An extraordinary experience awaits a group of Girl Scouts, parents and chaperones this weekend at Binder Park Zoo as they explore Traditions of Africa at the zoo during a special Overnight Safari program. The curriculum for this overnight topic was developed in a unique collaboration between Binder Park Zoo and the African Studies Center of Michigan State University to provide a hands-on, immersive opportunity for guests to explore some of the cultures as well as the diverse wildlife of Africa through games, song, food, stories, crafts, animal encounters and other activities. Participants were registered in advance to attend this program that begins Saturday evening on August 24 and runs through Sunday morning August 25 at the Joe & Clara Stewart Tented Camp & Zamani School in Wild Africa. The program was created with input from students at MSU who hail from countries in Africa under the guidance of the African Studies Center and the Zoo Education staff at Binder Park Zoo. MSU staff and students will join the guests for part of the evening to help guide the program and provide their unique perspectives. The goal to build a meaningful and authentic experience that celebrates cultural diversity and teaches respect and understanding, dovetails with the zoo’s mission of conservation to:Connect. Inspire. Conserve. Connect people to nature. Inspire them to conserve. The immersive Wild Africa exhibit provides the ideal setting to deliver these messages in a vibrant and exciting way.
Dedicated in September of 2016, the tented camp consists of eight individual structures that face the 18-acre savanna exhibit. Modeled after authentic, African safari camps, each can accommodate up to eight guests with two tents. The adjacent Zamani School provides community space for fellowship, meals and programs. Binder Park Zoo offers a variety of year round overnight programs for families, scouts, clubs, schools and other groups through their education department. For additional information, visit www.binderparkzoo.org.