Ever wanted to be a zookeeper, go on a twilight tour of a zoo, feed a giraffe, hang out with a rhino or enjoy a safari slumber party in an African tent camp—all without leaving the state? Michigan zoos have the interactive experiences for every type of family fun.

Binder Park, Battle Creek

As the sun goes down and the visitors head home, be on the scene for a family slumber party, or round up a group for a Zoo Snooze or an Overnight Safari in a tented camp in the African wilderness overlooking the savannah.


Detroit Zoo, Royal Oak

Tiptoe as high as you can go and feed the giraffes, or get face-to-face with kangaroos and red-necked wallabies at the Australian Outback Adventure. Crawl inside viewing bubbles placed directly inside the Prairie Dog Habitat (sorry, this one is for children only).


GarLyn Park, Naubinway

Feed and photograph the animals (grain is available on-site) and enjoy the ambience of this 25-year-old, family-owned zoo with its cedar-mulched walking trails rambling through the Upper Peninsula forest.


John Ball Zoo, Grand Rapids

Close encounters of the zoo kind abound here. Feed pelicans and brown bears and watch chimpanzee training. Work alongside a zookeeper. Hitch up to a zipline and soar above the petting corral, or climb atop a camel for a ride. Switch on your flashlight and take a guided twilight tour, or gather the clan and grab the sleeping bags for a family overnight adventure.


Potter Park Zoo, Lansing

Channel your inner zookeeper and choose from a wide range of encounters including working with river otters and Arctic foxes, reptiles and Alaskan moose, penguins and big cats. Also explore the zoo at night, either outdoor or indoors, during Sundown Safaris.



Ever since she started her own newspaper at age eight, Jane Simon Ammeson has loved to write. She writes about food, travel and history, and is the author of 14 books, including "How to Murder Your Wealthy Lovers and Get Away With It."

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