There used to be a tiny water park called Wyandot Lake across from the Columbus Zoo. For a very cheap price, you could enjoy the water slides and the kid friendly dry rides such as the scrambler, spider ride, merry-go-round, and even a small roller coaster that brought squeals from the kids as they felt the thrill of their first trip down a steep hill. We bought season passes there for several years and have wonderful memories of that great little park.
Several years ago, the zoo purchased (and ruined) Wyandot Lake. They named it Zoombezi Bay and the price to get in is $24.99......if you're under the age of 10. If you're unlucky enough to be 10 years or older, the price is a whopping $29.99. And don't forget the $5 to park your car. That means it costs a small fortune for a family of any size to go to this park. Granted, those prices are comparable to Kings Island and Cedar Point, but here's what you might not know.....the price of admission to Zoombezi Bay does not include any of the dry rides! Thanks to Jack Hanna, you're now required to buy individual ride tokens or an all-day ride pass at exorbitant prices. That's not a theme park. That's a county fair. And that's ridiculous.
So why can we be found at Zoombezi Bay for one day in August every year? Because we get free tickets. Which brings me to how we spent our Saturday......
As we pulled out of our driveway, A said, "Let's try to make it through one day without it turning into a blog for mom." (But nobody knocked on wood.) Therefore, when my husband tried to use leftover tickets from 2009 "just to see if it would work" and he got scolded by the gate attendant and then tried to blame K, none of us were surprised. When we were having a family picture taken in the Lazy River and K's nose spouted blood like a geyser, nobody was shocked. (PS. I now understand where they get the saying that blood is thicker than water.....her blood floated along the current for quite awhile.) When we exited the river, we were followed by a tiny deeply tanned man who was wearing two pairs of sweatpants and had goggles on his head. Nothing out of the ordinary, right? While sitting in his lawn chair, my husband crossed his leg and kicked the headrest out from under the kid who was sitting in the chair in front of him. He didn't realize what he had done until the very angry father of the kid turned his very angry glares toward him......and I laughed so hard I peed my bathing suit. At lunch K lost her tooth eating cheese puffs and proceeded to vomit in the parking lot beside our van and quickly dove back in when we realized that seagulls have zero standards when it comes to what they're willing to eat. K's tooth is either flying somewhere over Columbus or on someone's windshield by now. Just another day in our world.
We're not big fans of the zoo section. Not because we believe that animals should be free to roam the wild or anything. Frankly, I think they've got it pretty good in the zoo. My dislike of the zoo stems from my dislike of crowds. Stick me on a path on a hot day with hundreds of people stampeding from exhibit to exhibit and I'm not a happy momma. Throw in the occasional slow moving scooter or heaven forbid a newlywed couple who refuses to drop hands and I have flashbacks of our nightmare trip to Disney World and I become enraged. But the zoo recently added a polar bear exhibit and the boys in our family were bouncing around with excitement to see them. So we girls tagged along to see what the big fuss was about.
The only thing worse than those crowds of tourists, slow scooters, and lovebirds crowding down a hot path, is when that same group is trying to fit down a crowded ramp, but we forged ahead to please the boys. We ended up underneath a giant glass wall & ceiling of water that was full of fish happily swimming and mocking the stupid humans who were choosing to stand in a hot hole underground and watch them. I waited about a minute before angrily asking where the infamous polar bear was and was answered with a lot of excited people pointing their fingers and saying, "There's his foot!" (Are you freakin kidding me?) I decided that bear had exactly 5 minutes to dazzle us or we were heading back to the bay to bleed in the Lazy River some more.
Finally, the bear plunged into the fishy water to the delighted gasps of his underground fans, chased a few fish, mooned us with a giant spread of his legs, and climbed back out. Admittedly, it was kind of cool and I found myself smiling in spite of myself. My husband turned around and asked if I took a picture. I looked down at the camera that was hanging around my neck (speaking of tourist, right?) and I realized I hadn't gotten one single shot. Oops. He looked like a little boy whose balloon had just popped. (Take it easy, Chuckles.) He told me I'd just missed getting a once in a lifetime picture. (Drama runs deep in our family. Notice the picture posted at the top right? It's called 'Google' so please calm down.)
Having seen a bear we were ready to go back to the water side of the park where we belong. Having fought the crowds to get to the bear, I was running short on patience to get out. I finally decided to enact my personal motto that was pretty effective in Disney World and equally as effective at the zoo. It goes something like this: "She who has the stroller, has the right of way." And it works, too......