At the zoo


The Toledo Zoo is hopping with excitement again. That’s always good for the community.

Plans are under way for an Australia-themed exhibit that is to open next June and include 20 kangaroo-like creatures known as wallabies. Visitors will be able to meander past the marsupials; wallabies are docile enough to be approached without barriers.

The Australia exhibit will be spread throughout the zoo during the summer. Dingoes — canines indigenous to the Australian continent — will be among other animals shown as part of the special display. So will large flightless birds known as cassowaries.

The focus on Australia will help visitors forget about the two-year closing of the zoo’s aquarium, which has had fish on display since 1939. It is getting a $25 million face-lift and expansion, the first major renovation in its history. The aquarium is to reopen in April, 2015.

A Bowling Green State University study found that every dollar spent at the zoo generates as much as six dollars in regional economic activity. In 2010, that meant $38 million for northwest Ohio.

The zoo has been a beloved local attraction for decades. Support remains strong. A fun diversion to the land Down Under will help pass the time while patrons wait for the rebirth of their aquarium.