The next time you head to Potter Park Zoo, you'll be able to amaze your friends and family with this list of 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lansing's Potter Park Zoo. Or, maybe they'll just find you annoying and will try to ditch you over by the black rhino exhibit. Either way, here are some fun facts about one of the leading attractions in the Lansing area.

  • 1

    Independence Day

    Independence Day won't be the only thing that we're celebrating this 4th of July. We'll also be celebrating the day that J.W. and Sarah Potter donated 58 acres of land to the City of Lansing. Of course, that land became known as Potter Park. The official dedication ceremony of the land was held on the 4th of July way back in 1915. The park became such a big hit that the Potter's ended up donating more land--an additional 27 acres--two years later and then Potter Park Zoo officially opened in 1920.

  • 2

    The First Animal

    What was the first animal to arrive at Potter Park Zoo? Well, that would be the Elk. It was actually transferred from Moore’s Park in 1920. Later that year, several other animals were brought to the Potter Park Zoo including a bear, a pair of raccoons, and several deer. The popular Bird and Reptile House was completed in 1929 and the Lion House was finished in 1930.

  • 3

    B-I-N-G-O

    B-I-N-G-O was not only the popular name for the farmer's dog, it was also that name of the first elephant that came to Potter Park Zoo. Bingo the Elephant was purchased back in 1972 by the Friends of the Zoo Society for $4,453. The society was a group of local residents that formed in the late 60s that helped to raise money for the Potter Park Zoo that was facing some serious financial issues at the time.

  • 4

    Black Rhino History

    In June 2011, two eastern black rhinoceros, Jello and Doppsee, were brought to Potter Park Zoo and history was made in 2019 at Potter Park Zoo when Doppsee, the black rhino, gave birth to the first black rhino calf to be born at the zoo in its 100-year history. To make it even more special, the baby rhino was born on Christmas Eve. The baby rhino ended up being named Jaali.

  • 5

    100 Years

    Potter Park Zoo is celebrating 100 years this year. Well, at least they were trying to before they had to shut down due to COVID-19. As part of the 100 year celebration, Potter Park Zoo has added over 20 new signs throughout the zoo that give guests an in depth look at what Potter Park Zoo has looked like over the past 100 years. As mentioned above, the Potter Park Zoo reopened to the public on June 18th and is open every day from 9 am until 5 pm through Labor Day.