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This Place is a Zoo!

The Detroit Zoo

The Detroit Zoo is situated on over 125 acres of land in Royal Oak, Michigan. We should be proud that our zoo was the first in the country to place animals in a natural habitat rather than behind bars. The Detroit Zoo continued its commitment to the welfare of animals in 2005 when it decided that it would no longer keep elephants at the zoo for ethical reasons.

A few of the main attractions at the zoo are the Arctic Ring of Life, the Australian Outback Adventure, and the Penguinarium.

This past weekend my husband and I went on a photo walk at the Detroit Zoo. I haven’t been to this zoo since I was a teenager and this was my husband’s first visit. Since this was a visit with the main intention of taking pictures, the lack of cages was even more noticeable.

Looking through my telephoto lens at all the different animals it was easy to forget that I was at a zoo and within safe distance from the animals. It felt more like I was on a mini-safari.


Step inside the Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden for an enchanting visit with hundreds of butterflies from Central and South America and four hummingbirds. My husband still insists on calling these insects’ “flutterbys.”


The Arctic Ring of Life, which opened in 2001, is a delight. Standing in the Polar Passage, a 70-foot long clear tunnel, we watched a polar bear swim and frolic and put on a show. He even stood on the tunnel and from underneath I could swear he was dancing.

The Penguinarium is a three-sided habitat that is surrounded by a continuous pool. I loved watching the penguins swim fast and sometimes jump out of the water or “swim through the air.” However, photographing this phenomenon was nearly impossible. At least it was for me.

We didn’t get to see the Giraffe Encounter or the Australian Outback Adventure on this visit but I did stop and watch a tree kangaroo climb around for a bit. And yes, we saw lions and tigers and bears. (Oh my!)

Don’t forget to take a ride on the Tauber Family Railroad! It’s open from May through September and on weekends in October. I thought my husband, who is really a 6 year old at heart, was going to cry that he couldn’t go on the choo-choo train.

Due to the photowalk we had a time constraint of just over 2 hours, which isn’t enough time to see everything. We’ll definitely be back for another visit soon.

I want to point out how economical a membership to the Detroit Zoo is. My husband and I paid full price ($11 each) plus a $5 parking charge. It wasn’t until we returned home that I realized for $55 we could have purchased the individual plus membership.

I did call to see if our receipt from the previous day could be applied towards a membership but you must do it on the same day. Live and learn. We’ll be back soon to see the giraffes and kangaroos and the lush gardens that spring and summer will bring.

Which animals at the Detroit Zoo are your favorite?

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Reader Comments (11)


I think that the penguin shot is really cool. It does a great job of capturing the swimming motion. Much better than a stop action shot.

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Marks

Thanks Tim!
I like the movement too, I just wish it was a bit more clear. It was so fun to shoot animals outside. I love my cats and all but I have a gazillion photos of them in the house! ;-)

March 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

You got some great shots!
Now you know why we have memberships to so many places around town. Having the membership also makes it an easier decision to go somewhere to take a few photos for just an hour or two--so we often get out to places like the zoo, The Henry Ford/Greenfield Village, and other places a few times each year.

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDominique

Thanks Dominique!
Yep, I'm still kicking myself for not buying the membership while we were there. I'd probably go back this week. As I said, live and learn. I won't make that mistake again.

March 30, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Amazing shots, Becks! Like I was actually there! Amazing work, my dear friend. Keep it up!

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark Sawkin

Excellent photos! The shot of the lion looks like it's straight out of National Geographic!

Isn't the Artic Ring of Life amazing?! I could watch the polar bears and penguins all day.

I was hoping to make it out Saturday, but it was a little chilly for the baby. Hope to make the next one.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTina Kozak

Great photos! My favorite @ the Detroit Zoo is the wolverine.

Get yourself a membership and check it out next winter - you'll be amazed at how different the zoo becomes when you're one of five visitors there. The animals are usually their most active then too.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Thanks Tina & Mark!
The Arctic Ring of Life is fabulous!

Yeah, I think I'll be getting a membership within the month. I missed the wolverine, I'll look for it next time. Great tip on going in the winter, thanks!

March 31, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

I miss the Detroit Zoo! I love Detroit so much, even though I no longer live there and Go Detroit Lions!!!

May 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMikel

hahaha this monkeys are cool!! i love you image dieta 3 semanas

August 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrian flatt

hi is very funny this money i love the monkeys celulitis foro they are cool

August 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCeluponk

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