Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Michigan is 100 acres of zoo, park and gardens. The main attraction is the more than 400 animals and 100 different species on display from all over the world, from Red Pandas, to Snow Leopards, Siberian Tigers, rhinos, wolves, and penguins.
A great attraction for kids, in particular, is the zoo's Barnyard and petting zoo. The Barnyard features a number of exotic animals, such as pygmy goats from Africa, yaks, burros, Saanen goats from Switzerland, toy China pigs, giant Aldabra tortoises, and even reindeer.
The zoo also offers a Bird & Reptile House with more exotic creatures, such as Emerald Tree Snakes, Gila Monsters, Boas, the endagered Bali Mynah bird, Macaws, and owls. There are only a few dozen of the Bali Mynah birds still in existence, and the Potter Park Zoo is attempting to breed a pair of the birds to help prevent their extinction.
The park also features a Feline/Primate House, which was originally built in 1930 and renovated in 1989. This building houses some of the zoo's most remarkable animals, such as its two Siberian Tigers, also known as Amur Tigers. The house also features Snow Leopards, two species of Lemurs, Mandrills (closely related to baboons), African Lions, the endangered Cotton Top Tamarin monkeys and Golden Lion Tamarin monkeys, which are on loan to the zoo from the Brazilian government.
The park also features the Wolf Woods, which simulates an adventure into the wild woodlands of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Canada. A log cabin with a large picture window allows visitors to see an exhibit of endangered Eastern Timber Wolves, and also view a variety of wildlife artifacts.
The park also has a Coral Reef Exhibit, where visitors can enter an oceanic world. The exhibit features living reefs, exotic, rainbow-colored fish, crustaceans, eels, shrimp, living corals, and even sunken ships.
One of the more scenic and relaxing areas of the park is its Duck Pond, where ducks, swans, and geese enjoy their watery habitat and children can feed them. There are even a few pelicans, and deer can sometimes be seen grazing in the meadows beyond.
The beatifically landscaped Backyard Gardens provide an area for both strolling, reflection and education. There are also educational signs along the way to tell visitors how they can transform their own backyards into areas that can attract wildlife, birds and butterflies.
Another attraction of the park is its Education Center, opened in 2000. The facility includes the Safari Room for meetings, classrooms, a special exhibit room for temporary wildlife presentations, as well as offices.
In addition, the park offers special tours and educational programs, such as:
"Sensational Zoo'' teaches visitors about how animals see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and survive in the wild.
"Fur, Feather, Scales & Slime'' explains why some animals have fur while others have feathers or scales and slime.
"Animals in Winter'' shows visitors how animals not only prepare for winter, but use their coats, fat deposition, hibernation, and migration to survive in the cold.
"What's for Lunch'' demonstrates strategies animals in the wild use for either catching their next meal...or avoiding being something's dinner, via camouflage, stalking techniques, etc.
"The Last Ark'' explains how zoos are not only fun places to see and learn about wild animals; they're also becoming the last hope of survival for many endangered species.
The park also offers two very popular activities: pony and camel rides during the summer and early fall, which provide a fun ride for the kids and some great photo opportunities for parents.
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