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Summer at the Columbus Zoo Just Got Cuter with New Animal Babies

If you’re looking for the ultimate cuteness overload this summer, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has you covered! From precious penguin chicks to gazelle calves and lizard hatchlings, the Zoo is teeming with adorable new arrivals that are bound to make your heart melt. Here’s the lowdown on all the new baby animals you can meet!

New Faces at the Zoo

This year, the Columbus Zoo is celebrating some seriously significant births, and trust us, you’re going to want to see these little ones for yourself.

Shores & Aquarium Region

whiptail lizard hatchlings
Whiptail Lizard Hatchlings. Photo by Amanda Carberry, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Desert Grassland Whiptail Lizard Hatchlings: Kicking off 2024 with a bang, three whiptail lizards hatched on January 20! These lizards are known for their whip-like tails and their unique all-female reproduction method, a process called parthenogenesis. Nicknamed the “lesbian lizard,” these hatchlings are a fascinating start to the Zoo’s year. Check them out in the Reptile Building, where they’re ready to impress with their sassy tails.

Green Basilisk Hatchlings: February saw the hatching of three green basilisks, also known as the “Jesus Christ lizard” for their incredible ability to run on water. These tiny miracles are currently being pampered behind the scenes, but keep an eye out—they’ll be making their grand debut in their habitat later this summer.

humboldt penguin chicks
Humboldt Penguin Chicks. Photo by Amanda Carberry, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Humboldt Penguin Chicks: The Humboldt penguin family has grown by two this March with the arrival of two male chicks. These little waddlers had a rough start, but thanks to the Zoo’s dedicated team, they’re now thriving under the care of their foster parents. Get ready to meet these fluffy cuties once they graduate from “Penguin Preschool” and join the rest of the colony outdoors.

Heart of Africa Region

slender horned gazelle calf
Slender Horned Gazelle Calf. Photo by Amanda Carberry, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Slender-Horned Gazelle Calves: Say hello to Sasquatch and Nessie, the newest members of the slender-horned gazelle family! Born in February, these calves are not just cute—they’re a big deal. Classified as Endangered, slender-horned gazelles are rare, so seeing these babies frolic in the Heart of Africa savanna is a must.

dama gazelle calf
Dama Gazelle Calf. Photo by Amanda Carberry, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Dama Gazelle Calf: Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, a male dama gazelle named Patrick was born. With fewer than 300 dama gazelles left in the wild, Patrick’s birth is a beacon of hope for his species. He’s already best buds with Sasquatch and Nessie, and you can catch him playing around with his family in the savanna soon.

Congo Expedition Region

mandril baby
Mandril baby. Photo by Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Mandrill Baby: On May 5, mandrill mama Malaika welcomed a new baby boy to the family! This little guy is already exploring and making friends with his siblings, Izara and Bernard. With his vibrant coloring and playful nature, he’s set to become a crowd favorite. Mandrills are the largest monkeys and hail from the rainforests of west central Africa, making this little one a fascinating addition to the Zoo’s primate family.

Get Up Close and Personal

The Columbus Zoo isn’t just about watching from afar. You can get hands-on with some incredible animal encounters that will make your visit unforgettable.

animal encounters columbus zoo
Training Tales. Photo by Amanda Carberry, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Animal Experiences: From touching stingrays to watching thrilling training demos, there are plenty of ways to connect with the Zoo’s residents. Check the Zoo’s website for the latest offerings and schedules.

Tours and Experiences: Want to make your trip extra special? Book one of the Zoo’s exclusive tours, where you can meet cheetahs, visit the Animal Health Center, hang out with wildlife in Jack Hanna’s Animal Encounters Village, or even bathe an elephant! These experiences, presented by Nationwide, vary in price and availability, so plan ahead.

This summer, don’t miss the chance to meet these new animal babies and create some unforgettable memories. Whether you’re an animal lover or just in need of some serious cuteness, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is the place to be!