Welcome to #QuirkyOhio, our 2017 blog series highlighting Ohio’s odd, unusual and downright wacky experiences, places and events. Follow along as we profile some of the quirkiest parts of the state!

About an hour and a half from Columbus is one of Ohio’s quirkiest animal attractions – The Wilds. An exotic animal preserve situated on nearly 10,000 acres of reclaimed coalmine land, The Wilds is North America’s largest wildlife conservation center for endangered species. While visiting The Wilds, it is possible to completely forget one is in Ohio – the place is that, well, wild.

The Wilds is home to dozens of non-native and hundreds of native species that live naturally, as if out in the wild. What makes it somewhat quirky is that your experience may totally vary from one visit to the next. What you’ll see there depends on the day and time; sometimes you’ll see animals quite close-up, while other times you’ll only see them in the distance.

Open-air safari bus tours start at $30 per person and operate rain or shine, so dress appropriately. The Wilds is a beautiful place to visit and makes for a fun safari-style adventure as long as you don’t go in with pre-set expectations for close encounters with critters. It’s important to remember that The Wilds is more about conservation and education than providing an up-close animal encounter for human visitors.

Have you visited The Wilds? What other quirky spots in Ohio should we visit in the last quarter of 2017? We look forward to your feedback below or over on Facebook.

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