by Jill P



Love the thought of camping, but not sure if you’re ready to jump into to the whole camping experience. We’ve tracked down some great opportunities that are close to home, but still filled with plenty of adventure. Check out one of these super fun local options today!


(photo courtesy of Binder Park Zoo)

Binder Park Zoo

Start planning your family’s summer fun now with a Family Overnight Safari at Binder Park Zoo! Family Overnights at the Zoo are packed full of adventure and family fun! In addition to games and planned activities, overnight guests get to see the Zoo when many others don’t—at night! An Overnight Safari at the Zoo is the perfect “staycation” getaway for families (children ages 6 and up) and offers lots of adventure! Binder Park Zoo is now accepting registrations for their 2015 Family and Group Overnights. Register now at

The overnight adventure begins aboard a zebra striped tram on a non-stop trip to Wild Africa! Once disembarked, the African Village awaits with the beckoning sounds of nature and authentic surroundings that will transport guests to a faraway land. While on safari, education staff will lead guests to camp through Zuri National Park, while enjoying fun games and planned activities, a live animal presentation and even a night hike! The next day, don’t forget to stop by Twiga Overlook and hand feed a giraffe! There’s even a chance to see some animals up close!

Dates and Pricing

Interested in learning more? The action-packed Family Overnight Safaris take place this summer on July 18th and August 15th and the adventure starts at just $45 per person! Programs begin at 6:00 pm and run until 11:00 am the next day and include themed overnight program, admission to the Zoo on the following day, live animal presentation, late night snack and continental breakfast, souvenir cup, souvenir patch (children only, adult patches available upon request) and a giraffe feeding or giraffe feeding coupon. Dinner is available for an additional $5 per person.


Registration is available online or registration forms may be printed off the website and mailed to Binder Park Zoo’s office – attention Education Overnights. Children must be accompanied by an adult and full payment is due with registration. For more information, please contact the Zoo at (269) 979-1351 or email Hannah Walsh at To register online, visit



Kalamazoo Nature Center

Another fun option is the Family Campout at the Kalamazoo Nature Center on August 29 and August 30.

Experience the excitement of a campout with the staff of KNC Camp! Enjoy food cooked over the campfire, go on a night hike in search of owls and constellations, sleep under the stars and wake up to a morning naturalist program. Try your hand at natural art, archery, Slip N Slide, play games, and have a ball. Make exploring the outdoors a family affair!

Dates and Pricing

The price is $35 for members and  $40 for non-members, per person (children under 3 area free). The fee includes: Saturday diner and Sunday breakfast, 2 tents per family (if needed), campers supply sleeping gear and personal items. (Some activities have age restrictions).

5:00 pm Check in
5:00-8:00 pm Dinner, Camp site setup
5:00 -8:00  pm Program & Activity Stations
8:00-10:00 pm Family free time, campfire with s’mores
10:00 pm Quiet hours begin

7:00 am  Quiet hours end
7:00 -9:00 am Continental breakfast
8:00-11:00 am Bird banding drop in program
9:00-11:00 am  Program & activity stations
11:00 am -12:00 pm  Break camp & Check out


Register online at:

family camping

Camping With Kalamazoo Park & Recreation

The Family Movie Camp Out with the Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation Department is on August 15 & 16. There will be family-friendly activities; a cook-out, campfire and the movie The Sandlot. And no camp out would be complete without s’mores! They have a limited amount of camping supplies for those that don’t have their own. So whether you’re seasoned campers or first-timers, join in on all the fun!

Dates and Pricing

The camping runs Saturday – Sunday, August 15 – 16 from 5:00 pm – 10:00 am at the Mayors’ Riverfront Park, 251 Mills Street, Kalamazoo, MI. The cost is $10 per family to camp. Meet at the pavilion. (Note: For families, there must be at least one adult (18 years or older) for every three children (under the age of 18) when camping.


Registration deadline is August 7. Contact the Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation Department at (269) 337-8191. A limited amount of camping supplies are available.


KZOOkids Tip

In our search for more information about camping, we reached out to Lee’s Adventure Sports in Portage. They rent tents for $20 for the first day and $5 for each additional day. The deposit is $200. Plus, for other seasons, they rent alpine skis, cross-country skis, snowshoes, backpacks, kayaks, canoes, and more! Good to know!


Hope you have a great time with one of these family experiences! 




By | 2015-06-24T05:59:44+00:00 June 24th, 2015|Categories: Around Kalamazoo, Kids, Newly Published|Comments Off on Three Camping Adventures Close To Home- Binder Park Zoo, KNC, and More!

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.