The Detroit Michigan Zoo has been one of the top Detroit family activities since officially opening on August 1,
1928. The first attempt at establishing a Detroit
Zoo was in 1883, when a wealthy city capitalist
acquired a mix of animals from a failing circus, however
it would close the following year due to financial difficulties.
Its building would be converted into a horse market and
three decades would pass before the notion of a new zoo
would arise. In 1911, an influential group featuring
some of Detroit's top names decided to establish
the Detroit Zoological Society. In 1914, a lay of land
was purchased in Dearborn for the new zoo, but this land
was highly coveted by Henry Ford. As so, it was
sold for a sum that would be used to buy a new plot of
land in Six Mile. Again able to sell their land
holding for profit, the Society looked for a new site,
and eventually in 1916 farm lands were purchased.
The Detroit Zoo MI would establish its current location
at 8450 W. Ten Mile Rd., in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Construction by The Detroit Zoological Park Commission
began in 1924, with a large amount of the building materials
coming from local destruction sites in an effort to encourage
recycling. For three years production continued
with the aim of opening by the summer of 1928. By
August of that year, it was open for business.
Today, the Detroit Zoo operates out of the original
site in Royal Oak with a naturalistic habitat covering
125 acres, and features an extension on Belle Isle where
the former nature center was converted into a branch focusing
on Michigan wildlife, flora and fauna. Belle Isle
is located close to the hub of downtown, and is the country's
largest city-owned park. It offers a myriad of attractions,
including the zoo property, and offers views on the city,
and to Windsor, Canada just across the Detroit River.
The Detroit Michigan Zoo made an ethical impact in 2005
when it decided to stop housing elephants. The majority
of the decision came from the idea that is was psychologically
stressful to confine them in the elephant house during
the cold winters. Thus, they were relocated to an
animal center in California.
In 2006, the Detroit Michigan Zoo opened a new exhibit called "Australian Outback Adventure". Detroit family activities don't get any better than this. Here, the Australian Outback is simulated in a large housing structure and only a knee-high cable separates the exhibit's red kangaroos from visitors. Kids can get face to face with the kangaroos, who are allowed to go where they please, often hopping along the same walking path that you will find yourself on. Another popular exhibit is the Arctic Ring of Life, a state-of-the-art facility that focuses on the North Pole. It even has a 70 foot long clear tunnel through a marine environment where you can watch seals and polar bears swim over your head.
Come and spend a day at the Detroit Michigan Zoo on your next vacation, and you will see why it is one of the top Detroit family attractions. Adult fees for the Detroit Zoo are $11.00 and cover ages 13-61, and children (ages 2-12) get in for $7.00. Seniors (62 and over) pay $9.00. Under 2 years get in free. Parking for cars and vans is $5.00, and $8.00 for buses. So bring your group, no matter how big it is, and enjoy the many exhibits at the Detroit Zoo.