Binder Park Zoo Lives Up to the Hype

We felt like we were stepping into a whole new world at Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek. Rows of flags along the boardwalk entrance set the tone for an epic day in their massive park.

To give you perspective, John Ball Zoo, where you can easily spend a whole day, is 140 acres. Binder Park Zoo is over 430 acres! 

This not for profit beautiful park mesmerized our boys. We haven’t stopped hearing about feeding the giraffes and climbing dinosaurs in the children’s zoo since we got home.

My hubby and I were extremely impressed with how intentional Binder is with the animals and those who visit. I loved the props and authentic staging – all part of making the endangered animals feel at “home” in their new conservancy space.

We’ve experienced first hand what makes Binder Park Zoo worth the drive, how to prepare, and what not to miss.

Take this written journey with me to see what’s so wild about Binder!

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5 Things Parents Should Know Before a Trip to Binder Park Zoo

Every inch of Binder Park offers an experience. Sloths, lions, bears, cheetahs, giraffes, crested guineafowls, and the list goes on. Here’s how to prepare and what you need to know for your day-o’-fun at Binder:

1 – Wear Walking Shoes

For starters you’ll want to wear your comfy walking shoes. And bring a stroller for the little kids. Their massive grounds give the animals lots of room to roam, and means that you’ll have to roam a little, too!

A free trolley will take you up to Wild Africa, or you can hike the uphill trail on foot.

2 – Water Refill Stations are Found Throughout the Park

Binder has strategically placed water fountain/fill stations along all of their paths. Just when you start to think you need more water, another filling station appears. Thank you Binder!

3 – The Grounds are Full of Picnic/Snack Areas

We loved that you don’t have to eat in a specific location. There are beautiful sitting/picnic areas throughout the grounds. You can stop and eat whenever it works best for your family.

One of the coolest places we found was eating next to their new Lion exhibit, Chai Pride.

4 – Binder Notices Kids – The Children’s Zoo and Activities Will Keep Kids Busy

Let the kids run free and get out some energy in the Children’s Zoo. Along with the “life-sized” brachiosaurus statue, the digging site, petting zoo, and climbing area, there’s also a full playground!

I got really excited about this because although going to the zoo is TONS of fun – kids can get antsy from just walking or sitting in a stroller. Binder, once again, has thought about it all.

Binder Park Zoo Carousel Kids Activities

Also, don’t miss riding the carousel, getting your face painted, riding the train, and hanging out in the Wild Africa Town/Safari Overlook.

5 – Feed the Giraffes at Twiga Overlook

Bring cash to feed the giraffes at Twiga Overlook. ($2 for one or $5 for 3 lettuce snacks.) This section is along the Wild Africa boardwalk trail and will have your kids amazed – the giraffes will glide right up to you for a treat!

Traffic moves mostly in one direction so take in the scenery and be patient for your up-close encounter with these elegant animals. You won’t regret it!

On Beyond Binder –

Sleep in the Wild at Binder’s Tented Camp

Binder Park Zoo captivates you enough to want to stay all day and overnight and crazy thing – you actually can! Binder is home to the Midwest’s only authentic tented camp. Can you imagine the sounds you’d hear through the night? I’m not sure I’d be able to sleep a wink.

Here are your overnight options (adults included):

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Learn at Binder Park Zoo

What’s the best way to learn? Researchers say it’s when you’re having fun with a great teacher! Check out all of Binder’s fun learning options in their 3 categories.

Binder Park offers fun learning options:

Educators Big Zoo Lesson, Wild Encounters, Wild Walks, and Zoomobile.

Families Birthday Parties, F.A.W.N Playgroup, Family Safari Slumber Party, Safari Day Camps, Zoo Teens, Zoo Keeper for a Day.

Groups Overnight Safari, Wild Encounters, Wild Walks, Zoo Snooze, Zoomobile.

Wild Events to Add to Your Calendar in 2018

What could be more fun than visiting Binder Park Zoo? Visiting on an event day is fun on another level. Here are some events worth the drive for Grand Rapids families.

Binder Park Zoo Events Worth the Drive:

(Dates are for 2018.)

  • Cheetah Chase – Sat. June 23
  • Zoorific Kid’s Day – Sat. July 7
  • Corks for Conservation – Fri. July 13
  • Reptile Weekend – Sat. & Sun. August 4-5
  • Tour De Zoo – Thurs. August 9
  • Sunset on Savanna – Fri. August 13
  • Bontebaktoberfest – Sat. October. 13
  • ZooBoo – Thurs. – Sun. October 18-21, 25-28
  • ZooLights – Weekends in December

Save on Admission to Binder Park with your John Ball Zoo Membership

Binder Park Zoo | 7400 Division Drive | Battle Creek, MI 49014

The Zoo has the following admission rates, but if you’re a John Ball Zoo member, you get half off admission with the Zoo & Aquarium Reciprocity Program. Score!

Adults: $14.25, Seniors 65+: $13.25, Kids 2-10: $12.25, Kids 2 and under: FREE

 

Roam with Ease on Your Wild Trip to Binder Park

There’s something freeing about walking/hiking through the forest and hanging out with creatures who don’t worry about what to wear, doing their hair, or keeping up with the Jones’. Nature’s wonder somehow rubs off on us and we leave feeling thankful for a great day with family and friends.

Take my word for it – Binder Park is guaranteed fun with ease when you use our helpful tips above. Have something you’d like to add or want to tell us about your experience at Binder? We’d love to hear from you!

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