by Jill P



A significant donation has been given to Binder Park Zoo totaling $50,000 from Consumers Energy. This donation is to support the African tented camp project that the Zoo plans to add to Wild Africa later this year.


(picture courtesy of Binder Park Zoo)


New Tented Camp Addition

The new tented camp addition is part of the $3 million dollar “Lions, Tortoise & Bears…Oh My!” capital campaign that the Zoo publically announced in June 2014.

“We are extremely grateful to Consumers Energy for this donation,” states Diane Thompson, Binder Park Zoo President & CEO. “The new tented camps are going to provide families with a very enriching overnight experience and we are thrilled to be able to provide this opportunity, but we couldn’t have come this far in this campaign without the support of businesses like Consumers Energy.”

In addition to the tented camps, the capital campaign also includes the highly anticipated African lion exhibit slated for 2016, the new American Black Bear exhibit which opened in 2014, and the giant Aldabra tortoise exhibit which opened in 2013 and was funded by Bob and Ellie DeVries.

“The camp is designed to be an authentic African safari experience. We want kids from all over who may never have the opportunity to visit Africa, to get a chance to experience the sights and sounds of an authentic safari. Imagine waking up and stepping out on your private deck to see giraffe and zebra wandering out over the African savanna,” states Thompson.


Representatives from Consumers Energy presented Binder Park Zoo staff with a check for $50,000 to go towards the African tented camp project – pictured from left Carolyn Bloodworth (Consumers Energy), Diane Thompson (Binder Park Zoo), Ronnie Coleman (Consumers Energy), Leslie Walsh (Binder Park Zoo).


An Authentic African Safari Experience

While the Zoo has offered overnight experiences for many years, this donation from Consumers Energy, for the new tented camps, will provide participants with an authentic African safari experience. Now, rather than staying the night in the dining area of the Kalahari Kitchen, guests will be able to spend the night in a tented camp that would be traditionally found on excursion in Africa. The tented camp will be situated along the 18-acre savanna in the Wild Africa portion of the Zoo, and will be complete with bunk beds and a nearby shower facility! The addition of the Joe & Clara Stewart Zamani School will take the overnight programs to a new level with many more educational opportunities. To learn more about the “Lions, Tortoise, & Bears…Oh My!” capital campaign visit:


About Binder Park Zoo

Over 7,000,000 people have visited Binder Park Zoo and an additional 500,000 have been served through outreach programs since was established in 1975. It is located outside of Battle Creek, Michigan, on 433 acres of natural forests and wetlands.

In the past 38 years, the Zoo has grown to be one of the leading cultural attractions in the region. It was created on the model of an entrepreneurial self-supporting nonprofit organization, and is managed by a zoological society board of directors to “nurture empathy, understanding, and conservation of nature.”

In the last twenty years a conservation education center, a 40-acre natural wetlands exhibit, the 50-acre Wild Africa exhibit, and Conservation Carousel have been added to the original 80-acre zoo. Binder Park Zoo serves over 60,000 people annually in 30 different types of formal education programs and is heavily involved in conservation of wildlife and natural habitats on five continents. In cooperation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and others, Binder Park Zoo is actively working to conserve a wide array of endangered species both at the Zoo and worldwide.


***Note: Information for the article was provided by Binder Park Zoo.




By | 2015-04-06T07:40:38+00:00 April 6th, 2015|Categories: Around Kalamazoo, Newly Published, Parent resources|Comments Off on New Tented Camp Addition Planned For Binder Park Zoo

About the Author:

Jill is a mom of a busy 9 year old son. When not working the website, Jill likes to hike, cook, and read in her free time.