is now up which includes some POV footage of the boat ride. Hopefully I can swing by the zoo every couple of weeks to get some construction pictures of the water park.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-GCcfo9aTA

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 11:29 PM
Sheesh... It looks so weird seeing the coaster in the middle of nowhere. Can't wait to see the place come together.
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Thursday, June 28, 2007 11:31 PM
Yeah, it really is a shock turning into the lot and seeing fields of dirt instead of waterslides. The whole place has undergone a lot of change, I almost didn't recognize it since the last time I had been there.
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