I'm sure a number of you here are familiar with the Columbus Zoo, probably because they have a kiddie woodie at the waterpark. But the zoo itself is excellent, and I had a chance to wine and dine my way around the park last weekend. I'm putting it in Random because it's pretty light on the rides and pretty heavy on the food!
Every year, the zoo holds a big fundraising party with a bunch of local and national restaurants offering up small plates and you can eat and drink your way around the zoo all night long. Some of the places we noshed at included Carrabba's, Max and Erma's, Benihana, City BBQ, Krispy Kreme, Dippin' Dots, Donato's, Nada (a Columbus-Cincinnati Mexican restaurant), White Castle, and a couple of other local restaurants whose names escape me. And of course, there was booze flowing freely, much of which is included with the price of admission . It's an absolute blast to participate in. Some highlights from the experience are below:
We were worried that we were going to get hit with rain since it was pretty nasty out all morning, but luckily it dried up in time for the party.
Zoombezi Bay (the Zoo's waterpark) has some impressive slide towers.
Of course, being at a zoo, there were animals out and about.
Time for the main event - as you can see, this is a pretty popular party.
Mmm, pulled pork!
Very delicious sliders from City Barbeque.
Even Carrabba's was here! Of course, the chicken Marsala and prosciutto- wrapped shrimp were awesome.
I found Dory...
The graceful unifish.
Mmm, more food! This time a potsticker.
The zoo recently opened a pirate boat ride, and while the ride was closed, the queue was left open, so we wandered past some of the really bizarre pirate animatronics...
Yeah, a bit weird!
Back to the food! This time we got baked goods from the Amish. If you've been to Amish Country before, you know that the Amish make amazing food, especially apple fritters and other baked goods.
As you can see, it's a pretty nice-looking zoo. My only complaint was that I wish we could have seen more exhibits as the night went on, but it's understandable that the zookeepers have to do their thing.
This was my second beer of the night. Rhinegeist is actually based in Cincinnati and they've been exploding in Ohio over the past year.
Taking a break from stuffing our faces to listen to a 1980s cover band.
Hey look, it's Jungle Jack Hanna!
Jack and the lead singer of the cover band.
And then someone thought it was a good idea to give him a keytar. Hysterical.
Peace out, Zoofari, we had a blast!
Jumping forward a day, we went to Melt for lunch on Sunday. Melt is based in Cleveland but they have a few Columbus outposts and I had been craving it, so I convinced everyone to go. I got my personal favorite, the Parma Italy Melt, which is basically a chicken parm grilled cheese.
Another cool place to stop at in Columbus is Big Fun (ironically, this is also originally a Cleveland institution, but Columbus likes to steal ideas from her sister cities!) It's basically a huge collection of vintage toys. I'm sure it brings back good memories for some forum members!
Another look inside of Big Fun.
Goodbye from Columbus! I left very stuffed and very happy!
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