The Detroit Zoo, located at 8450 W. 10 Mile Rd. in Royal Oak, has been one of Metro Detroit’s favorite attractions for several years, with more than 1.3 million visitors annually, and for good reason. The zoo is home to more than 2,500 animals and 280 species! It also hosts a plethora of events throughout the year, and the summer season is chock-full of fun and engaging activities.
“A visit to the (Detroit) Zoo is incredible no matter the season — we are open 362 days a year,” Jennie Miller, communications manager for the Detroit Zoo, said. “In the summer, the lush, naturalistic habitats and gardens that span the zoo’s 125 acres make for a particularly beautiful experience. It’s a perfect place to spend a warm summer day enjoying the fresh air.”
Zoo-goers are treated to magnificent sites at the property, whether that may be viewing the animals during the day or attending one of these special events and experiencing seeing these animals in their habitats during twilight. The good news is that patrons attending events have the freedom to walk around and check out whichever animals they would like to, for the most part.
“Our summer events are very well received,” Miller said. “Visitors are welcome to explore all 125 acres of the zoo and visit most of our animal habitats during the events. Zookeeper talks will highlight certain animals during some of the events.”
Dinosauria is the current attraction at the Detroit Zoo. It began on Friday, May 22 and goes through Monday, Sept. 7. The exhibit has 40 lifelike animatronic dinosaurs that move, snarl and even spit. The attraction spans five acres and is open daily from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays in July and August). Tickets are $5 with zoo admission for visitors ages 2 and older.
While Dinosauria is still going on, the zoo begins its next series of events on Wednesday, July 1 with the Wild Summer Nights concert series. It continues through every Wednesday in July and August. Live performances go from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Detroit Zoo’s Main Picnic Grove. A variety of music will be showcased, including pop, folk, Motown, jazz, children’s and more.
Detroit Zoo Members are treated to a special event each year called MemberFest. This year’s event takes place on Monday, July 20 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for members with last names beginning with the letters M through Z, and Tuesday, July 21 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for members whose last names begin with letters A through L. The zoo puts together an array of family-friendly activities for the member-only event and allows guests to observe their favorite animals up close.
Summer Zoomance takes place on Thursday, July 9 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. This is an ages 21 and older event (photo identification required for entrance). The event features a cash bar, complimentary trams, zookeepers talks, live music and rides on the Tauber Family Railroad (for an additional $3). Guests can stroll the zoo until twilight with their beverage of choice. The event is meant for adults to ignite the memories of their childhood love for the zoo. Tickets cost $12 if purchased by 5 p.m. on June 25 and cost $14 if purchased after that time. There will be another Summer Zoomance event on Thursday, Aug. 20.
The next scheduled happening is Wild Beasts, Wild Wine, which takes place on Friday, July 31 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. It is another ages 21 and up event (photo ID required). Patrons can sample wine from more than 40 local and national wineries and vineyards while strolling the zoo under twilight. Live music and zookeeper talks also take place. General admission tickets cost $35 before July 17 ($40 afterward), or $25 for a designated driver ticket. Admission includes eight wine-tasting tickets, but additional tickets and food are available for purchase.
Finally, Senior Day rounds out summer events at the zoo, which takes place on Wednesday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Senior citizens ages 62 and older residing in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties are invited for a fun day out. The event features live music, tram tours, bingo, zookeeper talks and a senior resource center.
“Beautiful surroundings and the calls of wildlife create the perfect backdrop for any event — from summer concerts to beer festivals to couples saying ‘I do,”’ Miller said.
In addition to all of the fantastic events, the Detroit Zoo opened the Cotton Family Wolf Wilderness exhibit earlier this month. It houses two gray wolves: a 7-year old female named Wazi and a 5-year old male named Kaska. The habitat spans two acres and features grassy hills and meadows, native Michigan trees, a flowing stream and pond, dens and rock outcropping. There are several vantage points for visitors.
The zoo continues to provide exciting and educational events for people of all ages. Be on the lookout for fall events afterward, including the extremely popular Zoo Brew, featuring many Michigan craft beers. For now, though, enjoy the warmth of summer and the great outdoor activities offered!