What's new at the Detroit Zoo this year

Planning a trip to the zoo this spring or summer? Take a look at what's new this year.

The Detroit Zoo is open year-round, but the warmer months bring a heavy flow of traffic to the zoo, which sees more than one million visitors annually.

The zoo is home to more than 2,400 animals and more than 230 species.

Here's a look at what's new at the Detroit Zoo this year

Red Panda Forest

The Detroit Zoo unveiled their newly expanded Red Panda Forest in December.

The Holtzman Wildlife Foundation Red Panda Forest provides a larger and more stimulating naturalistic environment promoting the red pandas’ overall well-being and offering an impactful educational experience for the Zoo’s more than 1.5 million annual guests.

The habitat has been reimagined, expanding to more than 14,000 square feet, with a flowing stream, a larger and more complex arboreal pathway through the habitat, misting areas to cool the red pandas in the summer, additional land for exploration and a variety of new nesting places.

More: Go inside Detroit Zoo's newly expanded red panda forest

Baby camel born in March

The Detroit Zoo is celebrating the birth of a female Bactrian camel born Wednesday, March 27, to 10-year-old mother Suren and 11-year-old father Rusty. Named Tula for a river in Mongolia, she can be seen in the camel habitat across from the Horace H. Rackham Memorial Fountain.

The newborn calf also joins siblings male Humphrey, 4, and female Rusi, who will turn 2 in July.

Bats and sloths

The Detroit Zoo provided a home for 61 animals displaced by the sudden closure of a facility in Pontiac last year.

Pontiac's Bat Zone suddenly closed in Feb. 2018 due to lack of funding. Local 4's Paula Tutman covered the story.

Fifty-four bats of three species – straw-colored fruit bats, short-tailed fruit bats and Jamaican fruit bats – as well as five southern flying squirrels, a Linnea’s two-toed sloth and a Cranwell’s horned frog were moved to the Detroit Zoo.

The bats and sloth are now viewable in The Hangout, near the rhinos and snow monkeys.

Also see: World's tallest, longest, fastest dive roller coaster is just 4-hour drive from Detroit

Jane, the baby chimpanzee

The Detroit Zoo welcomed one of their newest addition last summer: a baby chimpanzee.

A female chimpanzee was born shortly after midnight on Saturday, July 14, 2018, at the Detroit Zoo’s Great Apes of Harambee.

The baby, named Jane, arrived in the early hours of the first World Chimpanzee Day, recognizing the day in 1960 English primatologist and anthropologist Dr. Jane Goodall first traveled to what is now Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania to study the social interactions of wild chimpanzees.

Jane will be visible to Detroit Zoo visitors at the Great Apes of Harambee. The 4-acre indoor-outdoor habitat is home to 11 chimpanzees and three western lowland gorillas.

Buddy's Pizza opens

This 5,200-square-foot eatery is serving up a variety of its iconic Detroit-style square pizzas, along with gluten-free pizza, antipasto salad, Buddy Brew and other cold beverages.

It seats 163 guests and offers picturesque views of the Zoo’s historic Rackham Fountain from the dining room, an outdoor patio and a rooftop terrace that boasts the highest vantage point in the Zoo.

The eatery will be open daily year-round from 11 a.m. until the zoo closes.

Deveraux Tiger Forest

A new renovated and expanded habitat, the Deveraux Tiger Forest, will provide the zoo tigers with more room to roam and will feature naturalistic elements, including high vantage points, open spaces, trees, a cave, waterfall and a pool.

The tiger habitat is currently home to a female Amur tiger named Kisa (Russian for “kitty”), who was born at the zoo in 2003. The Amur tiger is the largest member of the cat family and is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The expansion is expected to triple the size of the habitat and will offer more viewing areas for guests, including an 85-foot-long window.

It is expected to open later this summer. 

Also see: Donut Fest coming to Detroit's Eastern Market in May

Spring and summer events

  • Meet Your Best Friend (May): Meet Your Best Friend at the Zoo is one of the nation’s largest off-site pet adoption events. The Detroit Zoological Society hosts this semiannual event in partnership with the Michigan Humane Society.  Since the event’s inception in 1993, more than 25,000 dogs, cats and rabbits have been placed into new homes at the spring and fall events.
  • Zoo Brew (May): Zoo Brew features more than 130 unique beers from select Michigan craft breweries, live music, exclusive access to the Zoo’s award-winning habitats until twilight and zookeeper talks.
  • Wild Summer Nights: The Detroit Zoo gets even wilder on Wednesday nights during July and August with our annual Wild Summer Nights concert series. Grab a blanket, pack a picnic and relax while enjoying a variety of live music from local bands. Genres vary in style each week, offering melodies of children’s, country, folk, classic rock, jazz and Motown. You can also explore the Zoo to see what your favorite animals are up to after hours.
  • Wild Beasts Wild Wine: Wild Beasts Wild Wine features more than 50 local and national wineries and vineyards, live music, exclusive access to the Zoo’s award-winning habitats at twilight and zookeeper talks.

What's not changing

Online ticket prices:

  • $13-18 / Adults 19 years – 64
  • $10-15 / Children, 2 years – 18
  • $10-15 / Seniors, 65+
    • + Parking / $8

Same-day prices at admission gates:

  • $18 / Adults 19 years – 64
  • $15 / Children, 2 years – 18
  • $15 / Seniors, 65+
  • $15 / Active military with ID
    • + Parking / $8

To buy online tickets or to see group rates, field trip info and rentals, click here. The zoo raised general admission ticket prices last year for the first time in six years.


Summer hours, which run from April to September, are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In July and August, the zoo is open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays.

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