Situated along the Red Cedar River in Lansing, Michigan, Potter Park is a large park that avoids the lawn-like uniformity of many traditional green spaces. The park itself is full of trees and has several picnic pavillions and play structures. Within the park is Potter Park Zoo. The zoo began in 1915 when J.W. and Sarah Potter donated 58 acres to Lansing. This became Potter Park. In 1917, twenty-seven more acres were added and the first animals, elk, arrived in 1920. The zoo continued to grow throughout the 1950's but that growth slowed in the 60's and some people thought the zoo should be closed. In 1969, Jim Hough formed the Friends of the Zoo. Money raised by the society bought the zoo's first elephant in 1972 and the zoo railroad in 1974. In 1986, the Friends of the Zoo became the Potter Park Zoological Society.
Today, the zoo is open year round and is home to over 400 animals. Camel and pony rides, a petting area, big cats, primates, penguins and otters are just a part of all the things to see and do at the zoo! Members receive free admission to the Potter Park Zoo as well as other perks throughout the year. Members also receive free or discounted admission to over 100 other zoos and aquariums across the country.
Rates for parking and zoo admission vary based on age, membership and Ingham County residency status. Check the zoo's website for a complete listing of fees, hours and events. Use of the park outside the zoo is free except for the parking fee.
The Potter Park Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.