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A message from the Columbus Zoo on Australian Wildfire Assistance

614now Staff

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has been working with conservation partners in Australia to identify ways to best provide support to efforts helping wildlife impacted by the fires. President/CEO Tom Stalf issued the following update:

“Our hearts go out to the people and wildlife of Australia, and we continue to follow the situation closely while remaining in regular communication with our Australian colleagues and wildlife conservation partners. When our conservation partners alert us to emergencies such as these terrible wildfires that threaten their projects and communities, we respond with technical expertise and financial support.

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium supports over 100 conservation projects worldwide, which includes contributions to conservation of Australian wildlife through our partnership with the San Diego Zoo, and donations to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program and the Australia Zoo’s Wildlife Warriors. In the dire case involving the bushfires, we have designated $10,000 to date from the Columbus Zoo’s emergency grants fund to donate to Zoos Victoria’s Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund.

A broader, collective effort among zoological facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is also underway to support Zoos Victoria. Their director has informed our zoo community that while the fires are currently located a distance away from their zoos, their veterinary teams have been deployed into the fire areas, where they are setting up triage and critical care facilities. Unfortunately, it’s too early to evaluate the totality of the situation as the director has also stated that the actual fire grounds are still too dangerous for people to enter and find injured animals.

However, the Zoos Victoria team is already providing critical care to the many animals brought to them with varying types of injuries. The care will continue for the long-term recovery of Australian wildlife, as even after the fires, surviving animals will likely have little to no food or shelter available to them in their native ranges.

We are extremely grateful for the inquiries we have received from our caring community members who also want to help, and these updates from our partners help us to ensure that our contributions are being made in a responsible manner for our donors, and in a way that will be most effective in making a positive impact during this sad situation.

If you would like to contribute to the Columbus Zoo’s conservation fund to specifically help Australian wildlife affected by the fires, please visit https://give.columbuszoo.org/animalsincrisis. Thank you for your continued support of protecting wildlife and wild places.”

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Community

Cedar Point, Kings Island are suing to get you back

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It just doesn’t seem fair, does it? Columbus Zoo & Aquarium are allowed to re-open but Cedar Point and Kings Island have been snubbed in Gov. Mike DeWine’s most recent announcement that Ohio’s entertainment venues were allowed to re-open.

After being left out of the party, Cedar Point, Kalahari Resort and Kings Island sued the director of the Ohio Department of Health Thursday, arguing that Dr. Amy Acton doesn’t have the authority to keep the state’s amusement parks and waterparks shut down and in doing so is violating the park’s rights.

The lawsuit was brought by attorney Maurice Thompson, executive director of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law. The county health departments for both parks were also named in the lawsuit.

No word yet from the Ohio Department of Health as to when, or if, either amusement park will be allowed to open in June.

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Arts & Culture

See what’s re-opening: Entertainment venues get June 10 go-ahead

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Who would’ve thought that people would be getting excited about a roller skating rink reopening in 2020?

As far as keeping ourselves entertained, Gov. Mike DeWine blessed the state with wonderful news on Thursday. DeWine announced that certain entertainment facilities would be able to reopen under certain health and safety restrictions starting June 10.

Skate Zone 71 has already reopened as of today, but there’s still a handful of entertainment venues who have had to hold off on letting people back in until next Wednesday.

Those venues include:

  • Aquariums
  • Art galleries
  • Country clubs
  • Ice skating rinks
  • Indoor family entertainment centers
  • Indoor sports facilities
  • Laser tag facilities
  • Movie theaters (indoor)
  • Museums
  • Playgrounds (outdoor)
  • Public recreation centers
  • Roller skating rinks
  • Social clubs
  • Trampoline parks
  • Zoos

Below are a few we know are re-opening next week. Check back for more next week!

  • Otherworld  — The immersive art installation that took Columbus by storm in 2019 is set to return on June 11, according to the venue’s webpage. Otherworld will be operating at a capacity of one visitor per 160 square feet, or around 20 percent of the regular admittance.
  • The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium welcomes back members beginning on June 12, 13, and 14, and all guests starting on June 15. The Zoo will be open daily from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., and all Zoo visits (including for Members) will require a dated, timed ticket to help ensure that social distancing and other precautions are followed appropriately.
  • Skate 71 is gearing up for re-opening, according to its Facebook page. It’s currently selling tickets for Adult Night Skating on June 11. Buy them here.
  • The Chiller is also prepping for re-opening and has been selling passes for various sessions since June 1. You can learn more about grabbing some time at the rink here.
  • Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will reopen its operations to visitors on Saturday, June 13. The reopening includes all of the Conservatory's interior biomes and outdoor gardens, filled with colorful summer horticulture displays and topiaries. Visitors will also be able to enjoy the annual Bonsai exhibition and the Conservatory’s entire collection of Dale Chihuly glass artwork.
     
    For more information and updates on the Conservatory, please visit fpconservatory.org or follow the Conservatory on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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Coronavirus

Weekend Getaway: Ohio State Park lodges reopen

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Cooped up inside of our homes for the past few months, everyone could use a change of scenery. Luckily for those that love the great outdoors of Ohio, the perfect getaway is now possible once again.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced on May 28 that all nine Ohio State Park lodges would be reopened by June 5.

The places where you can escape to are listed below in order of closest proximity to Columbus to furthest:

  • Deer Creek
  • Burr Oak
  • Mohican Lodge
  • Salt Fork Lodge
  • Shawnee 
  • Hueston Woods
  • Maumee Bay
  • Punderson Manor

Director of State Park Lodges Tom Arvan had this to say in the May 28 press release:

“Our staff has been working diligently to ensure that guests return to a safe and sanitized environment following the CDC safety guidelines. Our goal is for our guests to feel comfortable as they enjoy the fun activities and relax in the natural beauty of the lodges and all the state parks have to offer this summer.”

Visit https://www.greatohiolodges.com/ to secure your much-needed wilderness adventure today.

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