Cleveland Zoo tickets, prices, hours, what to expect and more

Cleveland, Ohio, is a city brimming with cultural attractions, but one of its most cherished gems is the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. 

Nestled in the city’s heart, this zoo is not just a sanctuary for a diverse range of animals but also a hub of education and conservation efforts. 

Over 183 acres, Cleveland Zoo houses over 3000 animals and numerous animal experiences. 

The zoo is divided into zones like African Elephant Crossing, Australian Adventure, the Rainforest, Primate, Cat and Aquatic World. 

This article shares information about the Cleveland Zoo tickets, prices, zones, animal programs and more. 

Tickets to Cleveland Zoo

Buy your tickets to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo online to enjoy the convenience and avoid waiting in line. 

Cleveland Zoo offers two ticket options – a general admission ticket and a total experience ticket. 

Total Experience Pass offers entry to RainForest, unlimited train rides, Carousel rides and animal feeding experiences. 

The price of a general admission ticket for Cleveland Zoo is given below.

AgeTicket price
Adult ticket (12 to 61 years)$19
Child ticket (2 to 11 years) $15
Senior Citizen ticket (62+ years)$17

Cleveland Zoo opening hours

From April to October, Cleveland Zoo is open from 10 am to 5 pm.

During the winter months of November to March, the zoo is open from 10 am to 4 pm. 

The last admission to Cleveland Zoo is one hour before closing time.

If you are a member of the Cleveland Zoological Society, you get a special benefit from May 2 to October 1, 2023. 

You can enjoy early admission to the Zoo starting at 9.30 am

However, Cleveland Zoo will be closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Best time to visit Cleveland Zoo

The best time to visit Cleveland Zoo is right when they open at 10 am. 

This is when the animals are most active, and fewer crowds enter the zoo.

The animals are lively and engaged in the morning, enjoying the cooler temperatures. 

However, as the day goes on and it gets hotter, the animals tend to become more lethargic and seek shelter in shaded areas.

We recommend going on weekdays rather than weekends or school holidays for a peaceful and enjoyable visit.

There tend to be busier days with larger crowds.

So, plan your weekday morning visit to witness the animals at their best.

Avoid the peak crowds for a more relaxed experience at the Cleveland Zoo.

How long does it take to visit Cleveland Zoo?

When visiting Cleveland Metroparks Zoo with children, plan to explore the zoo for three to four hours. 

Kids often take their time around their favorite animal enclosures.

Visitors can join the feeding sessions and keeper talks and want to try out all the available experiences.

If you are a group of adults with limited time, you can walk through all the exhibits at the Metroparks Zoo in just 90 minutes. 

This allows you to cover the main attractions quickly and efficiently.

How to get to Cleveland Zoo

The Cleveland Zoo is at Wildlife Way, Cleveland.

Address: 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, OH 44109. Get Directions

It is conveniently located just 5 minutes from downtown and can be easily accessed from Interstates 71, 77, 90, and 480.

Driving Directions to Cleveland Zoo 

Visitors are advised to allow extra travel time to avoid delays on busy days, especially weekends and Mondays.

From I-71:

  • Exit at Fulton Road and keep right at the fork.
  • Turn right on Fulton Road and follow it to Fulton Parkway South.
  • Continue on Fulton Parkway South until you reach Wildlife Way.
  • Turn left on Wildlife Way to reach the Zoo entrance.

From I-90:

  • Take I-71 South and exit at Fulton Road.
  • Turn left on Fulton Road and follow it to Fulton Parkway South.
  • Continue on Fulton Parkway South until you reach Wildlife Way.
  • Turn left on Wildlife Way to reach the Zoo entrance.

From I-480:

  • Option 1: Exit State Road north to Pearl Road and follow Zoo signs.
  • Option 2: Exit Ridge Road north to Memphis Avenue and follow Zoo signs.

From Akron:

  • Option 1: Take I-77 North to I-480 West. Exit State Road north to Pearl Road and follow Zoo signs.
  • Option 2: Exit Ridge Road north to Memphis Avenue and follow Zoo signs.

From I-80 (Ohio Turnpike):

  • Option 1: Exit 173 to I-77 North, then I-480 West to State Road (north) to Pearl Road. Follow Zoo signs.
  • Option 2: Take Exit 161 to I-71 North to West 25th Street. Follow Zoo signs.

How to get to Cleveland Zoo by public transport

To reach Cleveland Metroparks Zoo by bus, you can use the following bus stations:

  1. Fulton Rd & Denison Av: This bus station is just a 10-minute walk away from the zoo.
  2. Pearl Rd & Wildlife Way: Another option is this bus station, an 11-minute walk from the zoo.

You can take the following bus lines to get to the zoo:

  1. Bus Line 45: The 45 Ridge-Fulton To Downtown route can take you to the Cleveland Zoo.
  2. Bus Line 51-51A: The 51 MetroHealth Line To Downtown route is another option to reach the zoo.
  3. Bus Line 53-53A: Lastly, you can use the 53 Broadview To Downtown route to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

Parking at Cleveland Zoo

Cleveland Zoo offers onsite parking.

It is free for visitors, but you must reach early to get a parking space due to the crowds. 

Cleveland Zoo Map

If you visit Cleveland Metroparks Zoo with kids, a Cleveland Zoo map is essential to stay on course and be aware of the situation.

The map of Cleveland Zoo helps you locate the exhibits.

The Cleveland Metro Zoo map also shows you restaurants, playgrounds, restrooms, etc.

You can also locate gift shops using the map.

To access the map of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, you can download it now or bookmark this page for later use. 

This way, you’ll have all the information you need for a fun and organized visit with your children.

Cleveland Zoo History

The Cleveland Zoo’s history dates back to 1882 when it was established as Wade Park. Jeptha H. 

Wade donated 73 acres of land and 14 American deer to Cleveland.

It created the initial foundation for the zoo. 

It was initially located near Wade Oval in Cleveland’s University Circle and had local animals.

In 1907, plans to construct the Cleveland Museum of Art led to the decision to move the zoo to its present location. 

Over the next three decades, the zoo added attractions like the first Monkey Island, Sea Lion Pools, and a bear exhibit. 

In 1940, management was taken over by the Cleveland Natural History Museum.

In November 1940, Frieda, an Asian elephant, arrived at the zoo. 

Although named “Osa” through a contest, she responded to her original name, Frieda.

She became a beloved resident until her passing in 1956.

In 1957, the Cleveland Zoological Society assumed control of the zoo. 

In 1968, ownership was transferred to the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District. 

Finally, in 1975, Cleveland Metroparks took over the zoo’s management.

Under the guidance of Zoo Director Emeritus Steve Taylor, the zoo underwent developments.

The developments include: 

  • The introduction of themed exhibits like The RainForest in 1992
  • Wolf Wilderness in 1997
  • Australian Adventure in 2000

The African Elephant Crossing opened in 2011, and the Daniel Maltz Rhino Reserve in 2020.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has become a prominent attraction throughout the Cleveland Zoo’s history.

It is a beloved destination for people of all ages.

Cleveland Zoo Animals

At Cleveland Zoo, you can explore a wide variety of fascinating animals. 

The zoo, part of Cleveland Metroparks, houses over 3000 animals, representing 600 species.

Here is a brief on the different zones of Cleveland Zoo and the animals. 

African Elephant Crossing

Witness the majestic elephants up close in this area. 

You can observe them through open-air viewing, a nose-to-trunk window, an elevated feeding station, and a gated crossing.

Asian Highlands

Discover the beauty of Amur leopards, snow leopards, red pandas, and Takin in this section.

It offers a larger and intricately designed habitat.

Australian Adventure

Enjoy Australia with koalas perching on live eucalyptus trees at Gumleaf Hideout.

You can watch kangaroos and wallabies roam freely at Wallaby Walkabout. Don’t miss Kookaburra Station, where kids can interact with farm animals.

African Savanna

Meet lions, giraffes, rhinos, zebras, and Colobus monkeys in a habitat with grassy areas and a rock shelter.

Primate, Cat & Aquatics

Explore to see Western Lowland gorillas, rare snow leopards, lemurs, and other primate species. Also, observe aquatic animals from salt and freshwater habitats.


Experience the biodiversity of the rainforests with over 600 animals.

It also has ten thousand plants from Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Spot numerous bird species flying freely overhead in the free-flight indoor aviary.

Waterfowl Lake

Marvel at native Waterfowl, nesting trumpeter swans, Andean condors, and Stellar’s sea eagles in outdoor flight cages.

Wilderness Trek

Witness cold climate animals like bears, tigers, wolves, seals, and sea lions. 

You can also see the tufted deer and Persian onagers outdoors throughout the year. The Rosebrough Tiger Passage offers a stunning view of the zoo’s two Amur Tigers.

The Cleveland Zoo animals are diverse and will captivate and educate visitors of all ages. 

Don’t miss the chance to encounter these beautiful creatures up close and appreciate their natural habitats.

Wildlife Conservation Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

At Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, wildlife conservation is a top priority. 

The zoo engages in various programs to protect endangered species and preserve biodiversity.

Andean Bear

The Andean Bear Conservation Alliance (ABCA) is a partnership initiative of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). 

It collaborates with the IUCN Bear Specialist Group and other partners to work for their conservation.

The alliance aims to create conservation plans for the Andean bear across its range.

To achieve this goal, ABCA is actively conducting field research and explorations. 

They have developed tools and methodologies to study and monitor Andean bear populations in 15 protected areas. 

These areas are located across Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.

These monitoring tools have become the national standard in the Colombian National Park System.

Capacity building is also an essential aspect of ABCA’s efforts. 

They have conducted many workshops for National Parks staff in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

It focuses on developing Andean bear population distribution and monitoring projects using tools.

ABCA develops monitoring programs in 9 priority Andean bear conservation landscapes. 

It will provide information for creating effective conservation and management plans for them.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s involvement in the ABCA showcases its commitment to conservation and science initiatives.

They contribute to protecting and preserving the Andean bear population.

Asian Turtle

The Asian Turtle Program (ATP) is dedicated to safeguarding globally threatened tortoises.

They also protect freshwater turtle species in Indochina. 

It collaborates with Indo-Myanmar Conservation, Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV).

It collaborates with the Turtle Conservation Center to put in place strategic interventions. 

The primary aim is to prevent any further extinctions in the region.

ATP’s collaborative efforts and law enforcement training have increased seizures and confiscations.

There has been an increase in voluntary surrenders of tortoises and freshwater turtles. 

ATP also focuses on public education programs, awareness campaigns, and community activities. 

Their efforts emphasize the value of protecting Vietnam’s turtles. 

Additionally, they conduct workshops and internships for university students.

They train the next generation of young turtle scientists and professionals in Vietnam.

Community education and awareness events engage thousands of community members.

It includes hundreds of young men participating in turtle-focused activities like football matches.

ATP also conducts species-focused research and conservation initiatives. 

They identify, study, and protect habitat sites and protected areas for endangered species. 

They are developing a community-based Species Habitat Conservation Area (SHCA).

It is for the endangered Vietnamese pond turtle, the first of its kind in Vietnam.

Giraffe Conservation Foundation

With the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), the organization seeks to secure giraffes’ future. 

They support giraffe population studies, protection, education, and innovative research. 

They aim to understand better giraffe ecology, genetics, conservation, and management.

The GCF East African Giraffe Coordinator is vital in this endeavor.

They collaborate with regional partners to achieve significant milestones. 

Together, they developed Uganda’s first-ever National Giraffe Conservation Strategy and Action Plan. 

They also established dedicated giraffe Working Groups in Kenya.

They have drafted the first-ever National Country Profile of giraffes in Tanzania.

One of their key initiatives involves protecting the threatened Nubian Giraffe in Uganda. 

Over the past 3 years, they relocated 17 giraffes from an area facing oil drilling threats.

They were relocated to a safer location in the south end of Murchison Falls National Park. 

15 giraffes were translocated to Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda.

They collaborate with Michigan State University to investigate an emerging giraffe skin disease. 

This joint effort marks the first large-scale investigation into the disease and its impacts on giraffe populations.


Dr. Dian Fossey established the Karisoke Research Center in 1967.

They launched one of the longest ongoing research and monitoring programs worldwide. 

Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI) staff is on the ground daily in Rwanda and Congo. 

It consists of Rwandan and Congolese trackers, educators, and scientists.

They protect gorillas against threats from poaching, habitat loss, and disease.

DFGFI’s Memoirs Program, in partnership with the Zoo, supports and conducts student training.

They conduct university student training at KarisokeTM Research Center. 

The goal is to develop the next generation of scientists. 

Through this, the Zoo has trained 28 Rwandan biology students in conservation science.

DFGFI protects 150 gorillas in the Nkuba-Biruwe Conservation Area in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

They are implementing monitoring and protection programs based on the successful models from the KarisokeTM Research Center. 

The Zoo is collaborating with DFGFI to double the number of protected gorillas.

Illegal Wildlife Trade – Tiger

Addressing illegal wildlife trade requires strategic efforts at all points in the chain, from collector to consumer. 

The Zoo collaborates with partners to secure a future for tigers.

They do so by working to stop the illegal trade of tigers and tiger products and halt commercial tiger farming.

Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV) plays a crucial role by working with wildlife protection agencies.

They help gather intelligence and investigate tiger trade cases and networks. 

Their National Wildlife Crime Hotline and education awareness campaigns engage the public and help reduce consumer demand for tiger products. 

Their advocacy efforts promote more vital legislation and increased legal protection for tigers. 

Together, these efforts aim to combat the illegal wildlife trade and protect tigers for future generations.

Cleveland Zoo Programs

Cleveland Zoo offers diverse programs for all ages. 

Explore the high school, volunteer, summer programs, inside tracks, and master’s programs to connect with wildlife. 

Discover the opportunities for conservation and learning.

Zoo Summer Day Camp 

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo offers a Zoo Summer Day Camp. 

The camp connects campers with wildlife and inspires personal responsibility for conserving.

Spring Break Camp 

During Spring Break, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo hosts a special camp. 

It creates compelling experiences for campers, connecting them with wildlife.

Winter Break Camp 

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Winter Break Camp provides engaging experiences for campers.

They instill a sense of responsibility for conserving the natural world.

Collaborative Inquiry Project 

The Collaborative Inquiry Project at Cleveland Zoo allows students to explore the Zoo. 

It focuses on observation and genetics in a Zoo environment.

Connections To Africa: 1st To 3rd Grade 

This self-guided program at Cleveland Zoo helps students build a connection to African animals.

Connections To Africa: 4th To 6th Grade

The program for 4th to 6th-grade students is inquiry-driven and self-guided.

It fosters a connection to African animals by encouraging questions about their lives.

Connections To Africa: Teacher Kits

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo offers Teacher Kits that contain lesson plans.

It has hands-on materials to help educators prepare for their students’ Zoo visits.

Inside Tracks Tour Program 

Cleveland Zoo’s Inside Tracks Tour Program offers a unique 90-minute behind-the-scenes experience.

It will be fun-filled facts about zoo history, animal care, behavior, and conservation.

Golf Cart Cruise 

Cleveland Zoo’s Golf Cart Cruise provides a staff-led, narrated tour around the Zoo.

Zoo Crew 

Zoo Crew is Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s teen volunteer program for ages 13-17.

It allows young individuals to engage and contribute to the Zoo community.

Zoo Library

At the Library, you can get animal resources, Zoo history, and an Online Resource Library.

It helps with school projects, research, and at-home learning.

AIP Master’s Advanced Inquiry Program 

The Advanced Inquiry Program at Cleveland Zoo offers Master’s degree and non-degree programs.

It features web-based graduate courses from Miami University and face-to-face experiential study.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Veterinary Technician Externship 

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Veterinary Technician Externship provides a post-graduate.

It’s for veterinary technicians pursuing a zoo and wildlife medicine career.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Veterinary Externship 

It offers third and fourth-year veterinary students an educational opportunity to gain experience in wildlife medicine.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo gift shop

The Cleveland Zoo Gift Shop has the perfect holiday gifts for everyone on your list. 

Whether they are zoo lovers, bookworms, or homebodies, there’s something special for everyone.

Stay warm this winter with the CMZ Explore Hoodie, made from recycled plastics. 

Find cozy winter items like waterproof gloves, blanket scarves, and winter hats.

For those who love cute bags, the COMECO INC collection offers options like red Panda and Lucky Cat bags. 

These stylish and practical bags are perfect companions for daily adventures.

Another choice is the giraffe sling backpack, which combines functionality and whimsy.

Show some love to Mother Earth with Rabbit Skins’ Love Your Mother Earth shirt. 

This eco-friendly apparel allows you to wear your support for the environment proudly.

Gift a handmade 1 Tree Mission bracelet that plants a tree for each one sold.

Tips from Simple Acts to Save Our Planet and a reusable silverware and straw set by Sand Straw can help make sustainable choices.

Little explorers will love nature-inspired Die-Cut stickers at the Cleveland Metropark Zoo gift shop to decorate their belongings. 

The Kastlfel Khaki tiger cap, Ted Tiger Trucker cap, and Kastlfel Mama Tiger tee are beautiful options for tiger enthusiasts. 

Enamel tiger magnets and Wild Republic Living Earth-Tiger plush can add tiger pride to their homes.

Get lost in colorful books like My Friend Earth and Kaleidoscope of Creatures. 

These engaging reads will bring joy and knowledge to any nature enthusiast.

For adventurous souls, explore Experiments with Outdoor Science and 1,001 Ways to Live WILD. 

These books offer exciting activities and ideas to embrace the wonders of the natural world.

Support conservation efforts with gifts like Gorongosa coffee grounds and Andean Bear mugs. 

You can also consider gifting socks from Conscious Step that support cheetah conservation. 

You can gift items like the Tonga Bowl and Felted Bird and Snake pet toys from the Snow Leopard Trust. 

Additionally, various plush options are available, with proceeds supporting wildlife conservation.

Set a calming atmosphere for relaxation with Glassdelights bonsai ornament and Paddywax candles. 

Complete a Melissa & Doug 100-piece floor puzzle or a Mudpuppy 500-piece Slowpokes puzzle. 

Journal or draw in Insights conservation-themed notebooks.

You can enjoy coloring in the Crocodile Creek Giant Coloring Poster.

Shopping online is easy with the Cleveland Zoo Gift Shop. 

You can find an assortment of apparel, plush made from recycled materials, delivered to your door.

Cleveland Zoo ticket – FAQs

1. Is the Cleveland Zoo free on Mondays?

Yes, the Cleveland Zoo offers free admission to Cuyahoga County and Hinckley Township residents on Mondays. 

To verify your residency, present a valid driver’s license, state ID, or a current utility bill.

Carry your Cuyahoga County or Hinckley Township address and a photo ID.

2. How big is the Cleveland Zoo?

Cleveland Zoo spans 183 acres. It ranks among the largest zoos in the U.S. 

With over 3,000 animals, 600 species find their home here. 

The zoo’s vast space ensures animals have ample room to roam, and visitors can enjoy a delightful experience exploring.

3. What time does the Cleveland Zoo open?

The Cleveland Zoo operates from April to October, 10 am to 5 pm, and from November to March, 10 am to 4 pm. 

4. Can you bring food to the Cleveland Zoo?

Yes, you can. 

Outside food and drinks are allowed.

However, glass products and alcohol are restricted.

5. Is the Cleveland Zoo AZA accredited?

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo holds AZA accreditation, demonstrating a commitment to top-notch animal care, guest education, and contributions to conservation and science. 

6. Are dogs allowed at the Cleveland Zoo?

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo permits only ADA-approved service animals for safety reasons. 

Please refrain from bringing non-service animals, as there are no kennel facilities.

7. Does Cleveland Zoo have hippos?

Yes, the Cleveland Zoo has hippos. 

They can be found in the African Savanna habitat, allowing visitors to observe and learn about these fascinating animals.

8. Does the Cleveland Zoo have penguins?

Yes, the Cleveland Zoo has penguins. 
The Penguin Shores exhibit offers an exciting experience to see various species of penguins and learn about their natural behaviors.

9. Does the Cleveland Zoo have polar bears?

Due to declining health, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo euthanized Aurora, its last polar bear. 

Aurora, born at the zoo 30 years ago, had spent time at other zoos in Germany and Wisconsin before returning to Cleveland in 2001.

10. How long does it take to walk the Cleveland Zoo?

The time required to explore the Zoo depends on group size and walking speed. 

Visitors spend 2-4 hours enjoying the Zoo and at least an hour and a half experiencing The RainForest.

11. How much is parking at the Cleveland Zoo?

The parking at Cleveland Zoo is free.

12. Is the Cleveland Zoo open in the winter?

The Cleveland Zoo operates from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from April to October and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. between November and March.

It provides ample time for visitors to explore and enjoy animal exhibits throughout the year.

13. Are wheelchairs available at the Cleveland Zoo?

The Welcome Plaza’s Zoo gift shop offers push wheelchairs, strollers, and Electric Convenience Vehicles (ECVs) for rent on a first-come, first-served basis.

Other zoos to visit in North America

Miami ZooProspect zooSan Antonio Zoo
Central Park ZooCentral Park zooBronx Zoo
Queens ZooTampa Zoo San Francisco Zoo
Austin Zoo  Atlant ZooWoodland park 
Columbus ZooDallas ZooHouston Zoo
Philadelphia zooLincoln Park Zoo

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