Slither on Over to Zoology, the City’s Newest Adventure
We’ve gotta share the scoop on the newest hands-on experience in West Michigan, Zoology.
This place, currently in a soft-opening period, is filled to the brim with unbelievably fascinating creatures. Scaly and sometimes venomous, you’ll marvel at the things you see if you make this your next Grand Rapids family outing.
Fun fact: Zoology is where we learned (the hard way) that tarantulas can spray poop. One of our kids startled the little dung-flinger and then it sprayed our family. Hilarious.
A Walk on the Wild Side
My kids’ eyes bugged out when we walked through the door.
It’s easy to see that this is not what you expect when you think “zoo.” There aren’t any elephants or monkeys at Zoology. Instead, this all-indoor destination specializes in reptiles and related experiences.
What’s it like inside of Zoology?
Well, there are creatures that hiss, some with shiny scales, and yes, even venomous creepy-crawlies, too (that are thankfully trapped behind glass walls!).
There are several staff members on the floor and they are always holding one of the animals. If an animal is out, you can hold it or touch it. For my family, this meant endless entertainment.
Visitors get to experience interactive sessions, but in a safe way. To this end, each animal has a color label that follows a stop-light type color code:
- Red means Hands Off. If the animal has a red label on it’s cage, it doesn’t get handled. This can be for multiple reasons. It can be aggressive, shy, an escape artist or not like human contact.
- Yellow means Hands On with Caution/Occasional. These creatures like to be handled on occasion.
- Green means Hands On. If its green you can definitely hold an interact with them. A great example would be their bearded dragon. He prefers to wander the zoo instead of being in his cage.
During our visit, we got to hold tarantulas, scorpions, millipedes, & a boa constrictor, plus many more “touchable” creatures.
How About a Starter Snake?
The staff here is knowledgeable and friendly. We asked SOOOO many questions and they answered every single one without making us feel like we were being a nuisance. We learned SO many cool facts about the animals, including tarantulas.
Plus, the staff members make you feel safe and comfortable.
If you are afraid of snakes but want to face your fear, they have a starter snake. Its an Saharan Sand Boa and they refer to it as basically a noodle because it burrows under the sand and doesn’t have a lot of core strength.
You have to support the entire snake or it flops around like a noodle.
But don’t worry, if snakes and spiders aren’t for you, you can pet the tortoises or the lizards.
PS- The zoo puts the animals first. If they can tell the animals need a break or should not be handled, the staff respect that and leave the creatures in their exhibits.
If You Go
Zoology itself is somewhat small. It’s basically a circle that you walk around. Even though it’s small, we still spent two hours there and could have stayed longer.
The facilities are wheelchair accessible and provide tactile experiences for those with visual impairments. However, their current setting might not be ideal for those with hearing impairments or sensory sensitivities.
Good to Know: Zoology is still in their soft opening phase, so things are getting added every day. If you go now, there are a lot of animals to interact with but know that more are still being adding. (You’ll notice several vacant spots where they plan to add more.)
What’s the best time to visit? Within the first 30 minutes of opening, you can see staff attending to animals. Some find it intriguing, but it might reduce tour availability. Visit later if you prioritize learning from every ambassador.
When are animal feedings? The Argentine tegu, Max, feeds around noon every Friday and Sunday. Snaky, the ball python, feeds on the first Saturday of each month around noon.
Location: 447 Standale Plaza NW, Walker, MI 49534
- Mon – Wed: Closed
- Thu – Fri: 11 AM – 7 PM
- Sat – Sun: 9 AM – 5 PM
Rates: $10 adults / $8 seniors/kids ages 4-12 / kids 3&under are free.
If you’re ready for a day filled with scaly, venomous, and wonderfully wild creatures, Zoology is your spot. Since you can basically hold, touch, and interact with every animal in Zoology, this destination is a must for kids that love critters and creatures of all kinds.
If you get to visit, let us know how it goes in the comments!