I am a big animal lover and always have been. I particularly am a huge fan of red pandas; I mean they are adorable. Since red pandas are at three of the four major zoos in Michigan, I’d say I’m a frequent visitor and wanted to share my knowledge. Here is everything you need to know to plan your trip to the zoos in Michigan.
Binder Park Zoo
7400 Division Dr, Battle Creek, MI 49014 | 269.979.1351
The biggest of the Michigan Zoos, Binder Park in Battle Creek, has over 433 acres with 140 species. Binder Park Zoo is best known for their Wild Africa Exhibit. To get to the Wild Africa Exhibit, you must follow a half-mile upward trail, or take the free tram, which is highly recommended for those with little kids. It is worth the hike or ride though! Once you reach the top, you get to see giraffes, zebras, gazelles and more! Feeding the giraffes is fun, especially for kids — or kids at heart. For young kids, the Miller Children’s Zoo houses goats, sheep, and similar domestic animals for feeding, which can be fun for the young ones. And don’t forget to visit the red panda!
Visit the Binder Park Zoo website to learn more.
8450 W 10 Mile Rd, RoYal oak, mi 48067 | 248.541.5717
The Detroit Zoo is likely the best-known zoo in Michigan, especially with the addition of the new Polk Penguin Conservation Center, the largest center for penguins in the world, which opened in May. The center holds over 80 penguins and is magnificent, but be sure to get a time-slot to go in and visit the penguins when you buy your ticket. The Arctic Ring of Life is another big draw for the Detroit Zoo. The zoo recently took in Tundra, the oldest polar bear in captivity, when the Indianapolis Zoo closed its polar bear exhibit. The zoo also has a very large reptile exhibit, and don’t forget to stop by and watch the otters — they are always having fun! Another draw of the Detroit Zoo is the kangaroos! You can walk through the kangaroos’ sanctuary and watch them hop around. It’s really neat.
My personal favorite is the Asian Forest habitat, which is home to the red pandas! The zoo welcomed Tofu who was born a little over a year ago, helping to increase the endangered population.
Visit the Detroit Zoo website to learn more.
John Ball Zoo
1300 fulton w, grand rapids, mi 49504 | 616.336.4300
The John Ball Zoo is located in Grand Rapids. It doesn’t have the name recognition that the Detroit Zoo does, but it is actually slightly larger. The John Ball Zoo has a large African Animals exhibit, featuring lions, tigers, gorillas and more. The zoo is great for children, especially the Red’s Hobby Farm exhibit. It’s an interactive exhibit with birds and domestic animals. The John Ball Zoo has one thing that others in the area don’t, and that is zip-lining! The feature was added in 2015 and costs extra, but from the reviews, it is worth every penny! The zoo also offers a rope course, meant for older children, but still a fun experience.
Visit the John Ball Zoo website to learn more.
Potter Park Zoo
131 S pennsylvania ave, lansing, mi 48912 | 517.483.4222
The smallest of Michigan’s well-known zoos is Potter Park Zoo located in the capital city. The zoo only consists of 102 acres but has some bigger animals such as lions and tigers. They also have black rhinoceros and camels. The spider monkeys and otters are both fun to watch as they play in their exhibits at Potter Park! The zoo opened a new Moose Exhibit, one of only nine in the United States, in June. Potter Park Zoo also recently completed a new home for their red pandas that is close to the entrance of the park and a must-see.
Visit the Potter Park Zoo website to learn more.