5 Unique Ways to Play at Michigan’s Zoos

Michigan’s zoos are home to unique animals from around the world, but they also offer a variety of interactive and enriching experiences for you and your family to go wild and make unforgettable memories.

A woman feeding a giraffe from a viewing platform.
Binder Park Zoo | Photo Courtesy of Bob Stefko

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Go Eye-to-Eye at Feeding Time

At the Detroit Zoo, the giraffe feeding experience is open for the season between late spring and early fall. An elevated viewing platform that overlooks the giraffe habitat and brings guests to eye level with nature’s tallest land animal at the zoo. For an extra-special experience, try a Nocturnal Adventure – where you get to explore the zoo after dark – or a private breakfast with your favorite animal.

Explore the Zoo Under the Stars

There are a variety of special events after the sun goes down at Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Michigan’s oldest zoo. Warm weather brings Sundown Safaris where you can go on a guided tour, enjoy an evening snack by the campfire and spend the night outdoors. When cooler weather arrives, visit to see an array of twinkling displays at Wonderland of Lights. You can also plan a fun night with friends at the happy hour-inspired event, Zoo Nights, which features local food, craft beverages and yard games. 

​​Peer Behind the Scenes

John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids invites guests to meet the animals that are not on exhibit. Feed the penguins (with the Close Encounter Penguin Program), view marine creatures like sharks in their habitats and touch a colorful sea star. Visit the African savannah – home to bongos, warthogs and hornbills – where the animals spend their time away from the public and see the exhibit the way the animals do.

Always On the Move

At Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, you can explore the zoo while taking time to relax with your family. Take a ride on the Z.O. & O Railroad, a miniature and vintage locomotive that takes visitors through a nature area. To get a unique view of the animals of the Wild Africa exhibit, hop aboard the zebra-striped Wilderness Tram. The zoo offers even more entertainment with the Binda Conservation Carousel or tackle the exciting Skylark Ridge ropes course.

Michigan’s zoos have even more events and special experiences for visitors to enjoy. Check their events calendars before you visit for more unique and wild adventures.