By ELENA DURNBAUGH, Battle Creek Investigator
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) – The Binder Park petting zoo is getting a makeover this summer.
The zoo was selected as one of 100 impact projects across the country for the Lowe’s 100 Hometowns project. The initiative, which awarded 100 grants totaling $ 10 million, is part of the home improvement store’s centennial celebration.
The project, a new exhibit called Zoorassic Park, is currently under construction on the site of the old petting zoo, reports the Battle Creek Enquirer. Binder Park will feature life-size dinosaur exhibits in addition to the brachiosaurus dinosaur which has been part of the petting zoo for over 30 years.
There will be nearly 20 replica statues that people can learn, interact with, and take photos with. People will be allowed to climb some of them.
“There’s just something about dinosaurs,” said Leslie Walsh, marketing and development manager for Binder Park Zoo. “They are a timeless fascination… They are a mystery. They’re fun, but they’re pretty scary.
The exhibition will feature hands-on activities and educational programs based on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. Community events will also be held in the exhibition space, giving people the opportunity to learn and use their imaginations.
People will learn the principles of technology and engineering from the way the dinosaurs moved, Walsh said. The diversity of dinosaurs will provide lessons in adaptation.
Binder Park plans to offer storytelling hours, summer day camps and overnight stays at the petting zoo in the future, Walsh said.
“Zoorasic Park will transform the old petting zoo in a prehistoric way,” Diane Thompson, president and CEO of Binder Park Zoo, said in a statement.
In the new center, families will also learn about the importance of nature conservation from a “zooassic perspective” by exploring prehistoric life.
“The extinction of the dinosaurs, we can tie that to modern conservation,” said Leslie Walsh, spokesperson for Binder Park Zoo. “We can draw those parallels with the help of this exhibit … which maybe will help us shine a light on the things we can do now, today.”
Delivering a message about preserving and protecting nature through fun programs and experiences is at the heart of what the zoo does in the community, Walsh said.
“This is just another angle of teaching conservation, which is sometimes difficult to do,” she said.
The project was nominated by Battle Creek Lowe home improvement store on B Drive North.
“To be nominated and selected for this incredible opportunity is truly a testament to the support the zoo receives from Lowe’s and the surrounding community,” said Thompson.
Binder Park Children’s Zoo is one of three Michigan projects to be selected for the Lowe’s 100 Hometowns Project from over 2,200 admissions across the country.
“We are inspired by the national response to 100 Hometowns, which has brought people from across the country to share their remarkable stories with us and to hope how their community could be a little better,” said Lowe CEO , Marvin R. Ellison. in a press release.
The Zoorasic Park exhibit is scheduled to open to the public later this summer.
Binder Park Zoo, which is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, is a non-profit organization. To learn more about the zoo or to plan a visit, visit binderparkzoo.org.
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