Battle Creek's Binder Park Zoo to get dinosaur display

Elena Durnbaugh
Battle Creek Enquirer

Battle Creek, Mich. — Binder Park’s children’s zoo is getting a new look this summer.

The zoo was selected as one of 100 impact projects across the country for Lowe’s 100 Hometowns project. The initiative, which awarded 100 grants totaling $10 million, is part of the home improvement store’s centennial celebration.

The project, a new exhibit called Zoorassic Park, is currently under construction on the site of the former children’s zoo, the Battle Creek Enquirer reports. Binder Park will introduce life-size dinosaur displays in addition to the brachiosaurus dinosaur that has been part of the children’s zoo for more than 30 years.

In a July 7, 2018 file photo, the brachiosaurus display, which has been at Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Mich., for more than 30 years, will be getting some friends as part of the new children's zoo exhibit "Zoorassic Park."

There will be close to 20 replica statues for people to learn from, interact and take photos with. People will be allowed to climb some of them.

“There’s just something about dinosaurs,” said Leslie Walsh, manager of marketing and development for Binder Park Zoo. “They’re a timeless fascination...They’re a mystery. They’re fun, but they’re kind of scary.”

The exhibit will introduce hands-on activities and educational programs based on science, technology, engineering, art and math. Community events will be hosted within the exhibit space too, providing people with the opportunity to learn and tap into their imaginations.

People will learn principles of technology and engineering from the way dinosaurs moved around, Walsh said. The diversity of dinosaurs will provide lessons in adaptation.

Binder Park plans to offer story times, summer day camps and overnight stays in the children’s zoo in the future, Walsh said.

“Zoorasic Park will transform the former children’s zoo in prehistoric ways,” Binder Park Zoo President and CEO Diane Thompson said in a statement.

At the new center, families also will learn about the importance of nature conservation from a “zoorassic point of view” as they explore prehistoric life.

“The extinction of dinosaurs, we can tie that to modern-day conservation,” said Leslie Walsh, spokesperson for Binder Park Zoo. “We can draw these parallels using this exhibit...that will maybe help us to shine a light on things we can do now, today.”

Delivering a message about preserving and protecting nature through programs and fun experiences is at the heart of what the zoo does in the community, Walsh said.

“This is just another angle to teaching conservation, which is sometimes hard to do,” she said.

The project was nominated by the Battle Creek Lowe’s Home Improvement Store on B Drive North.

“Being nominated and selected for this amazing opportunity is truly a testament to the support the zoo receives from Lowe’s and the surrounding community,” Thompson said.

The Binder Park children’s zoo is one of three projects in Michigan to be selected for the Lowe’s 100 Hometowns project from more than 2,200 entries across the country.

“We are inspired by the nationwide response to 100 Hometowns, which brought people from all across the country to share with us their remarkable stories and hope for how their community might be made a little better,” Lowe’s chairman and CEO Marvin R. Ellison said in a press release.

The Zoorasic Park exhibit is expected to open to the public later this summer.

Binder Park Zoo, which is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, is a nonprofit organization. To learn more about the zoo or to plan a visit, go to binderparkzoo.org.