A sure sign that spring has arrived is when Binder Park Zoo opens for the season! Wednesday, April 17 is the day when members and guests are invited to “spring into the zoo” and say hello to the animals, enjoy the rides, see what’s new in the restaurants and gift shops and celebrate a fun day at the zoo!
“Everyone, including the animals, is ready to shake off the long winter and embrace being outdoors again! We’ve been busy preparing exhibits, moving animals from their winter quarters, and polishing up the park in order to roll out the red carpet for our guests” states Diane Thompson, President and CEO. “It’s one of our favorite times of the year!”
Visitors will see some new faces at the zoo this season – eleven of them to be exact. A litter of African painted dog pups- seven males and four females were born in late November at the zoo and the young pack will be on exhibit in Wild Africa. The African painted dog habitat has three viewing opportunities for guests to watch them romp, play and interact with each other. “Their successful birth was the result of a Species Survival Plan (SSP) breeding recommendation”, states Kathryn Sippel, Curator of Collections at the zoo, “and it’s a significant contribution towards conservation of the species. The African painted dog is the most endangered carnivore in Africa and Binder Park Zoo is the only facility in Michigan where guests can see this rare species.” Sippel adds, “They are endlessly entertaining to watch and we expect them to be immensely popular because really, who doesn’t love a pack of puppies?”
A full schedule of special events kicks off with Mother’s Day on May 12 and a new twist on Father’s Day, June 16 called “Hops with Pops” – a one day, tap take-over featuring craft beer stations inside the zoo. The Cheetah Chase 5K follows on June 22 (registration is open now) and the Corks for Conservation wine festival on July 12. A complete list of events can be found at www.binderparkzoo.org.
Fun learning opportunities for youngsters include Safari Day Camps, F.A.W.N. playgroups and Birthday Parties that happen at the zoo, and the popular zoo overnight programs attract families and groups from all around the state for a truly unique experience. Registration details can be found at www.binderparkzoo.org.
An annual zoo membership is the best to enjoy the zoo all season long. Levels for individuals, couples, families and grandparents all include a host of benefits like discounts for several popular education programs, and gift shops discounts. Members also receive reciprocal admission discounts at over 150 AZA (Association of Zoos & Aquariums) zoos and aquariums across the country. Also, for the month of May, zoo members can take advantage of the popular Southwest Michigan Cultural Membership Exchange and visit six area destinations for free. Find out more at www.swmimemberexchange.com.
Binder Park Zoo opens for the season on April 17 with daily hours of 10am-4pm through April 30. Beginning May 1 through Labor Day hours are Monday through Friday 9am – 5pm, Saturday 9am – 6pm, Sun 11am – 6pm. Plan your visit to the zoo at www.binderparkzoo.org. Like and follow Binder Park Zoo on Facebook and Instagram! See you at the zoo!