I stole this from the website.
Nestled just above the Michigan/Ohio border, the Indian Creek Zoo is a walking zoo with petting areas for many animals, though I don't think it's an AZA Accredited conservation zoo like the Detroit Zoo, it is a fantastic family outing where the animals look well cared for, happy and fed. The drive was long for us, but I knew it would be and planned my Red Bulls accordingly, mostly. I did not tell my husband where we were going at all. That was half the fun! He had no idea real sloths were in his future- and in a private showing! I think I was more jazzed than he was. Especially because he had no idea what was going on and just thought I was bringing him to a zoo. Silly Chris.
When we came in I asked to keep the Sloth Encounter secret, and they happily complied and just mentioned the ticket time and sold us some cups and carrots and we were on our way. First there was an underground rabbit motel! There were probably 100 rabbits and bunnies lopping around form hole to hole looking for food, shade or sanctuary from our big feet and from kid's jam hands trying to pet them. Bunny. Heaven. But we began to wander once I realized I could not actually be faster than a rabbit to pet it. We saw a lot that we couldn't touch, you know, for fear of death, like the perfectly sunned bobcat and coatimundi. We saw some monkeys fight over a blanket for a while (seriously, though, we probably watched it for ten solid minutes), lemurs slept because it was hot as heck, and we stared in awe of the marmosets. I bet those guys could eat my face in a minute, but their adorable and tiny faces and hands undermine any fear they hope to rise in you. They also photograph like Big Foot. Blurry.
We kept walking (where I became OBSESSED with the peacocks and almost missed the 2nd reason to come behind sloths- freshly shorn baby alpacas with goofy teeth! We fed a few animals, I got really scared by an ostrich (bitches be terrifying!) and fed some camels some hay and pat them on their permed heads. Here's one now:
We also pet turkeys who were not scary or bitey (i'm lookin at you, Roscommon Zoo turkey bastard!), reindeer with soft fuzzy antlers and the usual stampede of goats at a fence looking to eat vegetables from your hand. I love them all. Basically, I love everything here except that ostrich who was scary and kept giving me side eye. Ostrich side eye. Ok, I love you, as well. But, bitch, be cool.
Heading toward the front to be early for the Encounter (he still didn't know it) we came to Puzzles the giraffe just hanging out by the gate on the side of where he was supposed to be chillin. So nobody thought the giraffe was there until they came down the hill some and saw his long ass neck craning down to eat some kid's lunch. He just wanted to play, I guess, because he was schlumped over trying to get selfies with everybody. I was petting him (possibly unsanctioned petting) and then he tried to lick my face and eat my hair. Cool, guy! So as I started to back away from his black tongue he wrapped it around my wrist (egads) and tried to eat my handbag. The pictures are unflattering but here is my great escape due to distractions of a little girl with a headband he probably also wanted to eat or wear for himself. Stylish.
We got to the sloths (late) and Chris finally figured it out because someone else was talking about wanting to do it. I was still pretty jazzed! So we go into the back area where the sloths were sleeping peacefully hidden from constant crowds of onlookers and birthday party children (of which there were 2 parties full). With our encounter passes we got to not only see Hokey and Pokey up close, but pet them, feed them, sing them songs and take photos. They were extra tired, the handlers said, because of the heat and eating a lot that morning so they weren't too playful and just lounged in bed because they knew we would feed them tons of fruit anyhow. We each got to have a sloth to ourselves for a few minutes but because the sloths looked to be getting less and less into the crowd by the minute we had to shuffle out ahead of schedule. Animals, amiright? It was still one of the coolest and sweetest things, though. For the record, these sloths are kept warm and happy, are groomed, fed, watered and snuggled appropriately. They appear to be happy where they are with fruits and lettuce galore, but it's difficult to tell because they're not cartoons where a smile is obvious. But I'm sure they are. The encounter with them is supervised by at least one handler, but usually two staff members are there for your safety and the animals'. They are professionals and can take notice if a situation grows tiresome or even dangerous with these guys. Do not be afraid to get close but also be respectful and don't give them noogies or wet willies or anything. Nobody likes that guy. Probably a high five is okay if you feel like waiting for them to raise their tiny arm up and across to you to slap skins.
This encounter was definitely worth the time and effort to get there, but it's only once in a lifetime if you let it be. The tickets are manageable, even if you decided to do ALL of the encounters offered that day!
For more information and ticket prices to Indian Creek Zoo check out their website:
It's a face licking good time! (no faces were harmed, just slimed)