Columbus Zoo and Aquarium issues new bag and cooler policy

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is initiating a new bag policy at the Zoo and Zoombezi Bay in order to further enhance public safety.

Effective Sept. 6, the new policy limits the size, type, and storage of guest bags and coolers on zoo grounds.

Guests are welcome to bring bags up to 22 inches long by 10 inches wide by 12 inches high, and hard or soft coolers (without wheels) up to 14 inches by 14 inches. These approved bags and coolers can then be kept with guests or stored in several storage locations around the zoo, including one just north of Lakeside Grill, and, during Zoombezi Bay’s operating season from late May through Labor Day, at the Zoombezi Bay Cooler Cove and the Zoombezi Bay picnic shelter.

Bags and coolers left unattended outside of these areas will be confiscated. As before, outside food and drink are permitted at the zoo only, but glass containers, alcohol and straws are prohibited.

In preparation for the rollout of this new policy, the zoo recently opened a new picnic area conveniently located outside the zoo entrance, adjacent to the parking lot. Guests have the opportunity to store oversized bags and coolers in the new picnic shelter, or enjoy use of the picnic shelter and then store the bags and coolers in their personal vehicles. Guests can reenter the zoo on the same day after receiving a handstamp upon exiting.

“After consulting with many other large public attractions, we have determined that this bag policy is just one more way we can further our commitment to ensuring that our guests enjoy a safe experience,” said John Gannon, senior vice president of guest services and business strategies.

For more information about the bag policy and other Zoo policies, please visit the Columbus Zoo’s website at

Staff Report