Noah's Lost Ark near Berlin Center, Ohio, is a sanctuary and home to more than 125 exotic animals that have been neglected, abused and unwanted. My husband Jack and I have been wanting to see the place for quite some time, and when May 19 was expected to be sunny and on the cooler side (after several days of 80-plus degree temperatures), we decided this should be the day.
As it turned out, we couldn't have picked a more perfect day. It's quite a place, in fact, starting with a petting zoo. Admission is $9 per person (you can buy a food packet for the petting zoo animals for an additional $3), and it's important to know that the nonprofit facility receives no government funding and depends on donations and admission fees. All the animals are behind wire fences with quite a bit of room to roam around (and shelters to use when the weather isn't to their liking or they just want to get away from the tourists). That doesn't make for great photography opportunities, although we both got some pretty good shots.
At the petting zoo, I learned early on that these animals (goats, for instance) are quite knowledgeable about the ways of humans. They'll all come running up to the fence, but they know the difference between an empty hand and one carrying a treat. No treat, no ear or head scratches. Period.
If you're interested in other neat "stuff" - like rusty hinges and fasteners, old wood buildings and such - you'll find plenty of it here. And don't miss the gift shop, which is filled with all kinds of exotic stuffed animals and animal-related goodies from coffee mugs to notepads to walking sticks.
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Keywords:Berlin Center, Noah's Lost Ark, Ohio, animals, exotic, nonprofit, sanctuary