If you’re anything like me, then you’re definitely looking to get your kids out of the house this summer. One of our favorite things to do as a family is to go to the zoo. But, the same zoo over and over again can get old, quick. So, I put together a list of some of the best (and lesser known) zoos and aquariums around metro Detroit. My family enjoys taking day trips to these other zoos to take advantage of their awesome attractions!
Belle Isle Aquarium | Detroit
Belle Isle is such a cool little gem right here in our own backyard! I admit, I just went to the aquarium for the first time a couple summers ago once it opened after the remodel. I was blown away! It’s small but holds so much history. I work in architecture, so the fact that this aquarium was designed by world-famous Detroit architect Albert Kahn is another reason why I adore this little place.
It opened in 1904, making it the oldest aquarium in the country! Right here in Detroit! Travel downtown to see the renovations, which include an enhanced visitor experience and upgraded exhibits. Check out all the island has to offer while you’re there!
Binder Park Zoo | Battle Creek
The Binder Park Zoo has amazing interactive programs. The zoo advocates for wildlife and is a very conservation-minded organization. They have a wide variety of animals such as lions, black bears, and giraffes. Browse their website to check out their overnight programs and summer day camp options.
The Creature Conservancy | Ann Arbor
The Creature Conservancy in Ann Arbor is a great place for a private event! Private tours and gatherings are available for advance registration. They do have weekend open hours that are available for the general public.
The Conservancy also has an awesome Featured Animal Program that changes every month, so they’re always offering something new. Browse their educational programs and virtual event options. They also offer summer camps that offer hands-on opportunities with exotic animals.
Potter Park Zoo | Lansing
Potter Park Zoo is a “Certified Sensory Inclusive Zoo.” They were the first zoo in Michigan to achieve this certification by KultureCity. This allows staff to assist visitors with sensory sensitivities. They even have sensory bags for guests to check out free of charge.
Sometimes, visiting the zoo can be overwhelming for individuals who have issues with sensory regulation. Along with the other programs, they host FLACONERS program, which focuses on accommodating visitors with these needs. Be sure to check their calendar of events to see what they have planned. On Sunday, June 18th they are celebrating Father’s Day. All Dads get free admission!
The Reptarium | Utica
A zoo just for reptiles! This is one of the most interactive zoos I’ve ever been to. The Reptarium allows visitors to get hands-on with their collection of reptiles including snakes, alligators, tortoises, lizards, and more. This location only allows a limited number of guests per time slot, so be sure to book your tickets and plan your day ahead of time! Every ticket allows for one hour of access to the entire zoo. It’s the perfect place for any reptile lover.
Saginaw Children’s Zoo | Saginaw
The Saginaw Zoo has some great teacher resources! From coloring to animal track and word find activities, they have plenty of options to keep your class busy. Be sure to check out their latest craft offerings and regularly updated Pinterest Board where they give teachers and parents plenty of awesome activity ideas!
With a fun train ride, visitors can experience a wide variety of endangered species and rescued wildlife. The Saginaw Zoo also has a beautiful walk-through aviary attraction right by their Australian Outback location.
SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium | Auburn Hills
One of the only places in Michigan where kids can see sharks, jellyfish, and stingrays! Head to Great Lakes Crossing to shop, but be sure to stop by the awesome aquarium. Kids will get to see feeding demonstrations, shipwreck exhibits, and play in the interactive touchpool! Be sure to buy tickets before you go–all tickets must be purchased online ahead of time. They also offer add-on packages and photo opportunities to make the most of your trip.
Wilderness Trails Zoo | Birch Run
This zoo has attractions for all ages! From petting areas to parakeet encounters, a reptile sanctuary, and playgrounds–this zoo has it all. You can even have your birthday at the zoo! Wilderness Trails also offers birthday party packages that include pavilions, admission for up to 30 guests, and sponsoring an animal.
You can even join their Future Zoo Camp Crew. This camp is a fun, educational experience for all children. Attendees will learn about animals, participate in enrichment for the animals they’re learning about, and go on guided tours.
Metro Detroit has so much to offer when it comes to summer fun for you and your family. Make the most of the sunshine and the time off of school by visiting one of these awesome zoos and aquariums!