History of the Celebration Square Carousel 

The Celebration Square CarouselIn the spring of 1996, Saginaw Valley Zoological Society (SVZS) President Julie Stevens and board members began researching ways to strengthen and improve Zoo programs. This resulted in the suggestion that a carousel at the Zoo would be a delightful addition to the community’s recreational facilities.

Inspired by the concept, City Councilman Earle DeGuise mentioned the idea to Jerry Willis, a retired contractor, who developed a plan to replicate some of the classic carousel figures of the early 1900s. Mr. Willis consulted with the Tri-City Wood Carvers, whose enthusiasm for the carousel was unanimous. The formal presentation was made in the fall of 1996.

With the help of Delta College, volunteers had a space to begin work on all of the components for the Celebration Square Carousel. Soon, the space was filled with volunteers who helped with a range of jobs including carving, sanding, and even the all important job of sweeping up the wood chips.

Each animal is created with a hollow body to allow for contraction and expansion of wood under a variety of environmental conditions. The necks and heads are also hollow.

The Celebration Square Carousel was finished and ready for riders on July 18, 1998. It took 18 months, over 40,000 volunteer hours, and cost $750,000.

Animals of the Celebration Square CarouselCarousel Horses

Boy Bunny                                               Christmas Horse - Miss Holly 
Girl Bunny  Cabbage Horse
Signature Horse (Lead)  Scottish Highland Pony
Native American Horse  Trappers' Horse
Children's Pony Zebra
Bavarian Armored Horse Fish Scale, Semi-Armored Horse 
Zebra  Viking-Armored Horse 
Midnight Blue Dapple  Sea Monster 
Cowboy Horse  Mexican Pony 
Flag Pony  Confederate Military Horse 
Calvary Pony  Indian Pony 


Along with the animals of the Celebration Square Carousel, there are also two chariot seats, ideal for those who wish to sit on a bench instead of the back of an animal. The first of the two chariots is designed after the Goodridge Brothers Photo Shop. The brothers photographed much of the region’s lumbering history. The second chariot, Dragons, takes you into a fantasy world of the sea including fire breathing dragons.

Goodrich Brothers Chariot Dragon Chariot

The Carousel also has carved rounding boards with local historical scenes and framed artwork.  

The historical scenes include:

                                   Postal Delivery at Messner Hotel

   Indian Camp on River                                      Lumber Camp in Winter 
   Potter Street Train Station  Lumber Camp in Summer 
   Postal Delivery at Messner Hotel  City Water Works 
   Early Saginaw Church Scene  Caledonia Coal Mine 
   Great Fire of 1893  Great Flood of 1904 
   Ships Loading Lumber on River  Water Pump on the Corner 


 The Upper Scenery Panels on the Celebration Square Carousel also have many additional historical scenes including: 

The Flying Merkel

   Crystal Ballroom: Bancroft Hotel                        Fire and Police 
   Migrant Workers at Harvest  The Fordney House 
   Bliss Park  WW II, B-24 Bomber 
   Fort Saginaw  Farm Scene 
   Cheif Shop-en-a-gons  Flying Merkel Motor Cycle
   Tri City Wood Carvers  Making Ice on the River 




  The Lower Scenery Panels include:   

                                Fire at City Hall 1935

   Boating on the Bay, 1922                                 Stardust, Boating on the Bay 
   Ice Fishing on Saginaw River  Fire at City Hall - 1935 
   Winter Farm Scene  Interior of School Room 
   Castle Post Office  Gathering Maple Syrup 



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. Oh, and let’s not forget the little pot-bellied pig who rules it all.

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 and through our colorful butterfly house. 



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 Holstein Cattle
Alpaca Miniature Donkey
Alpine Goat Miniature Horse
Black-tailed Prairie Dog Miniature Zebu
Bobcat North American River Otter
Clydesdale Horse Pot-bellied Pig
Cotton-Top Tamarin Rabbits
Domestic Donkey Scottish Highland Cattle
Eastern Grey Kangaroo Sugar Glider*
Grey Wolf White-throated Capuchin



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 Eclectus Parrot
Bantam Chicken Emu
Bald Eagle Military Macaw
Barred Owl Moluccan Cockatoo
Black-footed Penguin Orpington Chicken
Blue and Gold Macaw Patagonian Conure
Campbell Duck Peafowl
Cockatiels Red-tailed Hawk
Dominique Chickens Ring-necked Dove
Domestic Ducks Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  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*
Green Anole* 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.



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.

Reptiles – Snakes, Lizards, Turtles and Tortoises

  • Earth Worms (Bait Shops)
  • 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

Small Animals – Sugar Glider and rabbits


  • Non-toxic finger paints

Capuchin finger painting

Carnivores – Wolves, Serval and 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 non-frosted 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
 *Please remember: Food items need to be in their original, unopened package and within their expiration date.

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)



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 unpaid.

Animal Collections Internship Posting 2015 (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 unpaid.

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 unpaid.

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