Information and Safety

Red Panda - Detroit Zoo
Convenience Rentals

Single and double strollers, wagons, wheelchairs and Electronic Convenience Vehicles (ECV) are available for rent at the Main Train Station (near the front of the park) and at the Africa Train Station (in the far corner of the park when the train is operating). Rented items cannot be taken on the Tauber Family Railroad.

[ Convenience Rental Pricing ]

Korman Tadpole PlayVenture

The Korman Tadpole PlayVenture is appropriate for children of all ages. Children must be directly supervised at all times. No rough play or inappropriate use of equipment is permitted. Clothes with drawstring closures, scarves and other neck apparel are prohibited. The PlayVenture is closed during the winter season (November-March), at night and during inclement weather.

Rissman PlayVenture

The Rissman PlayVenture is appropriate for children ages 5-12. Children must be directly supervised at all times. No rough play or inappropriate use of equipment is permitted. Clothes with drawstring closures, scarves and other neck apparel are prohibited. The PlayVenture is closed during the winter season (November-March), at night and during inclement weather.

Safety Shelters

In the event of a need for shelter, our staff will direct guests to secure areas. Shelters include all restrooms, the lower level of the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, the Barn, and rhino, lion, giraffe and great ape buildings. When directed to the shelter, please remain inside until staff gives the “all clear” signal.

First Aid/Lost and Found

Please contact any staff member for assistance. Adhesive bandages and sting relief are available at the Park Safety Office (First Aid/Lost and Found) near Rackham Fountain. Pain relievers, antacids, etc., are available in vending machines at certain restrooms.

Lost Children

We advise the use of name tags for small children to facilitate their return to parents or guardians. Please have a designated spot in the Zoo to meet if you and your group are separated. Lost children are taken to the Park Safety Office at the west underpass near Rackham Fountain.

Picnic Areas

Guests are welcome to bring their own food and beverages into the Zoo. Several picnic areas are available throughout the Zoo. Tables are on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be reserved. No personal grills or alcoholic beverages are permitted. Please refrain from bringing drinking straws and Styrofoam products into the Zoo. Open fires on the ground are not permitted.

To reserve a picnic site for corporate picnics, family reunions, etc., contact Megan Warren at (248) 336-5805, or mwarren@dzs.org.

Refreshments

There are several concession stands conveniently located throughout the park (locations open seasonally). Items that are generally available include hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, hot dogs, garden burgers, French fries, pizza, potato chips, soft drinks, frozen beverages, ice cream and coffee. We also have a location with an all-vegan menu. Operated by Service Systems Associates.

Reusable Bottles and Bags

As part of our award-winning Greenprint initiative, the Detroit Zoo no longer sells bottled water, a decision that is keeping 60,000 plastic bottles out of the waste stream annually. Visitors may bring their own water bottles or purchase inexpensive reusable bottles at Zoo concessions, which can be refilled for free at one of 20 filtered-water stations throughout the grounds. Additionally, the Zoo no longer provides plastic bags for gift shop purchases; visitors are encouraged to bring their own bags or purchase wildlife-themed reusable bags at Zoofari Market, Arctic Outpost, Drake Passage Gifts or any of the souvenir stands.

  • Map

    full-screen-icon1 Full Screen Map


    Print Maps

    Printed maps are available at ticket booths and at the customer care office near the front gate, available in English, Spanish and Arabic.

  • Zoo Information
    Coupons

    We do not accept coupons from outside organizations, including Groupon..

    Animal Feedings/Demonstrations

    In order to encourage natural behavior, feeding and socialization activities occur throughout the day. This is called “animal enrichment”. View our enrichment schedule on the “Today at the Zoo” page.

    Animal Viewing

    The Detroit Zoo is home to more than 2,000 animals of 240 species and has 125 acres of expansive, naturalistic habitats designed to meet the animals’ needs. Whether or not animals are active during a specific time depends on many factors, including the species, the individual animal, and oftentimes, the temperature. We try to create habitats with complex environments that stimulate species-specific behaviors. The animals have many choices for how they spend their time — there are opportunities to patrol the habitat, wallow in the mud, climb a tree, swim in a pool, or nap in the shade. If you do not immediately see an animal, we encourage you to spend a few minutes looking around and talking to the docents who can point out the animals if they are resting somewhere.

    Giraffe Encounter

    Public feeding opportunities are available at the Giraffe Encounter, an elevated viewing platform overlooking the giraffe habitat, bringing guests to eye level with the Zoo’s tallest creatures. From late spring through early fall, 50 patrons per feeding are able to purchase a ticket for $5 from the Ambassador Booth at the main entrance of the Zoo, redeemable for a supervised opportunity to feed the giraffes. Feeding opportunities are available subject to the giraffes’ appetites, the weather and special events. Feeding times may vary and no other food or giraffe-feeding opportunities are permitted.

    Tauber Family Railroad

    Operates May through September, weekends in October. One-way ride only. Riders must disembark at the other train station and wait in line if they wish to reboard for a round-trip ride. Stations are located at the front of the Zoo near the Main Entrance and in the far northwest corner of the Zoo (Africa), past the rhino habitat. Folding wheelchairs, wagons, and folding strollers can be accommodated. Rented Zoo strollers and wagons cannot be taken on the train.

    Facility Availability

    Occasionally, a building or facility may be closed to the public for part or all of a day due to animal health needs, maintenance repairs, or special events. Sorry, refunds and rain checks are not available. Schedule subject to change without notice.

    Guided Tours

    Available for students, scout troops and other groups, guided, walking tours on the topic of your choice are available September – April. Just ask your reservationist when you call (248) 541-5717, Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., April – October (Wednesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., November-March) to make your group reservation. Tour reservations must be made at least two (2) weeks in advance.

    May to August, it’s Animal Answer Days throughout the park. Our volunteer educators, Docents, will be stationed at major animal exhibits to answer questions. Educators: if you need ideas for your visit or classroom or to learn about other programs contact the Docent Office at (248) 541-5717 ext. 3801.

  • Safety and Enjoyment

    We want your visit to be pleasant and safe, so we ask that you observe the following rules:

    No-Feeding Policy
    Visitors are strictly prohibited from feeding any animal at the Detroit Zoo. This includes peacocks, geese and squirrels. Animals have nutritionally balanced diets, and throwing food and other objects into habitats may risk their health and safety. Guests who violate this rule will be escorted from the Zoo.

    No Admittance to Restricted Areas
    For your own safety and the safety of your children, NEVER get close to the animals. Do not climb over, lean on or lift children onto or over fences. Please stay out of service areas.

    Security Services
    Guests are required to abide by all posted rules and regulations and to follow the direction of Security Officers.

    • Smoking and vaping are restricted to one designated area (see map).
    • Shoes and shirts are required.
    • No obscene or indecent clothing.
    • No bicycle riding, ball or frisbee playing, skateboarding, roller or in-line skating, shoes with built-in skates, tricycles and scooters.
    • Segways and other similar upright assisted mobility devices are not permitted on Zoo grounds.
    • Absolutely no pets on Zoo grounds or in parking lots.
    • No grills or alcohol.
    • No distribution of merchandise or printed literature of any kind in the Zoo.
    • No collection of signatures. No solicitation.
    • No radios or televisions.
    • No balloons (they are dangerous to animals).

     

    Drone Policy
    The use or deployment of unmanned, remote-controlled, autonomous, or semi-autonomous aircraft (including drones, model aircraft, rockets, and similar aerial devices) on or over the Detroit Zoo can pose a serious and direct threat to the safety and welfare of Detroit Zoo animals, patrons, and staff. Animals may be startled or panicked by such devices, and these devices pose an immediate physical threat due to propulsion systems and/or uncontrolled flight.

    Except as specifically authorized under Federal Aviation Administration, and with the permission of the DZS Chief Life Sciences Officer and Chief Operating Officer, operation or launch of such a device from the Detroit Zoo property is prohibited. While the DZS cannot control the conduct of individuals located off Detroit Zoo property, the DZS further prohibits overflight of the Detroit Zoo by such a device, except as specifically authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration. In the event that such a device lands on Detroit Zoo property, the device will be confiscated.

  • Service Animal Admittance Policy

    Domestic  animals  may  present  a  risk  of  disease  transmission  to  other  animals  and  are  not allowed in the Detroit Zoo or the Belle Isle Nature Center unless providing assistance as a service animal to a guest.  Domestic animals can also be distracting to the animals that live at the Zoo and may pose a problem for guests who may not welcome their interaction.

    Service Animals

    Applicable service animals are limited to dogs and in some cases, miniature horses. Bona fide service animals are allowed to enter the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center to provide assistance to guests in accordance with applicable  federal, state and local regulations. Service animals must meet the following conditions:

    • Service animals must be at least 12 months of age as specified by Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) 750.502c.  Animals under 12 months of age are more likely to carry parasites or other pathogens that pose a direct threat to our patrons and animal residents.
    • Service animals must be under the “effective control” of the individual with the disability, in accordance with ADA.  “Effective control” means “service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices.  In that case the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal or other effective controls”.
    • Service animals must be “on duty” and accompany a person who is in need of the animal’s assistance.
    • Service animals must not threaten the health or safety of guests or animals, or disrupt the operation of the Detroit Zoo or Belle Isle Nature Center.

    Service animals are not allowed in the following areas of the Detroit Zoo as their presence may threaten the health or safety of guests and/or animals or disrupt the operation of the Detroit Zoo:

    • Australian Outback Adventure immersive walkway (exterior viewing is available)
    • Free-Flight Aviary
    • Simulator Ride (non-motion rides are available upon request)

     

    Service Animals in Training

    Service animals in training will be allowed in the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center subject to the following conditions:

    • The service animal must be at least 12 months of age.
    • The service animal must be under the effective control of a certified trainer or guide who possesses photo identification stating that he or she is a trainer, or an employee of a training organization, included on the Michigan Department of Labor’s list of recognized trainers.
    • Service animals are not allowed in the following areas of the Detroit Zoo as their presence may threaten the health or safety of guests and/or animals or disrupt the operation of the Detroit Zoo:
      • Australian Outback Adventure immersive walkway (exterior viewing is available)
      • Free-Flight Aviary
      • Simulator Ride (non-motion rides are available upon request)

    Service animals that do not meet the above criteria, or otherwise threaten the health or safety of other patrons and animals, will, be denied access to, or removed from, the Detroit Zoo or Belle Isle Nature Center.  The guardians or owners of service animals who are denied access or removed from the premises may still enter the Detroit Zoo or Belle Isle Nature Center without the service animal.     The  Society  cannot  allow  animals  of  any  kind  to  be  left  unaccompanied   in  an automobile in a Zoo parking area.

    Contact us with questions about the Service Animal Admittance Policy.

  • Special Needs

    Autism and Other Special Needs

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    The Detroit Zoo is committed to accommodating individuals with diverse backgrounds and learning abilities, including autism. Our staff has participated in the Michigan Autism Safety Training (MAST) provided by the Autism Alliance of Michigan, which provided our staff a better understanding of autism, its characteristics, and how to better recognize and communicate with people with autism.

    The Detroit Zoo is committed to accommodating individuals with diverse backgrounds and learning abilities, including autism. Our staff has participated in the Michigan Autism Safety Training (MAST) provided by the Autism Alliance of Michigan, which provided our staff a better understanding of autism, its characteristics, and how to better recognize and communicate with people with autism.

    Additionally, social narratives have been developed that can be utilized to family members with special needs about the Detroit Zoo prior to visiting. This tool provides colorful pictures, easy-to-understand terms, and a visual to reference in preparation for a visit. It also provides insight to families as to what might be too sensory-stimulating for some individuals, or better prepare the person for what they might experience. We have a strong desire to be autism- and special needs-friendly, and hope for all families to have an enjoyable experience the Zoo!

    Additionally, social narratives have been developed that can be utilized to family members with special needs about the Detroit Zoo prior to visiting. This tool provides colorful pictures, easy-to-understand terms, and a visual to reference in preparation for a visit. It also provides insight to families as to what might be too sensory-stimulating for some individuals, or better prepare the person for what they might experience. We have a strong desire to be autism- and special needs-friendly, and hope for all families to have an enjoyable experience the Zoo!


    Detroit Zoo and Autism Narrative (PDF)


     

    Mobility Hearing Accessibility
    Guest Amenities Available for Rent or Deposit Wheechairs and Electric Conveyance Vehicles (EVC)s are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Assistive Listening Devices are available in the Ford Education Center Theater for our guests with mild to moderate hearing loss. Electronic-assist doors are located in the Ford Education Center and Arctic Café.
    Rental Locations The Chrysler Main Train Station and Africa Train Station are open for rentals April through October. The Guest Relations Office has rentals available during the winter months. All restrooms are equipped with an accessible stall.
    Other Rental Information Must be 18 years of age or older to rent ECVs. No reservations accepted. Available on a same-day basis and may only be used inside the Zoo.
    Other Rental Information Segways are prohibited at the Detroit Zoo; however, if you have a personal Segway and a physician’s note indicating that the Segway is a prescribed mobility device, you will be offered the use of an ECV or wheelchair free of charge. If you would like to have a sign language, oral or cued speech interpreter, please call 248-541-5717 x3750 at least 2 weeks in advance of your tour, education program, etc. Please be specfic about the type of interpreter, e.g., ASL or signed English.
    Safety in the Zoo Mobility scooters/EVCs: Please keep your speed to the walking speed of those around you.
    Safety in the Zoo Adjust and lower speed while maneuvering through enclosed spaces such as restrooms, merchandise and food and beverage locations.
    Safety in the Zoo Park your device in safe locations clear from walkways and stairs.
    Safety in the Zoo In the event of an evacuation, guests may be required to walk certain distances and navigate stairs or narrow walkways. In this case, please have a member of your party assist you or wait in a vehicle for assistance.
    Safety in the Zoo Some attractions require guests to transfer from their wheelchairs or ECVs to the attraction. Zoo staff are not permitted to physically assist guests in the transfer.

     

    Mobility

    • Wheelchairs and Electric Conveyance Vehicles (EVC)s are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
    • The Chrysler Main Train Station and Africa Train Station are open for rentals April through October. The Guest Relations Office has rentals available during the winter months.
    • Must be 18 years of age or older to rent ECVs. No reservations accepted. Available on a same-day basis and may only be used inside the Zoo.
    • Segways are prohibited at the Detroit Zoo; however, if you have a personal Segway and a physician’s note indicating that the Segway is a prescribed mobility device, you will be offered the use of an ECV or wheelchair free of charge.
    • Mobility scooters/EVCs: Please keep your speed to the walking speed of those around you.
    • Adjust and lower speed while maneuvering through enclosed spaces such as restrooms, merchandise and food and beverage locations.

    Hearing

    • Assistive Listening Devices are available in the Ford Education Center Theater for our guests with mild to moderate hearing loss.
    • If you would like to have a sign language, oral or cued speech interpreter, please call 248-541-5717 x3750 at least 2 weeks in advance of your tour, education program, etc. Please be specific about the type of interpreter, e.g., ASL or signed English.

    Accessibility

    • Electronic-assist doors are located in the Ford Education Center and Arctic Café.
    • All restrooms are equipped with an accessible stall.