June 28, 2019
By: Erica Rymer, Events and Marketing Specialist
Imagining your next vacation may bring to mind thoughts of relaxation and family fun, but the reality does not always measure up to this ideal. Long lines, crowded restaurants, and amenities that are too few and far between can turn the perfect trip into a perfect nightmare. At the Akron Zoo, we recognize that your time with us should be spent connecting with nature and wildlife, not worrying about the little things. This is why our dedicated guest services team has been working to make significant changes to improve our guests’ experience.
Our most spectacular improvement of the year is the addition of our Landon and Cynthia Knight Pride of Africa habitats and guest amenities. The new area, which opens on June 29, will showcase several new African residents including Speke's gazelles and guineafowl, as well as three new lions who will share Tamarr and Mandisa's new habitat.
The expansion includes two water bottle filling stations and three new family restrooms. There is also a shade structure and picnic area where families can relax and enjoy refreshments at the Savanna Stop. You can cool down and enjoy a tasty treat from our selection of cold beverages and treats.
For family fun, this space will house our solar-powered train, previously located in Farmland. Our ride will now have an African theme to enhance the “savanna” experience. The new train path is longer than the previous one, offering a longer ride and a unique view of the lion habitat. The cost of a train ride is $3.00 per person. Children under four must be accompanied by a parent, who can ride for free.
Pride of Africa is also home to our misting station, dubbed the “spray pad.” Located between the researcher’s tent and the gazelles, this play area includes a merry-go-round, well pump and misters. All of these interactives explain how people living in African villages get water for daily use. Messaging about water conservation and its importance is also posted in and around this play area.
In addition to these new amenities, our cafés received a face lift this year. Komodo Kingdom Café was remodeled for the first time since its opening in 2005. The new café has a modern look, and is designed to be more like a restaurant than a cafeteria. The layout of the expansion allows for future growth in the kitchen, and our made-to-order menu will be keeping many of the classic dishes our guests know and love, but with a few additions (like hamburger kid’s meals).
Grasslands Café was also renovated from a walk-in to a walk-up area. The new menu includes a variety of options with a southwestern flair. Though there is no indoor seating in this area, Wild Prairie Pavilion, located nearest the café, has been given new landscaping to make it more visible and inviting to guests.
If the cafés sound nice, but you would prefer a private area to eat or host a gathering, we have built new permanent pavilions for group rentals between the Komodo Kingdom Café and the Center for Animal Care. These pavilions, which offer increased guest seating, will be surrounded by beautiful landscaping, creating a private, secluded space for rentals.
We are so excited to announce these improvements, and as we continue to grow, we are also continually working to give you the best guest experience available. So take a load off, and take a trip to your Akron Zoo, where your biggest worry as a guest is deciding how soon to come back!