Children's Zoo is FELINE great about new wild cat residents!

With tiny paws and big attitudes, the zoo's newest feline residents may be small, but they sure are mighty. Meeka and Tut are two black-footed cats, a species of wild cat found in Africa. Although they average only six pounds as an adult, don't let their small size fool you! These tenacious cats are fierce predators in the wild African grasslands and deserts, often hunting over ten prey items a night! Meeka website

Meeka is an eight year old female and Tut is an eight and a half year old male. They arrived late last year from the Birmingham Zoo, and have settled in nicely in the former serval exhibit down by the barnyard. 

For a black-footed cat, Tut is very laid back. While he may still give animal care staff a sassy hiss once in a while, he often spends his days lounging inside a log. Meeka, on the other hand, has some attitude! Between the two of them, Meeka is definitely the boss. She is independent and highly intelligent, excelling at her training. The two enjoy snacking on mice and playing with snake sheds, as well as scratching their claws against a large log. 

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the black-footed cat species is considered to be “vulnerable.” This means that their wild populations are on the decline heading toward becoming endangered and, if something is not done to remedy the problems they face, the species may go extinct. Black-footed cats face population pressures due to habitat destruction and degradation, threats from hunters, and poison traps set for other predators.  While populations in Botswana and South Africa are protected by law making it illegal to hunt them, many factors contribute to continued population decline. While Meeka and Tut are not currently a breeding pair, the two have been in the past, and may become one in the future.

Stay up-to-date on everything zoo at our Facebook page!


Tut website


Join us for our brand new early childhood education toddler program! We are excited to introduce Hatchlings, a hands on play and exploration time just for 2-4 year olds and an accompanying adult. During this 60 minute program we will sing songs, explore our senses, visit animal friends, and have a yummy snack! Meet new human friends to explore the zoo with afterwards!

Each program starts at 11am and will run for approximately an hour and include a combination of games, crafts, story time, sing-a-longs, and animal friend visits. These programs are specifically designed to promote hands on, self guided play and exploration.

Program price includes admission into the zoo for a child and an adult, a snack, and activities.

General Price - $15
Member Price - $11
Additional Child* - $5
* No more than 2 children per adult.

There are a limited number of spots available in each program, so register early!

June 2nd - On the Move
Can you hop like a rabbit or crawl like a turtle? Visit with animal favorites and play as we practice moving like animals!

June 23 – Animal Noises
Join us for story time and practice your animal noises. Visit with animals friends who can make sounds just like you! Start a band and sing a long to fun!

July 7 – Growth Spurts
Explore our children’s garden while we learn about how plants grow! Help us plant seeds and water our plants!

July 21 – Water Bugs  
Explore the wonderful world of water by playing in our sensory pools. 

August 4 – Tiny Artists
Show off your artistic talents by creating nature themed art work! Explore different paint brushes, or play with your hands! Make a masterpiece to take home with you!

August 18 - Taking Shape
Explore different shapes and colors using nature as our guide! Practice making shapes with sticks, rocks, leaves, and flowers.

Download the Registration Form for 2016


Children’s Zoo happy to announce rare birth of critically endangered species

The Children’s Zoo is excited to announce that Gizmo and Clementine, two critically endangered cotton-top tamarins, gave birth to a set of twins onn Sunday morning, February 28th. With only 6,000 cotton-top tamarins left in the wild, our breeding success plays a vital part in saving this species. 
The road ahead is full of challenges, and we are inviting the community to be a part of the ups (and possible downs) with us. We are proceeding with extreme caution and care over the next few months as cotton-top tamarin infants have a very low survival rate. Gizmo (age 6) and Clementine (age 10) are first time parents, so they have a lot to figure out. However, based on their behavior over the last few days, we are optimistic in their endeavors. Animal care staff are hard at work ensuring that the two have everything they need, which includes giving them space to be a new family and letting nature take its course.   

Clementine had grown very large over the past six months—the average gestation period for this species. By the end of it, she had almost doubled in size! On the morning of February 28th, 2016, the tamarin animal care staff member walked in to find two little monkey tails hanging off of her. Since then, “mom” and “dad” have been doing a wonderful job trading off on babysitting. In fact, Gizmo has been seen not only carrying the twins, but pampering Clementine with social grooming. Because of this, we are very hopeful the twins will beat the odds and grow into wild haired, extra adorable monkeys like their parents.

Native to a tiny portion of the rainforest in Colombia, South America, cotton-top tamarins are almost extinct in the wild. Between the 1960s and 1970s, over 60,000 individuals were captured and transported to the United States for using as laboratory test animals. This practice ended in 1974, with the exportation of this species no longer allowed. However, between the destruction of the rain forest, and the illegal pet industry, wild populations continue to decline. Only through cooperative breeding strategies, such as the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Species Survival Plan that we participate in, and a few organizations in the field, can we hope to keep cotton-top tamarins in the wild.

While the zoo is closed for season, you can stay up-to-date on baby news, as well as find pictures of the babies, on our Facebook ( and website ( The Children’s Zoo is located at 1730 S. Washington Ave in Saginaw, MI, 48601, and opens to the public on April 23rd.   


African Pygmy Goats

Capra hircus

Meet The Pygmy Goats
Flash Fraser
Flash Fraser
Conservation Status
CITES –Appendix III
IUCN –Not Evaluated


  • Bovidae


  • 10-15 years


  • Height at shoulder: Male 17-22 inches Female 17-21 inches
  • Weight: About 35 pounds


  • This breed originated in the Cameroon valley of Africa, where it was first domesticated
  • Because they are domesticated, pygmy goats can be found most places there are humans


  • Ruminants
  • In the wild: Grasses, herbs, lichens, and other plant matter
  • At the zoo: Mazuri goat chow, timothy/alfalfa hay, and grain



  • Twins are typically born, single and triple births being the next common
  • Gestation lasts about 150 days

Special adaptations

  • Pygmy goats are much shorter in stature than other domestic goats
  • Females produce a formidable amount of milk for their size
  • Goats, as well as most ruminants, have horizontal pupils!
  • Those things on Fraser's neck are called wattles. Similar to a chicken's wattle, goats and pigs are the only mammals that can develop them.


  1. Specialty Livestock: African Pygmy Goats (2010). Accessed January 2016.
  2. Appendices I, II, and III of CITES. (February 5, 2015) Accessed January 2016.
  3. Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed January 2016.
  4. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (2015) Accessed January 2016.