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The Wilds open for 2013 season
Posted on: 06/03/2013
By  Andy Rex & Mike Cullums
The Wilds in southeastern Muskingum County covers nearly 10,000 acres of reclaimed strip mine land, and is now home to 31 animal species…13 of them endangered.
The center is now open for the season. 
 
Wilds Vice President Rick Dietz says there’s several different tours people can take.
 
“We have our open air safari tour, which is by far our most popular tour," Dietz says.  It has an open canopy roof and you’re right there with the animals.  You can see and smell them.  It’s a great photo opportunity for photographers out there.  Then we have an enclosed safari transport vehicle, which is nice.  It’s air-conditioned, which is nice for younger kids or older folks – people that don’t want to be out in the elements the way they are in the open-air safari.”
 
Dietz says the center has been recently expanding other opportunities for visitors.
 
“We have zip lines," Dietz explains.  We’re going to have horseback up and running in a few weeks.  We have fishing tours, which are really popular.  We had a great month in May with lots of memorable moments and lots of big fish were caught on Wilds property so far this year.  We also have our sunset safaris, which is a great opportunity to see the animals at sunset.  It’s a great photo opportunity.  The animals are really active.  The temperature is a little bit cooler.  Those start at 5:00 on Fridays and Saturdays.”
 
And, he says there are also overnight stays available.
 
“We have our version of glamping, which is glamorous camping," Dietz says.  Those are in Mongolian Yurts, which is a fancy tent.  It has hardwood floors.  You get a dinner and a breakfast.  And, you get your choice of either the safari transport or the open-air safari tours included in that option.  Or, you can upgrade to a wild side tour, which brings you even closer to the animals.  You’re in a specially modified vehicle, and you go directly in the animal pastures – right up to the animals where they are in their herds.”
 
The Wilds is now operated by the Columbus Zoo, and is open daily through September, then on weekends in October.  It’s less than a one hour drive from Marietta. You can learn more at the wilds dot org.
 
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