Binder Park Zoo
Gibbon at Binder Park Zoo.
|Location||Battle Creek, Michigan, United States|
|Land area||433 acres (175 ha)|
|No. of animals||600|
|No. of species||140|
|Major exhibits||Wild Africa|
The Binder Park Zoo is a 433-acre (175 ha) zoo that opened in 1977 near Battle Creek, Michigan, in the United States. Binder Park Zoo is one of the largest zoos in Michigan, and features a large array of animals and plants, including the Wild Africa Exhibit. It includes a train, a tram, a carousel, and Wildlife Discovery Theatre.
Main Zoo Area
The main zoo area features animal exhibits including prairie dogs, a new snow leopard exhibit with a Viewing Area and Interpretive Center inside a yurt, red panda, wild horses, and red kangaroo. Also located in the main zoo is the Miller Children's Zoo, gift shop, Z.O. & O. Railroad station, the Binda Conservation Center, a restaurant, a 0.8-mile (1.3 km) habitat boardwalk called Swamp Adventure, and the new Conservation Carousel.
Miller Children's Zoo
Binder Park Zoo features an award winning exhibit aimed at children in which many of the animals can be interacted with. Children's Zoo features goats, llamas, sheep, and other small domestic animals. There is also a small dinosaur area with a large brachiosaurus sculpture and play areas.
The Wild Africa Exhibit at Binder Park Zoo is a permanent exhibit featuring giraffes, zebras, ostriches, stork, and antelope. This award winning exhibit allows the animals to roam, cage free, in an 18-acre (7.3 ha), savanna-like setting, very similar to how they might be viewed in the wild. To get a closer view, there is a one way, 0.8-mile (1.3 km) loop that begins and ends in a small African themed village, selling souvenirs and food and beverages. The trail itself is themed to resemble a trail inside an African National Park complete with a ranger station and fake poachers. Along the trail there is an opportunity to feed giraffes at the Twiga Overlook. Park visitors view the giraffes from a raised platform that places them at eye level with the animals. Leaves of romaine lettuce that are available for purchase can be placed in the palm of your hand where the giraffes will retrieve them with their 18-inch (460 mm) tongues. Other species are included in savanna settings, a walk-through aviary, and other small exhibits. Some of which include African wild dogs, colobus monkeys, black mangabeys, and a forest farm featuring several African domestic animals.
The Wild Africa Exhibit is located away from the main zoo exhibits at the west end, accessible by a free zebra-patterned tram, or a 0.5-mile (0.80 km) walking path.
In 2006, "Crunch," a 150-year-old, 165 lb alligator snapping turtle was on exhibit at Binder Park Zoo at the Conservation Discovery Center building from Memorial day to Labor day. The turtle is in the care of the Blackwater Turtle Refuge.
During the summer of 2008, there were numerous births at the zoo to animals that are or have been listed as endangered species. In June 2008, there was the birth of a female snow leopard cub and three trumpeter swan cygnets. This was followed by the August birth of a female addra gazelle.
Each June, the zoo hosts a 5k run called the Cheetah Chase. Participants can choose between a 5k run, 5k walk, or a fun run for those 10 and under. The race course winds through the zoo and offers panoramic views of the African savannah along the way.