Potter Park Zoo is Fun to Visit In Every Season

Potter Park Zoo is a rare gem of wildlife in the heart of Lansing. Famlies love to visit during all four seasons and we’ve got 21 reasons why.

You can have a slumber party, become a zookeeper for a day, feed some animals, and so much more! Read on to find out why we think Potter Park Zoo is so awesome, along with tips for your next visit.

Potter Park Zoo Kids Playing

21 Reasons to Visit Potter Park Zoo

Did you know there is more to going to the zoo than walking the path and hoping animals look over or engaged with your family? Here are 21 reasons it’s so fun to go to Potter Park Zoo – any time of the year!

Spend All 4 Seasons at Potter Park Zoo

potter park zoo pony ride downtown Lansing

-Summer means a full day of fun: walking the grounds in the warm sun, taking pony and camel rides, picnics, and playing on the playground are all a go during this warm and sunny time.

Fall means Boo at the Zoo. (need I say more?)

-Winter means FREE parking and way more active animals plus the beloved event Wonderland of Lights.

Spring means “Night at the Museum” is on its way, story times start back up, plus camp season is approaching.

What’s so cool about Potter Park Zoo?

 Potter Park Zoo story time live animals downtown Lansing kids

-Storytime: through peak months you’ll enjoy storytime with a visit from a live animal. It’s an amazing experience and it happens weekly!

-Monday mornings are FREE: if you’re an Ingham County resident. Yep, it’s true. We’ve gone many a Monday morning and enjoyed free admission to the zoo. Parking is $3 during peak months and free during winter (off-peak).

-Zookeeper Encounters: Be a zookeeper for a day. If you’ve dreamed about working closely with animals these encounters are a perfect way to start.

-Learning ExperiencesSummer and Winter Break Camps, Education Programs and extended learning.

-Animal Experiences: Get up close and personal with big cats, penguins and more!

-Stay Overnight with the animals. Have you ever fished at night by the river bed across from Potter Park Zoo? A friend of mine has and he says the sounds are a priceless experience! Even better, spending the night in the zoo? What a unique experience!

-Off-Campus Family Programs: Falconeers and Zoo in your Neighborhood (Live animal encounters around Greater Lansing like libraries etc.)

Potter Park Zoo Wonderland of Lights Kids Lansing

-Events are special on Potter Park Zoo grounds. Dress up for Boo at the Zoo, Bundle up during Wonderland of Lights, and relax through the year during Zoo Brews and more! You can also hold your own event on their grounds. See how, here.

You can volunteer!  Spend time with the animals in a way you’ve never experienced before. Volunteering is so helpful to the zoo but it always blesses us more when we give – bringing extra joy to our lives. If you love animals and nature – you should look into this. (No experience necessary)

Riding ponies at potter park zoo lansing summer with kids

Pony Rides are a big hit at Potter Park. It’s $3 to ride and worth every penny. Kids faces light up as they circle round the loop.

-Petting Zoo: Kids love feeding the goats and seeing all of the farm animals.

-Camel Rides are a uniquely exciting and learning experience.

-Launch Trampoline: View the entire grounds from this high height.

Why We Think Potter Park Zoo is so Great for Families

Potter Park Zoo Kid

-Bonding: A great way to bond with all ages is to go to the zoo. It’s really fun seeing families of all ages talk and spend time out interacting instead of watching a movie or glued to an electronic device. Potter Park Zoo gets us out into the fresh air to spend quality time with the ones we love.

-New Exhibits: Have you seen the NEW moose, red panda, and the rhino exhibits? The zoo adds new animals as they work their conservancy program. Potter Park loves sharing this with families and gives the opportunity for you to even adopt some of them!

-Membership gives you FREE admission plus more on each level. You’ll also receive FREE admission to John Ball Zoo, Half-off admission to the Detroit Zoo and discounted or FREE admission to over 100 Zoos and Aquariums across the country. 2.5 visits for residents (1.5 for non-residents) is equivelant to a year membership! I love having memberships to key places in our city like this because it frees us of time. We can visit for a few minutes or all day and as many times as we choose. A membership is a great option if you plan to visit more than twice a year!

The playground: The Potter Park Zoo playground is outside of their grounds so you can visit any time for free! Park in their parking or ride up on your bikes! It’s located on the riverwalk trail and has a variety of play areas for different ages and play levels for your kids.

Potter Park Zoo Bird Exhibit Kids

4 Tips When you Visit Potter Park for a Day

True confessions – these are here because I’ve made the mistake of NOT doing these things. Let’s just say these times weren’t our favorite visits to the Zoo. Here are 4 things that will help make your trip to Potter Park Zoo less stressful, more fun, and a nice treat for your whole family:

  • Pack Snacks and Water: No matter the time of day or how many times we go to the Zoo – snacks are always a plus. Lots of walking means hungry tummies. The days I have snacks ready tend to be the most enjoyable trips.
  • Take a potty break as soon as you walk through the gate. Many times we’ve been way out by the moose exhibit and I’ll hear the dreaded phrase “I HAVE TO GO POTTY!”. Rushing back to the nearest bathroom can be avoided most times if we try to go – first thing.
  • Bring a MINI-diaper (needs) bag: or mini-stroller with compartments. There’s nothing wrong with the big bags and big strollers (I love them!). But – when you’re dealing with crowds and multiple kiddos it’s so much easier to be hands free with little to tote around the grounds.
  • Bring Cash if you want to do the pony ride, launch trampoline, and camel rides. They don’t take card at these sections. If you plan ahead for it it’s a lot of fun being able to say – Yes! We can ride the camel today! I love planning little suprises like this on our adventures.
Potter Park Zoo Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

Why Do You Love Potter Park Zoo?

We’d love to hear from you! What does your family like best about a visit to Potter Park Zoo?  Ours are the otters and the gray wolves. Otters seem not to have a care in the world, and wolves seems so deep in thought.

Although we love hanging out with the animals at Potter Park, I don’t think my family could be like the one in the movie “We Bought a Zoo”. But – I’m very grateful that we have access to such awesome wildlife in the heart of our city.

Have fun on your next visit to Potter Park Zoo!