1984 - Originally conceived as a private-public partnership involving the Ohio Departments of Natural Resources and Development, the Ohio zoological parks, and the private sector, the Wilds was formally incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit under the name The International Center for the Preservation of Wild Animals, Inc. (ICPWA).
1986 - ICPWA received a gift of 9,154 acres of land from the Central Ohio Coal Company, a subsidiary of American Electric Power Company. The next few years were spent planning the development of the site, enlisting fundraising support from both the private and public sectors, and building a staff.
1989 - The first Visitor Center (now known as the Johnson Visitor Center) was completed, using a state-of-the-art, geothermal heating and cooling system donated by a local electric cooperative.
1990 - Fencing of the initial open range was installed and the first animal management facilities were constructed.
1991 - The first animals arrived at the Wilds, including Hartmann's Mountain zebras, Scimitar-horned Oryx, and Przewalski's horses...species that continue to benefit from our efforts today.
1994 - The Wilds opened to the public, allowing visitors to learn about conservation projects that relate to the rare and endangered species from around the world in our open range animal areas.
2002 - Responding to financial pressures, the Wilds Board of Trustees initiated a major reorganization, including the development of a closer working relationship with the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.
2005 - Board, staff and volunteers completed the Wilds first Strategic Vision Plan to guide future development of the organization.