The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is bringing back a nostalgic taste of the wild this summer.
After about four decades, "Zoo Keys" have returned, featuring interactive storytelling stations with collectable zoo keys for families to learn about the animal kingdom they're exploring.
A zoo key costs $3 for members and $4 for non-members and can be used at all 20 stations during every visit. Once you have your key, it's as easy as locating one of the solar-powered boxes and then inserting and turning your key. After you do, a recording about the nearby plant or animal will play.
The key boxes have options for both English and Spanish stories, and visitors can choose their language by using either one of the two key holes with their preferred language.
For the English stories, expect to hear narration by Zoo Director Thane Maynard. For the Spanish versions, the zoo's head of the Cat Ambassador Program translated and recorded Maynard's stories.
Every year, the zoo will produce a new animal key. This year is a red elephant "trunkey."
“Through the years, visitors have asked us over and over to bring back the Zoo Keys,” said Maynard in a release. “We listened and are happy to offer this fun, simple activity that families can enjoy together.”
The keys are available at ticketing windows and the train station. A map of the Zoo Key stations is available online.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is located at 3400 Vine St. in Avondale. The zoo has reopened to the public with COVID-19 safety precautions in place, including timed admission tickets to help with capacity limits and social distancing. For more info, visit cincinnatizoo.org.