Wednesday, June 29, 2011

West Michigan for Kids- Binder Park Zoo

Feeding the giraffe
Shannon and I had the treat of visiting Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek last week. I am a fan of zoos and animals in general, so you can imagine my excitement leading up to this glorious day.

Binder Park Zoo sits on 433 acres of wildlife preserve and is not your typical zoo. One of the main attractions is the Wild Africa exhibit which houses animals you would typically see on an African Safari. In order to get to the exhibit, visitors must take a five-minute tram ride through the lush woods of the zoo.  Once there, you step off the tram and are immersed in African culture in an African-esque village. As you stroll through the village you will find clipboards lying around that look like people have been taking notes, but these really have facts written on them that are easy for kids to read and learn little facts and tid-bits about the animals. If you keep following the trail you will stumble upon the Twiga Overlook, which just happened to be my favorite part! Here, you look out into a beautiful open field filled with zebras, ostriches, and giraffes. The best part? You can feed the giraffes! This was the first encounter I have ever had with a giraffe, and let me tell you it was memorable. I held my piece of lettuce out for one of the giraffes to eat and without hesitation, the largest one stuck his long grey tongue out, wrapped itself around the stalk and took it right back in. The whole act of being able to feed a giraffe is addicting and I could have been entertained by it for hours; unfortunately we were on quite a schedule so we had to make our way onward.

We followed the path through the rest of the exhibit where we saw all different kinds of birds, monkeys, goats, chickens, and bulls all nestled throughout the one mile, wooded engulfed, elevated boardwalk.

We took the tram back down to the main area where we proceeded to see peacocks roaming freely, cheetahs, kangaroos, and prairie dogs (one of my other favorites).

Educational programming
Not only are the animal exhibits fascinating, but some of the greatest parts about the Binder Park Zoo are the educational programs they offer. These programs allow children to explore of the wonders of wildlife and conservation through interactive age appropriate programming. Dedicated to creating experiences that foster a sense of wonder, share knowledge, and advocate active involvement with wildlife and wild places, these programs are available for groups and individuals ages 18 months and up.

The zoo is a seasonal attraction and is open until October 2, 2011. However, the zoo does host a variety of off-season events including the Great Zoo Boo in October!

On July 4 the zoo is hosting another great event for kids called Animal Play Days: Watermelon Madness.  Could you fit a whole watermelon in your belly? Some animals in the zoo can! Who will be the fastest? Enjoy seeing the juice run down the chins of your favorite animals as they chomp on watermelons in the summer sun.

Make sure to add Binder Park Zoo to your “must see in West Michigan” list. It is fun for kids of all ages!

7400 Division Drive
Battle Creek, MI 49014

1 comment:

TheTravelAngel said...

I was pleasantly surprised with Binder Park Zoo. I put it on my itinerary because it was the only zoo in the state with cheetahs, but I discovered it had so much more to offer.


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