Binder Park Zoo is Over 400 Acres of WOW
Local favorite Binder Park Zoo is gearing up for their 2022 season and we have the scoop on the best exhibits, summer camps, special events and overnight activities to try.
Open since 1977, this 430-acre zoo continues to add new exhibits and expand its activities for visitors. Their latest exhibit, Zoorasic Park, debuted in the fall of 2021.
Binder Park Zoo opens its doors on May 1, 2022 for the season. Before you pack up the family to visit, use this guide to plan your next animal adventure:
In this guide:
Plan Your Visit
Where is Binder Park Zoo?
Binder Park Zoo is located in Southwest Michigan, in the city of Battle Creek. It’s about a thirty-minutes east of Kalamazoo or just over an hour southeast of Grand Rapids.
Is Binder Park Zoo Open all Year Round?
The zoo is open seasonally, from spring through fall. In 2022, Binder Park Zoo is open seven days a week starting May 1, 2022, through October 30, 2022.
|2022 Zoo Hours|
|Weekdays (M-F): 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM|
|Saturdays: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM|
|Sundays: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM|
How much does Binder Park Zoo cost?
Prices vary from $13.75 to $15.75 per day for visitors. Children under two are free, and military and AAA discounts are available.
Have a membership with another zoo? Your entry may be discounted. Check on AZA reciprocal agreements online or call ahead to confirm.
Parking at the zoo is FREE for members and $3 for ticketed guests.
|2022 Admission Rates|
|Seniors (65+): $14.75|
|Children (2-10): $13.75|
|Children (under 2): FREE|
|Binder Park Zoo Members: FREE (ID required)|
|John Ball Zoo Members: 50% discount (ID required)|
|Military: 50% discount (Military ID required)|
|AAA Member: 10% discount (ID required)|
What to Pack
Before you head out to Binder Park Zoo, we suggest bringing the following:
- Bug Spray
- Stroller or Wagon
- Cash (for giraffes) and quarters (for goats)
- Comfortable walking shoes
10 Things to Do at Binder Park Zoo
Every inch of Binder Park offers an experience. Sloths, lions, bears, cheetahs, giraffes, and crested guineafowls are among the over 40 species here.
Here’s our top 10 things to do during your visit to Binder Park Zoo:
1 – Visit Wild Africa
Wild Africa in Binder Park Zoo is a massive, beautiful space and is home to many of our favorite animals.
If you’re visiting on a weekend or holiday, we recommend coming here FIRST and then visiting the rest of the zoo. The lines for the Wilderness Tram can fill quickly, leaving you to wait for the next one (or two) to arrive.
No detail is spared in Zuri National Park in Wild Africa. Here you’ll find safari jeeps, huts and other artifacts to add to your experience.
What is the Wilderness Tram? Can you Walk Instead?
The Wilderness Tram is like an open bus ride that transports you to Wild Africa. We recommend this route over walking if you’re visiting with kids. The walk is over a mile long with uneven terrain and can be difficult for little legs to manage. Rides are FREE.
The zebra striped tram is also wheelchair accessible. If you brought a stroller or wagon, a staff member will place them in an attached trailer. Be prepared to empty it and climb aboard with kids and your belongings.
Favorite Animals in Wild Africa
Arguably the biggest highlight in Africa is Twiga Outlook, where you can feed the giraffes.
Romaine lettuce snacks are $2 per piece or $8 for five pieces. These beautiful animals are very friendly and will happily take as much lettuce as you offer.
Al the Aldabra Tortoise
At approximately 85 years young (we don’t know his exact birthdate), this giant tortoise is a local favorite at Binder Park Zoo. A Binder resident since 1984, this 600 pound gentle giant is usually found on his patio or inside his habitat.
African Lions & African Wild Dogs
Lions are relative newcomers to Binder Park, having opened their exhibit in July of 2017. Their exhibit is located next to the African wild dogs.
Cheetahs have a long history with Binder Park Zoo, dating back to 1988. Their current residents are sisters Katie, Madison, and Mohini who have been there since 2015.
Visitor Tip: The sisters are often spotted on the shady upper slope of the exhibit, so be sure to look up to see them!
2 – Ride the Binda Conservation Carousel
The carousel at Binder Park Zoo includes 36 custom carved and painted animals for the zoo- some are even Wolverine or Spartan fans!
Rides are $3 (cash or card) and a fun break while exploring the zoo. Snacks are also available for purchase here (we recommend the giant pretzels).
3 – See the Dinosaurs at the new Zoorasic Park
Zoorasic Park brings some prehistoric fun to Binder Park Zoo, featuring a variety of dinosaurs including Triceratops, Spinosaurus, Tyrannosaurs Rex and Stegosaurus.
There is no addtional fee to visit the dinosaurs; they are included with general admission to Binder Park.
This permanent exhibit opened in the fall of 2021, as part of Lowe’s 100 Hometowns projects.
4 – Ride the ZO&O Railroad
Take a 1.5-mile scenic ride on this vintage 1963 CP Huntington train, known as the ZO&O Railroad.
Visitors ride along in an open car pulled by a small locomotive as it takes you on a relaxing loop around part of the zoo. Rides are $3 per person.
5 – Take a Photo with the Giant Bear Statue
You will find this massive bear at the entrance to the American Black Bear exhibit; this towering statue provides a perfect photo op for families.
After your Kodak moment, be sure to visit the bears. Binder Park Zoo has three siblings that were orphaned as cubs in Alaska: brothers Achak and Koko and their sister, Taima. The three are frequently seen wrestling with each other and splashing in their pool.
6 – Visit the Snow Leopard Encounter
Binder Park Zoo is home to two snow leopards: Victoria and Raj. While Raj has lived at the zoo for many years, Victoria joined the Binder family in October of 2019 as part of the Species Survival Plan.
Raj is clearly a Michigander as he has been known to predict football games:
7 – Stay Hydrated During your Visit with Refill Stations
Binder has strategically placed water fountain/fill stations along all of their paths, keeping you fueled during your visit.
8 – Stay Overnight at the Zoo
After a covid break, zoo overnights are back! The zoo offers both group overnights (for scouts and other organized groups) and family overnight stays.
Each stay at the zoo includes an animal presentation, night hike, themed activities and next-day admission.
Binder Park Zoo’s overnight stays are offered Fridays and Saturdays from May 13 to September 17, 2022.
9 – Attend a Summer Camp
Binder Park welcomes campers each summer to learn about animals, conservation and plant life at the zoo.
The 2022 summer camp runs Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM for children entering first through seventh grades.
10 – Visit Reptile Weekend + More Special Events at the Zoo
Think reptiles are scary? This annual two day event for all ages is designed to replace the myths and fears that people sometimes have about reptiles with understanding and respect.
Reptile Weekend typically takes place the first weekend in August.
For more special events at Binder Park Zoo, (including evening events just for adults!) check their calendar:
More Must-See Animals
Binder Park Zoo is PACKED with amazing animals across its campus. Here are some more of our favorites:
Mexican Gray Wolves
A wolf family lives at Binder Park Zoo, with dad Flynn, mom Izzy and daughter Luchadora. The trio received a massive upgrade to their exhibit in 2021 with the opening of the Dr. Edward Drew & Dr. Pamela-Buitendorp-Drew Wolf Den.
Binder Park Zoo has been working with Mexican gray wolves since 1992.
Where to Find This Exhibit: This new wolf den is near the bald eagles and bears in North America. You can also watch this exhibit on Wolf Watch, a live zoo cam.
Tushar the Red Panda has his own exhibit, where he normally is resting on his log.
Where to Find This Exhibit: Tushar’s exhibit is located near the carousel, next door the prairie dogs. If you don’t see him, look inside the giant hollow log on the ground (he often naps inside).
African Pygmy Goats
Bring quarters for the goats so you can feed them; you’ll quickly discover a hungry (yet friendly) crew.
Guests may notice that one member of the herd is quite a bit larger than the others. That’s because “Norm,” the lone zebu cattle at the zoo, has joined the herd. Norm is embracing his inner goat and enjoying the new companionship as a new, honorary member of the Harry Potter herd.
You can feed both the goats and Norm at Binder Park. Goat feed is fifty cents per portion.
Where to Find This Exhibit: The goats (and Norm) are back in the East Zoo in an exhibit just west of the Binda Conservation Carousel.
Binder Park Zoo Memberships
If you become a zoo regular (and who wouldn’t?), consider purchasing an annual membership. A membership with the zoo provides free admission for a year, plus reciprocal discounts at other zoos.
Binder Park Zoo is also a participating member of the Southwest Michigan Cultural Exchange. During the entire month of October 2022, zoo members can visit five other cultural institutions for free.
More Zoos in Michigan
The mitten offers many places to visit furry, scaly or feathery friends. After visiting Binder Park Zoo, add these to your list:
More to Explore