Hours & Admission
Zoo Map
Group Visit Registration
Contact Us











Message October 15th from the President and CEO:

Bonteboktoberfest was postponed Saturday evening to today, Sunday, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Many of you have accommodated the changes. Thank you. We understand that the decision to postpone the event was disappointing for many and maddening to a few. Please know that Binder Park Zoo is a nonprofit organization. We receive no tax funding. This event is a fundraiser to help pay for the expense of feeding and taking care of the animals through the winter months. The last thing we want to do is disrupt the plans for this event. We’re taking a hit too. But, please know that we will do our best to satisfy every ticket holder and are currently putting some options in place.

A judgement call was made to postpone the event because the rain created unsafe conditions for staff, volunteers and guests. The zoo was experiencing flooding conditions, which created challenges for electrical, water pumps, and other infrastructure. Around 4:00 p.m. it started to thunder and lightning and the weather radar showed no signs of the storms leaving the area. In fact, there were a couple of lightning strikes that were dangerously close to guest areas. The trees were getting weighted down by the downpours and breaking limbs were a concern. The tents kept caving in from the weight of the rain. Some of the walkways had several inches of standing water. To walk around these areas meant that guests would be walking through mud or brush.

This decision was based on safety first, even though it was going to come at a cost, and not just financial. Zoo staff always puts the safety first. No exceptions. I want to say thank you to all of you who have dug in and asked how you can help. Your mercy and kindness is greatly appreciated. Everyone one of us will need mercy at some point, whether personally or professionally, thank you for being a friend of the zoo. In times like this we see the goodness of people. On behalf of zoo staff, thank you. A few of you have shared your disappointment through social media and it has negatively reflected on the zoo. Your thoughts and comments are respected and, again, we will do our best to make things right.

We are expecting a great event tonight. Thank you to our volunteers who have rearranged schedules to accommodate the new event time. Thank you to staff who are coming in on your day off to help make this night fun for our guests and beneficial for the zoo. Thank you to the vendors who are accommodating the changes. Thank you to the event planners. Wow! Great job managing the hundreds of details that need to be thought through. I’m reminded of this quote from William Shakespeare, “The quality of mercy is not strain’d, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: it blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

Diane Thompson
President and CEO


Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural AffairsBattle Creek Community Foundation