“Oh we’re so excited for our vacation; we are going to Toledo, Ohio!” This is not a phrase that may have ever been uttered by any human, on this planet, ever. But come on, really, we need to give Toledo a break. I mean it’s got a Jeep plant, a bunch of churches, a river…oh wait, that’s about it. However, there is a glittering diamond resting in Toledo among all of the rocks to be found there. It is the Toledo Zoo. Along with a rich history, the Toledo Zoo holds important conservation efforts and a passionate staff who are dedicated to preservation and education.
I volunteered and worked at the Toledo Zoo from 2007-2012. Maybe I am a little biased, but I am also a good word to take if you are planning a visit. But besides my own personal history, the Toledo Zoo offers a historical charm that is unmatched to any zoo in the country. The WPA buildings are beautiful in their hard history. The conservation efforts at the Toledo Zoo are numerous and impressive, considering its size. The most glittering example would be their heavy role in saving a species of very tiny toads out of Africa. The Khansi Spray Toad was thought to be extinct until a small population was found and shipped to Toledo and to the Bronx Zoo. The Toledo Zoo has had amazing success in bringing back this species and has implemented new populations back into their native habitat. They also have a glowing volunteer department, with exceptional leadership. I have seen hundreds of teenagers be steered in a positive direction because of their volunteer program (I may or may not be included into that group of humans). If anything is going to pull Toledo up by its bootstraps it will be the zoo. I can personally attest to the beauty of the zoo and the passion and love of those who work there.