Feb. 23 2011 12:00 AM

Penguin exhibit, Potter Park Zoo


Property: Penguin exhibit, Potter Park Zoo

Owner: Ingham County

Humans weren’t the only Lansing residents snowed in Monday morning. According to zookeeper Dennis Sweeney, the penguins at the Potter Park Zoo found their exhibit impassable after Sunday night’s blizzard. But after Sweeney freed their pathways of snow, it was business as usual — swimming, eating and entertaining the public.

That’s right — the penguin habitat (and the zoo itself) is open year round. A wintertime visit to the zoo is a real treat because from Nov. 1 to March 31 the zoo is free of charge. And the penguin exhibit is most attractive with a dusting of snow. Magellanic penguins from South America were chosen because they suit Lansing’s natural and built environment at the Potter Park Zoo.

A winter visit to the zoo can be incredibly rewarding. With a collection of animals suited to our climate and well designed exhibits, more than 90 percent of the zoo’s animals are on display in the winter months, says zoo spokesman Jake Petchel. Zero crowds mean it is far easier to see the animals and, again, it’s free.

Cleverly designed exhibits feature not only the animals but also man-made habitats that are a combination of beauty and innovation. Each exhibit is designed to meet the needs of the animals both aesthetically and practically. The penguin exhibit looks and feels like the southern tip of South America, giving the penguins and visitors a sense of place. The zoo ensures the comfort of the birds, including not only the heated boxes, but also warm weather conveniences like misters, fan-cooled rocks and a chilled pool to a cool 60-65 degrees in the summer months.

Zoo hours and admission

Potter Park Zoo is open every day of the year except Dec. 25.

Nov. 1-March 31

10 a.m.-4p.m.
General admission free

April 1-Oct. 31
9 a.m.-6 p.m.