This is kind of a mini blog post on my visit to the Detroit Zoo in Michigan. I'm calling it a "mini blog post" because it was my first visit there and I am sure there is much more to discover than what I have learned so far and will be sharing in this post. But, I felt it was worth the time since it was a great visit!
First, the Detroit Zoo is large so you might want to make sure you go in with a plan. Check out the website (http://www.detroitzoo.org/) and park map to figure out what the most important sites are to you. I actually printed the park map that was online (see below) and outlined our day. We didn't see everything and we were there for nearly 5 hours!! That's an extremely long time when it comes to my fussy 4 year old!
The Detroit Zoo does offer some discounts so do your research before going. I found out that my local zoo membership gave me a 50% discount due to the reciprocal list for zoo members (that I mentioned in my previous blog on Binder Park Zoo). Parking was not free but only cost $5 for our SUV. We paid for that at the entrance with our admission. FYI - we parked on the 3rd floor of the parking ramp which was perfect for the walk-way they have to get down.
The website may also tell you days and time of special events that you might want to check out But, a good time to ask is at the entrance when you are purchasing your tickets. Here is a sign I found while checking out the Penguins.
NOTE: Giraffe feedings are something that you need to plan for. The website will give you the details but I can tell you a couple of things. You have to buy a ticket when you pay for admission to the zoo. There are only 50 people allowed in per feeding time and I'm not sure how many feedings they offer a day. It looked like a fun opportunity but since we have already done this at Binder Park Zoo we opted out.
We saw these at many of the animal stops. I wasn't really sure what they were for until we saw a little girl use one. So, I asked her mom about it. Apparently you can buy a "key" at the gift store near the entrance. It only costs a couple of dollars. When you use your key at each station it tells you about the animal in a fun way. And, when it is done telling you in English, it repeats it in many other languages! Of course we were already near the end of our zoo visit so we didn't buy any but I would next time. I was told they are good through the season if you are a repeat visitor or know someone else who might want to use it...
Okay, there is a ton of walking to do!!! So they offer a train that will take you from the beginning to the end of the park and back. The cost to ride is $3 per person each way. We planned our day at the park so we would end on the far side and have the train take us back to the entrance. The kids LOVED the train ride and were really happy to be off their feet for a while! Oh, for $8 you can have your child ride with the conductor and they get a hat. A parent must be with them so you might have to pay another $8 but I'm not sure.
And there is plenty of stroller space on the train!
I mentioned that there is plenty of space on the train for strollers (and wagons) but I thought I should also mention this. If you plan to check-out any of the many indoor exhibits most of them will not allow you to bring in your stroller /wagon. There are places where you can park them outside of the entrance. Of course you have to hope that no one takes anything while it is there. Also, the exits are generally in a totally different section of the building so you will need to find your way back to get your items.
I thought I would share a few pictures of some sites you may see while visiting:
|There is a beautiful butterfly exhibit!|
|My son had to have his picture taken in front of this.|
|Giraffes - we didn't feed them but still had a great view of them!|
|This was in the Polar Bear Exhibit.|
|This was awesome!|
|They swim right over you!|
Each summer they appear to have a special exhibit so you will want to check out what that is. This summer it was all about dinosaurs and it couldn't have been more perfect for my little ones!!! It was like walking through Jurassic Park! You paid extra for this ($4 per person at the exhibit gate) but it was well worth it. We followed a trail through the "jungle" and saw life-like dinosaurs in their habitat They moved, made sounds, spit water, roared!!! My son wanted his picture taken with every one of them ;-)
While we were there we also visited one of the 3D/4D rides ($4 per person and we had a couple of options based on age and preference). They also have really cool face paintings, hand-print art, character drawings, gift shops, food stations.
Oh, food! They have a lot to pick from in the summer. We opted to go to the Arctic Food Court because it was the largest and had variety for all our picky eaters (even a veggie burger for me). The food was good but kind of pricey which can be expected when you visit places like this.
A BIG FYI - The Detroit Zoo allows you to bring in your own food!!! We saw many people pulling wagons with coolers in them. They have a ton of places around the park that you can stop and have a picnic at if you plan ahead on what you want to do for meals.
Have you been to the Detroit Zoo? I would love to hear about your experiences there and tips that you might have!