Mika becomes oldest river otter in AZA-accredited facility

If you have visited the Zoo in the last four years, you have probably seen Mika, the North American river otter, sleeping in her exhibit. Unlike Bootie, the other otter that lives at the Children’s Zoo, she isn’t one for dashing around and doing flips in her pool. While she does have her spry moments, she can often be found curled up in her warm den, enjoying the senior life. On December 31st, Mika turned 20 years old, making her the oldest North American river otter living in an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility. 20 years is an amazing feat, as the average lifespan of these otters is only 8-9 years in the wild.

Thanks to the increased focus on animal welfare by zoos and aquariums that follow AZA’s strict standards, geriatric care is a growing part of a zookeeper’s job! Many of the animal residents at the Children’s Zoo have called Saginaw their home since the 1990’s! If your family has ever had to take care of an aging cat or dog, you know all about the extra effort that goes into making sure an elderly animal is comfortable. Not only do most of these senior animals require medications to help with aging joints, zookeepers must also be aware of even the slightest changes in their weights or behaviors.

Thanks to the expert staff here at the Children’s Zoo, Mika seems to be enjoying her golden years. With fresh fish and vegetables delivered to her three times per day, many of the staff members wish they could be a retired North American river otter at the Zoo.




Two new male penguins arrive in hopes to breed

The Children’s Zoo at Celebration Square is excited to announce the arrival of two male African Black-footed penguins! Robben and Bamm-Bamm have traveled all the way from Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, New York to be paired up with Dewey and Scooter, two of the females who currently reside here at the zoo.

This pairing has been recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) as part of the African Black-footed penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP). Having looked at the genetic lineage of every penguin in every AZA facility, it was decided that these four penguins were destined to meet to help save their species, which is endangered. 

Make sure to stop by the penguin exhibit this summer to give these guys a warm welcome!


A millage proposal for Saginaw County

We are so thankful for the support shown by our community! With your help, we will not only be able to continue the current quality of our animal care and educational programs, but also grow and expand! We are excited to begin planning the big changes we hope to see in the years to come. Make sure to visit our Facebook page often for updates.



Animal Stars is CLOSED

Due to the condition of the Animal Stars building, we regret to inform our visitors that we can no longer allow access to it. The animals have been relocated off exhibit until a solution can be found. We hope to bring our visitors face to face with our scaly, creepy, and crawly friends again soon… stay tuned!


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