One Tank Trips Idea: Zoos!

Are you looking for something close by for you and the kids to do this summer? In Michigan, you’re never more than a one tank trip away from a zoo. If you’re looking for smaller petting zoos and farms, where you can get up close and personal to the animals, or a large zoo with exotic animals from all over the world, Michigan has them both!

Flickr Photo Credit - Maria PetrellaSoutheast Region

Detroit Zoo – The Detroit Zoo was the first in the United States to use open natural exhibits, and features 125 acres of naturalistic exhibits with 1300 mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates of 250 different species

Potter Park Zoo – This 100 acre park features the county zoological park with over 400 different animal species, plus playground, picnic areas, pony and camel rides, petting zoo, gardens and more.

Domino’s Petting Farm – This petting farm features over 150 farm animals, including rare African Watusi Cattle and Poitou Donkeys. Hayrides run all day and pony rides are available on weekends, weather permitting.

Southwest Region

Flickr Photo Credit - Joann CopelandBinder Park Zoo – Enjoy spectacular views of wild animals from elevated boardwalks. Get nose-to-nose with one of the largest giraffe herds in the country as you explore Wild Africa and hand feed a giraffe! Ride the Zoo & O. Railroad. See animals from down-under, as well as gift shops and restaurants.

West Central

Flickr Photo Credit - Treneese WalkerJohn Ball Zoo Society – Over 2,000 animals are located in a 140-acre park only one mile from the downtown Grand Rapids district. The zoo includes the Lions of Manyara exhibit featuring a pride of three lions, the only Aquarium in Michigan, a Komodo dragon, a troop of chimpanzees, the Treasure of the Tropics building, and Colobus Monkeys that can leap 50 feet and free fall to the next branch.

Lewis’ Farm Market and Petting Farm – In addition to a fabulous farm market, there is a petting farm, gift shop, pantry and children’s corner, including Michigan’s only animated Chicken show, gem mining, barrel horses, and duck races.

East Central

Wilderness Trails Zoo – Enjoy a unique zoo experience as the mile-long trail winds past trees, ponds and one of the largest animal collections in Michigan. It is home to over 200 individual animals representing over 50 species including alligators, lions, tigers, monkeys and camels.

Flickr Photo Credit - Valerie HoffmanChildren’s Zoo at Celebration Square – Celebrate nature, wildlife and lifelong discovery through affordable and engaging experiences for everyone from the young to the young-at-heart, in a garden-filled park-like setting. Animals from various parts of the globe make their home at the Children’s Zoo, including wolves, river otters, bald eagles, black-footed penguins, Capuchin monkeys, kangaroos, alligators, exotic birds, reptiles and more!

LeCronier’s Baby Acres – Pet, feed and hold baby animals. See bunnies, chickens, pigs, kittens, goats, sheep and more.

Grandpa Tiny’s Farm – Step back in time at this working Historical Farm and Petting Farm. Hold cuddly baby bunnies and chicks. Watch playful lambs and goats. Feed and play with the farm animals, gather your own eggs and take a horse-drawn wagon ride!


Flickr Photo Credit - Rebecca ReamyCindy Lou’s Zoo – Journey through 20 scenic acres in a park like setting. The zoo features both domestic and exotic animals for your entire family’s enjoyment. Cindy Lou’s Zoo features exotic cattle, red deer, fallow deer, camel, horses, miniature donkeys, goats & sheep, monkeys, lemurs, parrots and much more.

Upper Peninsula (East)

GarLyn Zoological Park – The zoo includes both native (black bear, wolf, bobcat, whitetail deer, cougar, otter, raccoon, skunk) and exotic animals from around the world (camel, wallaby, patagonian cavy, reindeer), and many more.

Upper Peninsula (West)

DeYoung Family Zoo – Come view the exotic felines and get the opportunity to interact with these magnificent creatures. The zoo is unique because it is a hands-on experience, and all of the animals are very responsive.

Flickr Photo Credit - Valerie HoffmanAs you can see, Michigan offers many opportunities to view and appreciate animals throughout the state. Whether you are looking for a day trip, or a vacation to another region of Michigan, we’ve got you covered. See what other fun awaits in Michigan on a “one-tank trip”.


  • Michele Sprague Nedervelt

    Is there still a zoo on the bay in Traverse City? I took my sons there years ago. Small, but something for kids when in that area.

  • Michelle Adams

    I really like Binder and John Ball. Living on the SW side of MI, it makes it easy to go to both. I think I like Binder better since I went there for elementary trips and have memories from that.

  • Pure Michigan

    Unfortunately the zoo near Traverse City is closed.

  • Sandy Bays

    Can you please tell me where is the locations of the first 3 photos of the above slideshow showing lazy water tubing, trail by water and hiking? We’d love to see those areas.

    Thanks in advance!

  • Molly Adams

    There is also Critchlow’s Alligator Sanctuary located in Athens, Michigan. That is a must see if you are in Michigan! You can actually feed the gators! My son used to volunteer there and it is an amazing place!

  • Barb L.

    Don’t miss the DeYoung Family Zoo if you are in the UP. We have been to many zoos across the nation, Washington, DC, San Antonio, TX, Minneapolis, MN, San Diego, CA, Milwaukee, WI…. None of the large zoos have the close interaction you will find at the DeYoung Zoo.

  • Pure Michigan

    The tubing photo was taken on the Au Sable river in Oscoda, and the photo of the trail by the water is near Sleeping Bear Dunes. We will get back with you about the hiking photo.

  • Pure Michigan

    Sandy, the hiking photo was taken on Isle Royale.


    There is certainly noticeably a bundle to recognize about this.
    I assume you produced certain nice points in functions also.

  • Abbey Hall

    How many zoos are in Michigan I need to know

  • Barb Sanders

    How many zoos are in Michigan

  • Abbey Hall

    how many zoos are in Michigan state