animal encounters zoo

The Children’s Zoo features a variety of animals ranging from small insects to our large holstein cow, Cutie Pie. We are currently home to over 150 animals (and that’s not including the thousands of insects!) year round.

While visiting the zoo, you may run in to a few of our feathered friends walking the beautiful gardens and walkways. Peacocks and peahens roam our zoo grounds and make sure to watch for those waddling ducks around the large pond.

Be sure to take part in ourhands-on experiences with our hoof stock yards which include african pygmy goats, alpine goats, miniature horses and cows.

Our black-footed penguins will wow you with their amazing speed and grace as they glide effortlessly through the water. The capuchin monkeys will make you laugh (or duck) as they search for the tasty treats the keepers have hidden in their exhibit. Or perhaps you would prefer to take a walk-a-bout through our eastern grey kangaroo exhibit. One may even hop across your path! Enjoy the colors and fragrances of the breathtaking gardens as you stroll along our paths. 



Two main characteristics of mammals are that they are endothermic (warm-blooded) and have vertebrae (having a backbone). However, these characteristics are not only unique to mammals. Other animals which are not mammals can also have these characteristics. One trait that makes mammals unique is the presence of mammary glands, with which mothers produce milk to feed their young. The word "mammal" is derived from this characteristic. Mammals give birth to live young, with the exception of egg-laying monotremes (platypus and echidna). All mammals develop fur at some point during development, but not all keep it throughout their lifespan (including humans!). Mammals have one main jaw bone which attaches directly to the skull, unlike other animals which may have many bones comprising the jaw that may not attach to the skull.  Mammals are also unique in that they have only one primary artery leading to the heart, while other animal groups can have multiple. 

Otter RWolf silhouetteClydesdale silhouettetamarin silhouette

African Pygmy Goats Miniature Horse
Alpaca North American River Otter
Alpine Goat Nubian Goats
Black-footed Cats Pot-bellied Pig*
Black-tailed Prairie Dog Rabbit
Cotton-Top Tamarin Scottish Highland Cattle
Domestic Donkey Shire Horse
Eastern Grey Kangaroo White-tailed Deer
Holstein Cattle White-throated Capuchin
Mexican Wolves  
Miniature Donkey  



Birds are also endothermic, vertebrate animals. All birds are egg-layers, and although not all birds are born with feathers, all eventually develop feathers. Not all birds can fly, but those that can have specialized feathers, bone structures, and muscle mass which give them this ability. Birds do not have jaws with teeth. Instead, they have lightweight beaks or bills, and the shape of the beak or bill varies based on the type of food the bird consumes.



Peacock silhouettePenguin silhouetteCockatoo silhouetteEagle silhouette

American Crow Military Macaw
Bantam Chicken Moluccan Cockatoo*
Bald Eagle Orpington Chicken
Barred Owl Patagonian Conure*
Black-footed Penguin Peafowl
Blue and Gold Macaw Red-tailed Hawk
Cockatiels Ring-necked Dove
Dominique Chickens Turkey Vulture
Domestic Ducks Yellow-crested Cockatoo*
Eclectus Parrot* Umbrella Cockatoo*


Reptiles are ectothermic (cold-blooded), vertebrate animals. They regulate their body temperature by either seeking or avoiding the sun’s heat. There are five main groups of reptiles which include: turtles and tortoises, lizards, snakes, crocodiles and alligators, and tuatara. Reptiles have scaly skin which helps to keep their body’s moisture in. They are mostly egg layers, but there are a few species that have live birth. Mothers who lay eggs generally leave the nest once the eggs are laid, leaving the hatchlings to fend for themselves.

Lizard silhouetteTortoise silhouetteAlligator silhouette

American Alligator Leopard Tortoise*
Boa Constrictor* Red-eared Slider*
Central American Ornate Wood Turtle* Royal Python*
White-throated Mud Turtle*


Amphibians are also ectothermic, vertebrate animals. They too rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature. Amphibians can be broken down into three main groups: salamanders and newts, frogs and toads, and caecilians. Most have soft, moist skin and tend to live in moist places or near water. Amphibians absorb nutrients and moisture through their skins. Because of this, amphibians are among the first to suffer in areas with air and water pollution. They can live on land and in the water. Amphibians experience a developmental process called metamorphosis meaning they start as small larvae that then begins to morph and change in body shape, changing their diet and lifestyle.

Frog silhouetteCattailFrog silhouette


Invertebrates are animals that do not have a backbone. There is a wide range of species that are classified as invertebrates, but besides the lack of backbone, not much else is shared. Invertebrates make up around 97% of the world! Invertebrates can be found in almost any habitat including forest, desert, and the ocean. Invertebrate groups include spiders and scorpions (arachnids), insects, worms, centipedes, snails, clams, mussels, jellyfish, squid, crabs, and sea stars, just to name a few.

Cockroach silhouetteTarantula silhouette

Chilean Rose Tarantula* Honey Bee
Madagascar Hissing Cockroach*

* Animals are not on exhibit. They are used for educational programs only.

 **All animal information is meant to be an educational resource. It may not include all the latest scientific information. Though we edit our information we cannot guarantee the accuracy of all facts presented.



Brew at the Zoo logo

Thursday, June 20
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.

The grown-up party of the summer to raise funds for the Children's Zoo!  Don't miss an evening of music, good food, and beer and wine sampling.

Tickets are $50 per person.  Call (989) 759-1408 to purchase tickets.

Food provided by:

Outback Steakhouse, Dave's Texas Pit Bar B-Q, and the Patisserie

 Thank you to our sponsors!

  Event Underwriter $2500  

Team One Credit Union  

Entertainment Sponsor $1500
Music provided by Marty Viers and the Music Doctors 

Hausbeck Pickles & Peppers

    Afterglow Sponsor $750  

West Side Bar Owners Association 

  Pilsner $750  

Rifkin Scrap Iron

Cinderella Inc.

   Lager $750    

Midwestern Surgical Associates, P.C.

S. Shaheen, M.D.     S. Kais, M.D.             L. Meyer, NP 
M. Sullivan, M.D.  V. Stalin, M.D.  Z. Retzler, PA-C 
W. Solh, M.D.  T. Diven, M.D.  M. Breidinger, PA-C  
Y. Yoon, M.D.  A. Maldonado, M.D.  H. Richards, NP 
T. Hackett, M.D.  L. Ansari, M.D.   

Ziba The Medical Spa

  IPA $750   


  Stout $750  

Michigan Truck Spring

   Pint $500  

Charles and Adeline Barth Foundation

Servpro of Saginaw County

Fordney Club of Saginaw County


Brew crowdBrew Carousel RaceCarousel race winner

Photos l-r:  2012 Brew crowd, Celebration Square Carousel Race, Celebration Square Carousel Race Winner


Carousel volunteer


Drive the famous Zoo train or operate the region’s only hand-carved carousel. Shifts are scheduled in four hour increments, so you won’t have to make a whole day commitment, unless you want to! Full training is provided.  To ensure a safe ride for everyone you must be 18 years of age to operate the rides. 


Zoo Store

Kids, candy, toys and smiles are what the Zoo Store is all about! If you enjoy helping kids of all ages satisfy a sweet tooth or find just the right little plush penguin or slithery lizard toy to take home, you’ll enjoy volunteering in the Zoo Store. Whether you have lots of time or just a little bit, we’d love to have your smiling face and helping hands making our visitors happy.

Zoo Store volunteers

Education/Special Events

Be a Zoo Camp counselor or outreach/animal handling volunteer.  Or lend a hand at a Special Event. Whether you have lots of time or just a little bit, the Zoo is the place for you to help our visitors with the complete Zoo experience.


Zoo Crew

Please visit the Zoo Crew section of the website for more information on our teen volunteer program!



Garden volunteers assist with general garden area maintenance. Approximately 12 areas have been identified as needing monthly care. This may include weeding general garden beds and pruning back shrubs. Garden volunteer work days are scheduled throughout the season. If a volunteer has been oriented by a member of the Horticulture Committee to the gardens, they may come anytime the Zoo is open to assist with routine garden maintenance care.

Volunteer now!

Release and Waiver of Liability (PDF)


Seasonal Employment at the Zoo:

The Children's Zoo is currently seeking qualified applicants for the following positions:

  • Admissions
  • Zoo Store
  • Concessions
  • Grounds
  • Exhibit Educator

Interested applications should fill out the application below and mail to or drop off in person at:

Children's Zoo at Celebration Square
1730 S. Washington Ave.
Saginaw, MI 48601

Download Job Application (PDF)


Volunteer Internships:

Seasonal internships are available in the Animal Collections and Education departments. 

Animal Collection Internships offer the opportunity to gain an understanding of what it takes to maintain a vibrant animal collection in a zoological park setting. Internship positions are considered volunteers.

Animal Collections Internship Posting 2016 (PDF)

Education Internships offer the opportunity to gain an understanding of the various types of programs used to educate the public about the natural world in a Zoological Park setting.  Internship positions are considered volunteers.

Education Internship Posting 2015 (PDF)

Social Media & Communication internship offer the opportunity for an individual to gain experience communicating a business’ mission and vision with the public in an effective and engaging way. Internship positions are considered volunteers.

Social Media & Communications Internship Posting 2016 (PDF)

If you are seeking an internship for a different department, please send a letter briefly describing the type and requirements of the internship to:

Children's Zoo at Celebration Square
Attn: Zoo Internships
1730 S. Washington Ave.
Saginaw, MI 48601

Zoo Wish List

Help make our wishes come true!

Select an item from the list below, purchase the item and drop it off at the zoo and the zoo staff will make sure your favorite animal gets a great gift. Need more help on what to purchase or have a different item in mind? E-mail us for a list of more specific items or ask if something is appropriate for the animals.

Check out our wishlist on HERE for even more donation ideas!

Reptiles – Snakes, Lizards, Turtles and Tortoises

  • Natural looking hide houses
Leopard Tortoise in a paper bag

Hoof Stock – Goats, Sheep, Cows, Donkeys and Horses

Cows enjoying a box animal treat


Eclectus parrot playing on a ladder


Penguin painting


  • Non-toxic finger paints

Capuchin finger painting

Carnivores – Wolves, Otters

Keeper spraying scent on wolf fenceWolf rubbing on scent

Used for multiple types of animals

  • Radio/CD/Tape Players
  • Nature CDs or Tapes
  • Mirrors (metal)
  • Metal Bells 
  • Kong toys (all sizes, especially extra large) 
  • Toilet Paper Tubes or Paper Towel Tubes
  • Wrapping paper tubes
  • Sheets and pillow cases 
  • Blankets (without holes or tears)
  • Socks
  • Towels
  • Newspaper
  • Old Phone Books
  • Perfume and Cologne
  • Non-shiny cardboard boxes - all sizes (without tape)
  • Paper Bags – all sizes
  • Animal Crackers* - Non-iced or unfrosted only.
  • Herbs or Spices*
    • Cinnamon
    • Nutmeg
    • Ginger
    • Oregano
    • Basil
    • Catnip
    • Chili powder
    • Pumpkin pie spice
    • Cayenne pepper
    • Cumin
    • Non-salt herbs
  • Extracts
    • Vanilla, orange, lemon, coconut, strawberry, coffee, peppermint
  • Food coloring
  • Kool-aid packs (sugar free)
  • Gelatin (sugar free)
  • Uncooked Pasta
  • Construction Cones
  • Working Christmas lights
  • Unpopped popcorn
  • Tennis balls or waffle balls
  • Liver Treats (Pro Treat Freeze dried beef liver treats)
  • TV’s with built in VHS or DVD players
  • Sheets, wash cloths, other linens
*Please remember: Food items need to be in their original, unopened package and within their expiration date.

adopt a garden

In 1998, the Adopt-A-Garden program was started under the sponsorship of the Saginaw Valley Zoological Society as a way to beautify the Zoo grounds through volunteer involvement. The Zoo Horticulture Committee was entrusted with recruiting volunteer gardeners and managing the program. They began the first year with 11 gardens. Each year the gardens have grown in number and beauty, and now there are over 80 gardens spreading color and vibrance throughout the Zoo.

Honorable Mention 2012Winner 2012


Adopt-A-Gardens are assigned each year when space permits, with returning gardeners given first preference of any new available bed. Gardeners are responsible for providing their own plant material and are expected to maintain the garden for entire Zoo season.

An Adopt-A-Garden requires a weekly commitment to weed, water, fertilize and trim plants to keep the garden looking presentable at all times. Neglected sites give guests at the Zoo the impression that the rest of the Zoo is not well maintained. The Zoo has advised the Horticulture Committee that gardens that appear untended be re-assigned.

Gardeners are responsible for assisting with the fall clean-up of the gardens at the end of the season.

Winner 2012Winner 2012