Food, Food Everywhere But Not a Bite to Eat – Columbus Zoo

Susan says…

My family enjoyed a weekend in Columbus over the Independence Day holiday weekend.  Our activities included some shopping at Easton Town Center, an afternoon at COSI, and a day at the Zoo.

columbus zoo

Talk about a Foodie Wasteland…the food at the Zoo was boring, overpriced, and unappealing. 

Of course the food will be overpriced: they have you and they’re going to squeeze some extra money out of you while you’re there.  Hey, it’s capitalism…the American way.  And I’m all for it.  I knew we’d pay a little more, but I didn’t want the hassle of hitting a local grocery, packing up and dragging a cooler around.

I kept my eyes open, looking for something interesting to eat.  I saw a popcorn cart early on and after seeing the other options, I wished I had just grabbed a bag of that.  The Flamingo Grill offered hot dogs, fries and homemade chips.  The homemade chips were the only other food item that looked remotely appealing all day. 

Not appealing, however, was the non-alcoholic “frozen” drinks I purchased at the Flamingo Grill for my kids which were actually the consistency of Kool-Aid.  Not a bit of ice in either one of them.  How much did I pay for these melted beverages, you ask?  How about $4.50 each.

columbus zoo flamingo grill

My older daughter, on her fourth trip to this Zoo, advised me to dine at the Congo River Market – a food court – near the African category of animals.  There was a kid place, a cheesesteak place, a hot dog place and a pizza place inside.  I thought I’d get pizza, because after all, how do you screw up a pizza?  Well, the crust was thick, bready and light-colored.  The cheese didn’t even come close to covering the sauce.  The gal behind the counter slopped one of the two pepperoni slices back on top of my older daughter’s slice.  The other slice had one a half slices of pepperoni.  Let’s not get carried away with the toppings now, guys!  Anyway, it wasn’t visually or olfactorily appealing.  I passed.  Two regular slices and a bottled water totalled around $9.

Around 3:30 we arrived at Zoombezi Bay, the water park inside the Zoo, and I hoped I would find better grub. 

Ron’s sixth sense led him straight to the Coconut Joe’s where he ordered us a couple of cold draft beers which is located at the wave pool area.  Not able to take the growling in my stomach any longer, I walked to whatever food stand was next door, called Surfside Grill.  I gave in and grabbed a paper tray full of chicken fingers and fries that had been parked under a heat lamp after they had been fried from a bag of frozen product who knows how much earlier in the day.  The price: around $5.50, which for the quantity, wasn’t unreasonable.  The beer ran $5 for a 16 oz. draft. 

There was really no need to snap photos of the food since it was the same stuff you could buy out of the frozen section of Sam’s.  I thought the flamingos would be much more interesting. 

My meal was alright – I was too hungry at this point to be very discerning and I still had enough cash leftover to buy a new pair of shoes at Easton.  But if I come to the Zoo again, I think I’ll go ahead and pack that cooler!

8 responses to “Food, Food Everywhere But Not a Bite to Eat – Columbus Zoo

  1. Once again, Susan fails to enforce her “Customer Rights”, as in once noticing the consistency of the Kool-Aid, she should have just sent it back.

    She also doesn’t mention the Potatoe Chips at the Flamingo Grill, that she cept eyeballing.

    But she is correct, the food was nothing to write home to mom about.

  2. Evidently Ron needs to repeat 2nd grade since he can’t read – I certainly DID mention the homemade potato chips at Flamingo Grill.

  3. We visited the zoo a few weeks ago, and I could have kicked myself in the arse for not packing a little cooler. We had pizza and some soggy fries at the congo river market and it was horrible!! Next time, I’ll definitely be armed with my own food!

  4. Hey, sorry to sidetrack from the food reviews. I have never been to the Columbus zoo and was wondering how it compares to the Cincy zoo (if you’ve been there) ? The kids have been wanting to go to the zoo and I want to take them to the one that has the most/best animals.

  5. Haha..sweet. I was just there 2 weeks ago! I didn’t grub on anything at the Zoo or Zoombezi though….But of course I hit up White Castle twice.

  6. Ron had to drive through White Castle on the way to the zoo, around 11:00 am. Me and the kids held our noses. Hope said she bet the people that worked there smelled bad. (The pervasive onion smell, ya know.)

  7. get a grip. really. it’s a zoo.

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