Ten Ways to Go Wild with a Trip to a Michigan Zoo

Family vacation season is nearly upon us. While you may be planning for a longer getaway, keep in mind that a day trip can be a fun way to spend some quality family time and unwind a bit. Scattered throughout Michigan are an assortment of zoos and wildlife parks that are both educational and fun for all ages. So, grab some sunscreen and bottled water and get ready for a wild day of family fun at these Michigan zoos and parks! For more information on  zoos in your area, visit michigan.org/zoos.

Photo courtesy of Detroit Zoo

Photo courtesy of Detroit Zoo

Detroit Zoo – Royal Oak, MI
Features 125 acres of naturalistic exhibits with 1300 mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates of 250 different species. Be sure to take a trek through the North Pole in the Arctic Ring of Life exhibit. The Detroit Zoo was the first in the United States to use open natural exhibits.

Potter Park Zoo – Lansing, MI
Located along the Red Cedar River, 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.

Photo courtesy of Binder Park Zoo

Photo courtesy of Binder Park Zoo

Binder Park Zoo – Battle Creek, MI
Open for the season on April 22, 2014! An African adventure awaits you at Binder Park Zoo! Discover 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! Binder Park opens middle of April through October each year.

Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park - Alto, MI
Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park features a reptile house, aviary, petting zoo, and guided safari tour through the park and prides itself on giving visitors a hands-on experience that’s as close to the wild as you can get. With animals as diverse as wallabies, zebras, pythons and lemurs, there is sure to be something for everyone in the family to enjoy.

John Ball Zoo Society – Grand Rapids, MI
John Ball Zoo, with over 2,000 animals, is located in a 140-acre park only one mile from the downtown Grand Rapids district. Zoo includes the Lions of Manyara exhibit featuring a pride of three lions, the only aquarium in Michigan, Komodo dragon, a troop of chimpanzees, and Colobus Monkeys that can leap 50 feet to the next branch!

Wilderness Trails Zoo – Birch Run, MI
Wilderness Trails Zoo is home to over 200 individual animals representing over 50 species including alligators, lions, tigers, monkeys and camels. Make lasting family memories  in Wilderness Trails’ petting area, butterfly house and animal feeding stations.

Photo courtesy of Children's Zoo at Celebration Square

Photo courtesy of Children’s Zoo at Celebration Square

Children’s Zoo at Celebration Square - Saginaw, MI
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! Ride the hand-carved carousel and antique train and get up close and personal with all kinds of critters at live Amphitheater shows.

Cindy Lou’s Zoo – Roscommon, MI
Journey through 20 scenic acres in a park like setting in beautiful Roscommon. Cindy Lou’s Zoo features 120+ animals including exotic cattle, red deer, fallow deer, horses, miniature donkeys, goats and sheep, monkeys, lemurs, parrots and much more. Many of the animals are tame enough to hand feed and pet.

GarLyn Zoological Park - Naubinway, MI
Located 40 minutes west of the Mackinac Bridge on US-2 just six miles east of Naubinway. See live tigers, black bear, alligator, cougar, bobcat, wolves, wallaby, camel, reindeer, ring-tailed lemur, sika deer, river otter and more. Feed the deer, goats, llama and even the bear!

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

Traveler Tip: Interested in seeing the animals most active? Try heading to the park early in the morning before it gets too hot. Not only will you avoid large crowds, you’ll also witness the animals at their peak activity.

While a trip to the zoo is great fun on any given day, special events and exhibits can bring a new element of discovery and enjoyment. Give these events a look and be sure to check michigan.org or your favorite zoo’s website for special opportunities.

GreenFest at the Detroit Zoo, April 26-27, 2014
GreenFest is a two-day Earth Day event dedicated to celebrating wildlife and educating the community about environmental conservation. The Zoo-wide celebration includes earth-friendly crafts, an endangered species scavenger hunt, animal enrichment activities, zookeeper talks and exhibits by local conservation groups.

Photo courtesy of Binder Park Zoo

Photo courtesy of Binder Park Zoo

Kids FUNfari at Binder Park Zoo, July 12, 2014
Healthy kids and happy families is what Kids FUNfari is all about! Join Binder Park Zoo in this event focus on getting kids active and healthy! Kids FUNfari is also the Lemur Lap Fun Run.  All children entering the Zoo will receive a reusable “goodie bag” and can participate in fun activities and demonstrations throughout the Zoo.

Corks for Conservation at Binder Park Zoo, July 19, 2014
Corks for Conservation is a wine tasting event held on Saturday, July 19th from 6pm to 10pm at Binder Park Zoo. Enjoy the Zoo after-hours with live music, delicious hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, live animal presentations, and of course, wine from Michigan based wineries.

Have you visited a Michigan zoo? Tell us about your trip! 

Pure Michigan April 2014 Events Roundup

With a record-breaking winter behind us, it’s time to enjoy the springtime activities happening in Pure Michigan this April. Below is a roundup of some of the many events going on around the state next month. Visit michigan.org for a complete listing of events.

Week of March 31, 2014 – April 6, 2014

FoolMoonFool Moon
April 4, 2014, Ann Arbor
Join the Ann Arbor community in kicking off it’s FestiFools Festival with Fool Moon. Be mesmerized by the shadowy figures and luminous sculptures that travel on Washington Street from dusk to midnight. Fill up with some festival cuisine and enjoy the live music, shadow puppet performances and film projections.

Traverse City Boat and Outdoor Show
April 4, 2014 – April 6, 2014, Traverse City
With warm weather on the way (yes, hard to believe after the winter we’ve had!), it’s time to start thinking of different ways to enjoy our beautiful state. The Traverse City Boat Show features the hottest pontoons, ski boats, cruisers, fishing boats and personal watercraft models on the market. They’ve also got everything you need for you to begin boat ownership. While you’re there, enjoy some snacks and beverages available on-site.

Spring into Wings Arts & Crafts Show
April 4, 2014 – April 6, 2014, Kalamazoo
Looking to spruce up your home? The Kalamazoo Spring into Wings Arts and Crafts Show at the Wings Stadium is sure to have something for your garden and home décor needs. Parking and admission are free. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Wedding Inspirations Bridal Expo
April 6, 2014, Saginaw
Preparing for a wedding is such an exciting, yet busy process. There are dresses to buy, center arrangements to order and so many invites to send out. If wedding bells are in your future, then be sure to stop by the Wedding Inspirations Bridal Expo for the latest trends, products and services to make your big day one to remember.

Week of April 7, 2014 – April 13, 2014

john.ball.zooSpring Break Zoobilee
April 7, 2014 – April 11, 2014, Grand Rapids
Enjoy the improving weather with a trip to the John Ball Zoo for the Spring Break Zoobilee. Like us, the animals are ready to get moving this spring and are ready for visitors. This event includes animal demonstrations, talks and training exercises. There’s certainly enough fun and games for the whole family. Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for children.

 

St. Ignace Home Show and Spring Expo
April 11, 2014 – April 12, 2014, St. Ignace
After experiencing one of the most-harsh winters on the books, the Upper Peninsula is celebrating the arrival of Spring with the St. Ignace Home Show and Spring Expo. Whether you are looking for a new off-road vehicle or new furniture for your home excites you, this show has something for everyone. Hours are 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Home and Garden Show
April 11, 2014 – April 13, 2014, Escanaba
Back for another year of great remodeling ideas and home solutions, the Home and Garden Show is in Escanaba. Meet area contractors who can fulfil your remodeling needs and find the latest products for your home improvement needs. Make sure you come hungry because there is an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast and grilling demonstrations by Chef Tommy Fitzgerald.

Up North Lake & Cottage Show
April 11, 2014 – April 13, 2014, Traverse City
Is your place ‘up-north’ in need of some love? Give it a makeover thanks to the Traverse City ‘Up-North’ Lake & Cottage Show. There will be plenty of designers, decorators, landscapers, furniture outlets and unique retailers to give your home away from home the relaxing and stylish look you’ve always wanted.

Made in Michigan Craft/Product Show
April 12, 2014, Cadillac
For the die-hard Michiganders or if you’re visiting the mitten state for the first time, be sure to stop at the Made in Michigan Craft/Product Show in Cadillac. This show helps fuel the local economy and gives you the opportunity to take home something uniquely Michigan. Admission is free and the event begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m.

VegFest 2014
April 13, 2014, Novi
Metro Detroit’s premier vegan tastefest is back in town. VegFest 2014 will feature vegan cooking demonstrations by professional chefs, samples of national brands, eco-friendly products, cruelty-free fashion, activities for children and much more. Admission is free, so bring the whole family.

Week of April 14, 2014 – April 20, 2014

Lowell Spring Girls’ Night Out
April 17, 2014, Lowell
Join us in Historic Lowell for the spring Girls’ Night Out. Dress in your favorite look of the 60s. Enjoy shopping and refreshments as you stroll down the city streets. Get your GNO postcard punched and enter to win a grand shopping bag of Lowell town goodies.

Lansing Microbrew and Music Festival
April 18, 2014 – April 19, 2014, Lansing
Craft brew, music and culinary lovers will meet at the Lansing Microbrew & Music Festival scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 18 & 19, 2014, in downtown Lansing. Tickets include five ½ pint pours, custom glass, event features 50+ craft breweries from Michigan – representatives and brewers from each brewery – with a handful of carefully selected national brands, 300+ flavors of brews, wines, ciders and meads, live musical acts, marching bands, a silent disco DJ dance tent, and local food vendors. Festivities are scheduled to take place from 5-11pm daily, with an afternoon of educational activities and forums presented by brewers on Saturday from 12 noon – 4pm.

NMU School of Art and Design Winter 2014 Senior Exhibition
April 16, 2014 – May 2, 2014, Marquette
Graduating seniors present their work from all areas of the School of Art and Design including ceramics, drawing/painting, digital cinema, electronic imaging, furniture design, graphic communication, human centered design, illustration, jewelry/metals/blacksmithing, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and woodworking.

 Week of April 21, 2014 – April 30, 2014

ragtime2Zehnder’s Ragtime Festival
April 23, 2014 – April 26, 2014, Frankenmuth
Zehnder’s Restaurant Ragtime Festival. Special events include Vaudeville night, silent movies, sing-along, and dinner, lunch, and brunch concerts. Located at Zehnder’s Restaurant, 713 South Main Street-Frankenmuth. Join us for one or all. Prices vary. For more information call (800) 863-7999 or go to website link below.

National Trout Festival
April 23, 2014 – April 27, 2014, Kalkaska
This year’s Trout Festival runs April 23 – 27 and is in it’s 78th year. Typical events include fishing contests for both kids and grownups, a singing contest, several parades and much more for the whole family. (231) 384-1509.

Art Walk
April 25, 2014, Tecumseh
During the evening, downtown merchants will partner with area artists to bring art into downtown businesses. Merchants will offer extended hours and refreshments for the public to enjoy. Local artists will be on hand to greet people and talk about their work, which will range from pottery to photography to jewelry and more. 6-9pm. For additional information, click on the link or call (517) 424-6003.

shepherd.maple.syrup.festivalShepherd Maple Syrup Festival
April 24, 2014 – April 27, 2014, Shepherd
The village of Shepherd invites you to a great family weekend with parades, classic car display, carnival, tractor and horse pulls, bingo, arts & crafts and of course, scrumptious pancake meals all weekend long. The Festival is held the last full week of April each year–mark your calendar for a fun-filled weekend. For more information about the event, contact 989- 828-5422.

Expo in the Park
April 26, 2014, Howard City
Mark your calendar and save the date, because you are invited to the Montcalm County Panhandle Area Chamber of Commerce Expo in the Park, on Saturday April 26, 2014, from 10am-2pm, at Ensley Park in Howard City. Admission is free for all visitors. Make sure to stop by and browse all of the great booths, try some super delicious food, and enjoy the music and crafts.

Which events are you looking forward to this April? 

You’re Invited: Live Web Chat with Michigan-Native Comedian Sinbad

Mark your calendars! Next Thursday, February 20th at 12:00 noon ET, we’ll be chatting live with Michigan-native actor and comedian Sindbad.

Chat Live with Sinbad! This year, Sinbad will be performing at LaughFest in Grand Rapids - happening March 6 – 16, 2014. LaughFest is quickly becoming one of the nation’s “must attend” festivals, celebrating laughter for the health of it. Now in its fourth year, LaughFest features laughter in all forms including: comedy, live performance, improv, film, and a variety of other seriously funny stuff. Other LaughFest headliners include Jim Gaffigan, Jay Leno, Chris Tucker, and Jen Kirkman.

Sinbad will be with us to answer your questions about his career, his upcoming performance at LaughFest, his childhood in Michigan, and more!

To submit questions for Sinbad, leave them in the comments section below, on our Google+ or Facebook pages, or by using the hashtag #PureMichigan on Twitter. Then, tune in on Thursday right here on the blog! You’re also welcome to submit questions as the chat is happening.

What questions do you want to ask Sinbad?