On Safari in Ohio

Would you believe me if I told you that you could get a safari-like experience without ever leaving the mid-West?  Well, I’m about to tell you just how!

safari, Ohio, The Wilds

Nestled on a reclaimed strip-mine property located in Guernsey County, Ohio, The Wilds came into existence in 1978, when the Ohio DNR, Ohio Zoos and private sector formed a public-private partnership with the goal of transforming the land into a refuge for endangered wildlife and habitats.  Open to the public since 1994, the project has expanded considerably in the past 20+ years.  The Wilds now boasts a diverse array of animals, from the common trumpeter swan to more exotic varieties such as Grevy’s Zebra and Southern White Rhino.


The Wilds offers a variety of daily tours as well as several specialty tours (fishing safari, horseback safari, zip line safari, etc.)  But the real fun starts with an overnight stay!  The Yurts at Nomad Ridge provide adult-only accommodation with sweeping views of the animal pasture areas. Far from city lights and traffic, you’ll marvel at the dense night sky as you listen to the various animal calls while enjoying a wine at the fire pit.


As you can see from the pictures below, these aren’t real roughing-it style yurts.  The adventure began right after check-in when we met our group for a sunset safari.  You get really close up to the animals during this special tour that includes large cat feeding and a trip to the rhino house. The safari was followed by a buffet dinner in the visitor center then back to the yurt to pick up some wine and sit by the fire pit.  Some of the other yurt guests also opted for fire time and we had a great time with new friends.  Tons of stars were visible on the walk back to the yurt.  Some of the animal noises made for a restless, if not interesting night!  We got up and after a quick shower had breakfast, again at the visitor center.  After check out we stayed and did the regular daytime tour with lots more animals on view!

safari, Ohio, The Wilds, yurt
safari, Ohio, The Wilds, yurt

There are 12 yurts available in three different configurations that vary in amenities but all yurt packages include:

  • an open air safari tour for each guest
  • dinner and breakfast for two
  • 24-hour staff concierge
  • complimentary WiFi

Below is a sneak preview of what you can expect to find at The Wilds!

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On Tuesday you read about the nuts and bolts of our recent trip to Mexico so today I thought I’d like to focus on the fun stuff!  While I’ve visited both Cozumel and Playa del Carmen numerous times as one-day cruise ship stops, this was my first time spending the night.  While Playa is fun, it’s also overrun with touts, tourists and all the gimmicky go-alongs.  I found Cozumel much more laid back and appealing.  Below are the activity highlights from our Cozumel stay.

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A Point Stay to Paradise: El Presidente Cozumel and Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen

Natty Gal is back this week after a delightful stay at two properties on Mexico’s Riviera Maya.  The bulk of our week was spent at El Presidente on Cozumel and, boy, is this property over the top!  We’re not ones to repeat travel experiences but I’m already planning to go back.  For our last day, we traveled back to Playa del Carmen and stayed at the Grand Hyatt. Being back on the mainland made it much less stressful to catch our late AM flight from Cancun the next day.  Below is a brief review of the properties and the overview of how we used points to fund the trip.

InterContinental El Presidente Cozumel

El Presidente Cozumel Sunset

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