by Jill P and Julie S
Calling all miniature “Dolittles” and animal lovers! We’ve compiled a list of places you will definitely want to bring your animal lovers.
*This article has been updated for 2017.
PLACES TO SEE ANIMALS
7400 Division Drive, Battle Creek, MI | (269) 979-1351
What kind of list would be complete without our very own local gem of a zoo? Binder Park Zoo boasts a spectacular African savannah, complete with zebras, cheetahs, giraffes, and much more! A highlight of the experience here is the feeding station where you can get up close and personal with the giraffes.
The zoo also features many other themed areas, including a barn yard and petting zoo. Don’t forget to feed the hungry goats! The zoo is fairly spread out, so be prepared to walk and bring strollers for the little ones. Also, don’t forget that Binder Park Zoo has a new lion exhibit.
6255 N. 1000 W, Shipshewana, IN | (260) 768-7194 ext. 2
Here’s a great family day trip idea! Located in Shipshewana, Indiana, this farm features a wide array of animals to feed and pet. From antelopes to camels, reindeer to zebras, and everything in between, you will have a chance to see animals that you may have never seen before!
One of our KZOOkids friends offered some helpful tips such as: bring cash for extra feed for the animals, wear shoes that can get dirty, and bring extra hand sanitizer and hand wipes. One of the big attractions there is the horse-drawn wagon ride where the larger animals come right up to the wagon to eat from you!
5815 S M-66 Hwy, Nashville, MI | (517) 852-9003
What could be better than playing with adorable farm animals? Playing with them after you eat your ice cream of course! MOO-ville is located in a quiet, rural setting in Nashville, and best of all, it’s free! The kids can enjoy the petting farm, farm toys, and giant sand box in the play yard, and especially nice is that the farm is special needs accessible. This local treat is definitely one that should be at the top of your summer to-do list!
9275 Adams Street, Zeeland, MI | (616) 748-1110
This donation only farm in Holland is a wonderful reason to hop in the car and make the short drive over to them. You will find a pot-bellied pig (a kid favorite!), horses, donkeys, ducks, and more! Don’t forget to spot the little lambs! Check out their website for frequent updates to their event calendar, who knows when they will be in your neighborhood with their Critters on Wheels program!
1698 M-66, Athens, MI | (269) 729-4802
This is definitely one of the places I can absolutely not wait to take my kids to! The sanctuary houses hundreds of rescued reptiles that are able to live peacefully and comfortably for the remainder of their lives. The sanctuary participates with many local schools and educational programs, and none of the animals are ever traded or sold.
There are many different wilderness habitats set up over many acres of land. Check out the alligators, tortoises, lizards, and even birds and fish. Come prepared to get up close and personal with the creatures and even feed them!
112 Spring St., Three Rivers, MI | (269) 273-1845
Make the short drive to Three Rivers to check out a whole menagerie of animals that love attention! You can see llamas (one of my personal favorites!), python snakes, pot-bellied pigs, and much more! I can’t wait to go pet the rabbits and hedgehogs!
This smaller scale zoo would be a perfect morning or afternoon getaway, especially for little ones who might not be up for a long day at the zoo. Make sure you get some good photos when you visit and make sure to send a few our way! Note: they are just open on weekends, so plan accordingly.
Market Barn, 357 W. E Ave, Kalamazoo, MI | (269) 381-1574
Visit Lacey the Haflinger horse, Neo the pig, and all your farmyard favorites this summer and weekends through September in their new location behind the Market Barn, 357 W. E Ave. This is a great place to quickly find some animals to see up close to Kalamazoo.
8313 Pratt Lake SE Alto, MI | (616) 868-6711
This park is for those who are looking for a day trip that’s a little longer drive from Kalamazoo. I would estimate that it’s about an hour and fifteen minutes from Kalamazoo and is off the beaten path. Boulder Ridge currently cares for nearly 1,500 individual animals representing 157 species. The park boasts a distinct collection of exotic animals and reptiles, and the variety and dynamic atmosphere. There are places to get up close to the animals and even feed them. Or you can take a tour (hop on a re-purposed school bus) to see the exotic animals such as ostriches, bisons and many other wild animals.
12685 E C Ave, Augusta | (269) 671-2510
Explore their 3 miles of trails and experience a variety of habitats surrounding Wintergreen Lake, the heart of the Sanctuary grounds. Visitors will see a variety of birds that call the Sanctuary home. Waterfowl, game birds, and raptors are on display year-round. Do not bring in food to feed the waterfowl. Corn is available for purchase in the Resource Center for $1 per bucket.
photo courtesy of John Ball Zoo
And of course, you may want to check out these great zoos in Michigan. Some are a little further away, but worth the drive:
Do you have any favorite places to see animals that we may have missed? Let us know in the comment section below.