There is no zoo in Kalamazoo, but the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek isn't far. In the Summer of 1999 they opened a big new exhibit, "Wild Africa", with a safari theme. It's very impressive, if a bit Disneyfied-- well worth the drive. The zoo's season ends in the late fall. The Great Zoo Boo, where the zoo is filled with hundreds of jack-o-lanterns, is a popular Halloween event. For the Holidays, the zoo is decorated with Christmas lights for the Zoo Lights Festival.
The John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids is small, but it has some popular animals, like lions, tigers, and monkeys, not featured in Battle Creek. It's open year 'round. Each Spring (early March through mid-April), Grand Rapid's Frederik Meijer Gardens fills its greenhouses with butterflies.
The Detroit Zoo isn't too far for a day trip.
Chicago has two excellent zoos-- the Lincoln
, on the Lakefront and the Brookfield
, in the suburbs. These aren't substantially farther than Detroit,
but an overnight trip is less hectic.
The Kalamazoo Air Zoo isn't really a zoo; it's a small warplane museum. If your kids like that sort of thing try the Gilmore Car Museum , too.
The Kalamazoo Valley Museum has exhibits that appeal to many ages and it's free.
The Kalamazoo Nature Center features lots of kid-oriented activities. Exhibits include giant prairie flowers and a giant beech tree. Tanks feature live fish, turtles, bugs, and other creatures. Feeders attract a variety of birds in all seasons. Several nature trails wind through hardwood forests and along a creek. They offer a summer day camp, and a variety of kids (and adult) programs throughout the year.
The Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, near Gull Lake, has several ponds full of ducks, geese, and swans. Kids love feeding them. Cracked corn is available at the entry. Open all year.
The Kalamazoo Public Library has children's programs and reading games (and books, too.)
Piranha Alley (skateboards, snowboards) formerly on the Burdick Street mall has moved to the Skate Zoo Park on Ravine.
If your kids like magic, Abbots Magic in Colon, MI (a bit of a drive) sponsors magic shows during the summer and sells tricks for kids, amateurs, and professionals.
Kalamazoo Public Schools
Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center
Portage Public Schools
Kalamazoo school closings
Online stuff for kids
-- lots of links
-- Clifford, Dragon Tales, Zoboomafoo and more
Nick Jr -- Blue's Clues, Little Bear, & others play online games
The Exploratorium, a San Francisco science museum, has lots of fun online exhibits
: cool toys and gifts (not just for kids)
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