The Cincinnati Zoo is a terrific summer destination for families and anyone who loves wildlife, so we made a trip to visit the zoo late in June. We probably visit the Cincinnati Zoo about once a year. The Cincinnati Zoo is older than the Indianapolis Zoo and some of the older design features, such as the cat grottos, make Cinci a little bit better suited for photography that some newer zoos. Many new zoos are incorporating innovative features to create a really dynamic experience for young visitors. In some cases this means replacing traditional fencing or bars with gigantic windows. These windows are great for close-up viewing, so if you have a kid in your life, look for these window features. Unfortunately, these windows can sometimes create challenges for photography.
The Cincinnati Zoo has their big cats and many other animals in grottos. If you haven't seen the grottos, they are basically big pits or sunken areas where the animals live. The depth of the grotto prevents the animal from escaping, and there is normally an elevating observation position. At the Cincinnati Zoo, this means you can photograph the big cats and other large animals in environments that are completely free of obstructions such as traditional fences. Beyond the photography advantages, the Cincinnati Zoo has some truly amazing old architecture. Recently the Cincinnati Zoo has renovated their Vine Street entrance and created a new main entry area, so they are adding innovative modern features to the zoo property. When you arrive at the Cinci Zoo and the main parking lot, you will see one of the larges solar power arrays in the United States. Pay close attention, the solar panels are easy to mistake for gigantic carports. Then you take an escalator up to a pedestrian bridge over Vine Street to enter the zoo. Very cool. Very amusement park.
In Cincinnati we love shopping at Kenwood Towne Center and Rookwood Commons and Pavilion. Rookwood is two outdoor shopping centers that are connected to each other. On one side you will find the expected specialty retail stores, and on the other are large discount stores like Steinmart, TJMaxx, Homegoods and Nordstrom Rack. Nordstrom Rack is hands down one of the best places to buy shoes. On our last visit we found shoes at Rack for $70 less than what they were selling for the same weekend everywhere else. Kenwood Towne Center is one of our favorite malls. Kenwood is in progress with a big addition, but they already have one of the best Macy's we've every visited. Plus they have Dillards and the other great department stores you'd expect. Kenwood is home to a Papyrus store, so if you wait long enough you will probably catch us in there looking for Bella.
There is lot's to do in Cinci, and it is only about 75 minutes from Indianapolis. Keep reading Josh and Joe Travels for more tips and ideas about visiting Cincinnati. Happy Travels!