The Wilds … Adventure Lives Here
One of Ohio’s most unique destinations is right here in Muskingum County. A place where threatened and endangered animals from all over the world – rhinos, giraffes, antelope and now cheetahs – live in mixed-species groups, roaming expansive natural habitats. A place where scientists and educators are working to better understand and conserve the world’s animals and natural resources. A place where visitors can encounter and learn about nature and wildlife. A place called the Wilds.
Spanning nearly 14 square miles, the Wilds is a wildlife conservation center working to advance conservation through science, education and personal experience. It is a living laboratory, where every aspect of the natural world presents unique venues for personal experience.
Located just miles from downtown Zanesville, the Wilds allows visitors to pick their P.A.C.E. with a variety of options for Personal Adventures in Conservation Education. The signature experience is exploring the facility with a Safari Transport Pass, which combines rides through the animal habitats led by knowledgeable interpreters with self-guided exploration of these destination stops:
Ziplining and Horseback Riding are two new adventures offered at the Wilds! Call for reservations.
The Mid-Sized Carnivore Conservation Center, new in 2007, is 60-acre site designed to meet the needs of animals such as cheetahs, African wild dogs and dholes, a wild canine from Asia. This complex features walking trails, elevated boardwalks and observation decks offering stunning views of a series of enclosures housing these highly-social animals. You can look also in on specialized veterinary facilities and learn more from staff working there.
Lake Trail is a five-acre enclosure within the animal area. A walking path leads to a dock on Spillman Lake, the largest of more than 100 lakes on the property. A series of demonstration areas at Lake Trail showcase some of the conservation projects and scientific studies the Wilds is undertaking in the field of Restoration Ecology. Interpretive staff is on-hand to explain the mission and work of the Wilds.
The Outpost is situated in the midst of the largest section of the animal area, with sweeping views of rolling grasslands. Visitors can stay at their leisure, observing herds of rhinos, antelope and other wildlife behaving much as they would in the wild. The Outpost offers great opportunities for photography, and another chance to interact with and learn from the Wilds’staff.
The Wetland Trail features a walking trail and observation decks for exploring one of the most important, yet fast-disappearing, ecosystems that make up the world around us. Learn about the plants and animals that are unique to swamps, marshes and wetlands. Naturalists lead walks and activities, answer questions, help identify plants and animals, and teach about this unique habitat.
Custom Safaris are also offered on a regular basis using the open-air transports. This popular option offers a special experience, with outstanding opportunities for wildlife viewing and photography, combined with stops at many of the destinations mentioned above.
There is much more to see at the Wilds than rhinos and cheetahs, though. The Birding Station at Jeffrey Point on State Route 284 is open to the public, offering a sweeping vista rich with grasslands that harbor an abundance of ground-nesting songbirds and raptors, as well as lakes often teeming with waterfowl. Just across from the main parking lot is the Butterfly Habitat, an important Restoration Ecology project. Over 12 acres of grassland are being enriched with native flowering plants to attract and provide habitat for many species of butterfly. A walking trail leads through the area, with interpretive signs offering information about the plants and insects found there.
Nomad Ridge at the Wilds offers a luxury tented-camp experience package for adults interested in a special getaway. The overnight package includes meals, tours and more.
Members of the Wilds can also book a stay at theLodge at the Wilds, a private retreat secluded along one of the most scenic lakes on the property. This luxury cabin sleeps 12 and offers a quiet spot for meetings, specials events and family getaways.
Rounding out your experience at the Wilds is the Overlook Café, offering a variety of dining options, and the Gift Market, with a wide selection of nature-themed clothing, books, toys and artwork. Scenic picnic areas are also available.
Friday and Saturday evenings from June through September the Wilds offers Sunset Safaris, a special experience featuring a buffet dinner and twilight tour. Many of the animals become more active as the sun goes down, and the Wilds offers many great vistas for enjoying the summer sunset.
A private Wilds Side Tour is also available for a behind-the-scenes experience with one of our animal management guides.
Pre-scheduled groups of 20 or more qualify for discounts, and can call ahead to arrange for private tours and catered buffet or deli lunches.
The Wilds is open to the public 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily May through September, and weekends only in October. Open Memorial Day and Labor Day.