Earlier this summer I took G to the Detroit Zoo. That was the zoo I went to growing up and so it was my first instinct, but Potter Park Zoo in Lansing is pretty much the same distance and is the zoo my Mr. went to as a kid, so when his parents were in town visiting this past weekend, we went to check it out.
Potter Park is a much smaller zoo than Detroit, but that actually makes it a lot more kid friendly. At least little kid friendly anyhow. With the Detroit Zoo we were there from 10 am-4pm, missed a ton and had a melting down little toddler who had missed his nap by the end of the day. At Potter Park we were there around 10 and done by lunchtime, having seen everything. It was a slightly late lunch, but we were still back home in time for G to at least attempt a nap.
A big part of the reason the zoo is so much smaller is that the enclosures are a lot smaller. That means a whole lot less walking time from one to the next. It also means the animals are right there. While I’m not entirely sure I’m comfortable with the whole “tigers displayed like kittens in a fish tank at the pet store” thing, it WAS really cool being able to get so close to them.
Lest you think I’m exaggerating:
…the black bar on the left edge of this picture is the support for the glass that’s all that’s between me and this kitty.
These two were in a tank of pretty much the same size with their brother (or sister?) and seemed to enjoy picking viewers through the glass to have staring contests with.
While this was a great zoo to take G to so he could see all the animals, it is NOT somewhere I’d suggest if you’re looking to photograph the critters. A lot of the cages are made mostly of netting. Very cool in that it’s open air and you’re right up with the animals where they can poke their fingers/paws/beaks through, not at all cool in that if you’re a photographer, your camera really wants to take pictures of the screen, not the animal.
All in all, it’s a great little zoo. There’s a bit of everything. Farm animals, exotic animals, animals that swim, slither and fly…just in slightly smaller numbers and definitely smaller enclosures than at the bigger zoos.