Zoocation Day, Anyone?

. June 30, 2017.

With two award-winning zoos in the region, we have some pointers to take the kids on a zoocation or two this summer. Both the Detroit Zoo and Toledo Zoo & Aquarium have a lot to offer the whole family, from tiny tots to teens to adults. With so much to see and do at both zoos, we hope you navigate the highlights so you can get the most from your zoocation.

Toledo Zoo

2 Hippo Way, Toledo, OH

Where to play and explore

toledo-zoo-splash-padNature’s Neighborhood
a space for children to safely play and explore. Adult educators are on site.
Aquarium Adventure Trail (splashpad)
a playground and 32 spray water features on a 15-minute loop.
Two Carousels
one near the north entrance and a historic carousel near the Broadway entrance.

Who’s new and celebrating at the zoo?


Kipenzi, a Masai giraffe, was born April 3. Her name means beloved and precious one in Swahili. Don’t miss this cutie!
Welcome Coedie the adorable koala, who is 3 and sleeps 18 to 22 hours a day. You can find him snoozing in the aviary.
Two baby reindeer are just weeks old.
Several baby primates will also make an appearance soon. See if you can find the baby meerkat scurrying around.


Time for lunch

Both zoos allow guests to bring in food and beverages, which is a huge plus when you have children! You can pack a picnic to enjoy at multiple locations throughout each zoo (just don’t bring styrofoam products, drinking straws or alcoholic beverages) or bring snacks along for the kiddos to keep them satisfied as you stroll from exhibit to exhibit. If you decide to forgo the work of packing your lunch, there are plenty of choices for food options at both zoos.

Carnivore Café a café behind bars, once home to lions and tigers!
Karoo Snack Stand with pizza, hot dogs, cheese sticks, and more.
The Beastro, an open-air café with specialty salads and sandwiches.

Picnic areas and tables throughout the park.
All food and beverage stations will provide cups for water on request.

Don’t miss these!


Land, sea and air adventures in Toledo

  • Visit the Aerial Adventure Course that crosses the Africa exhibit where animals roam the plain. Walk the skybridge, take a faster route on the zipline, or simply take a (controlled) leap of faith from the viewing tower to the ground.
  • Giant tanks at the recently renovated aquarium display all manner of sea and freshwater creatures, including sharks.

Up close and personal with the big fellas in Toledo

  • Visit with Toledo’s polar bears and seals at the Arctic Encounter. Did you know that adult polar bears are up to 8 feet tall?
  • In his home at the Reptile House, find Baru, the saltwater crocodile, proudly showing off that he’s the longest of his kind in the U.S.
  • Always a fan favorite, don’t miss the elephants!The keepers feed them from hanging baskets in giant man-made trees. They have become adept at standing on tiptoe to reach the baskets with their long trunks, just as they would reach for food in the wild.

FREE on Mondays
(except holidays) between 10am and 12 pm for Lucas County Residents.
Lucas County Residents also get $2 off regular admission rates every day.

Detroit Zoo

8450 10 Mile Rd. , Royal Oak, MI

Don’t miss these!

Nose to beak in Detroit
With penguins, of course! Kids are often seen squealing as they get nose to beak with them at the floor-to-ceiling viewing window and underground tunnels of the world-class Polk Penguin Conservation Center exhibit.


Up close and personal with the big fellas in Detroit

Explore the Frederick and Barbara Erb Polar Passage underneath the diving and swimming polar bears and seals in Detroit’s award-winning Arctic Ring of Life exhibit.
See the rhinoceroses, Jasiri and Tamba, in the African Grasslands exhibit. Or feed lunch at eye level to the tallest animals in the zoo, the giraffes, while their keepers answer questions about this family of four.
Get an up-close encounter with gray wolves Kaskapahtew (“Kaska”) and Waziyata (“Wazi”) at a giant viewing window in the Cotton Family Wolf Wilderness exhibit.

Peacocks, a bonus in Detroit

Peacocks, with their haunting calls and displays of gorgeous blue and green feathers, roam freely at the Detroit Zoo.

Who’s new and celebrating at the zoo?

Enzi, a zebra born on New Year’s Day in 2015, is 2 this year. Find her in the African Grasslands habitat.
Zawadi the giraffe turns 1 this year. She joins mom and dad, Kivuli and Jabari,
and her big brother, Mpenzi.
Polly, a Syrian brown bear rescued from a roadside circus in 2000, turns 20 this year.
Happy Birthday, Polly!


Where to play and explore

The Korman Tadpole Playventure and Rissman Playventure – expansive spaces to climb through a “spider web,” relax in a giant “bird nest,” crawl through “animal burrows” and engage in imaginative play.
The 4-D Theatre – playing Turtle Vision and Coastal Predators this year.
The Carousel – hand-carved, hand-painted mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, a dinosaur and an ADA-compliant peacock chariot.

Time for lunch

Arctic Café is a full-scale café with eco-friendly cutlery and other green distinctions.
Boardwalk Station offering items such as pretzels, fries, and ice cream floats.
Pure Greens with a 100 percent vegan menu.
Picnic sites just across from wildlife interpretive gallery and scattered picnic tables throughout the park.

Bring your own refillable water bottles because bottled water is no longer sold, a result of Detroit’s
sustainability program.

And for the older kids?

Both zoos have great options for older kids, who can go to the movies at a 4-d theater in Detroit or follow the Arctic Ring of Life trail. Follow the Tembo Trail in Toledo to catch glimpses of large animals such as bears, camels and more. The Toledo Zoo’s Aerial Adventure Course’s zipline and skybridge are great options. Be sure to grab selfies with penguins or with the big animals including bears, camels, rhinos, and giant hippos.


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