Everyone knows there aren’t any alligators in Michigan. Or are there?!? If you want to see alligators, oryx, and eight kinds of antelope, then be sure to put Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park on your list of must-see destinations.
Located in Alto, Michigan, Boulder Ridge is a hidden gem. And I’m not kidding about the hidden part. In fact, our family lived about 10 miles away from the park for over 10 years before ever hearing about it. But after our first visit, this park became one of our favorite destinations in this area.
Boulder Ridge has over 64 species of mammals, 36 types of reptiles & amphibians, 70 species of birds, and 9 species of invertebrates and fish. Many of their animals are considered rare or endangered. One of the things I most enjoy about this park is that you’re able to get up much closer to the animals than you can in many zoos.
One of the most disappointing things about visiting some zoos is that you pass by exhibit after exhibit barely getting a glimpse of the animals because they are hiding or are quite far away. Boulder Ridge has done a good job of balancing the needs of the animals with the enjoyment of their visitors.
The animals all look content which makes visiting this park a delight. As an animal lover, I’m always distressed when I go to venues and the animals are pacing or look agitated. I’ve never seen anything like that while we’ve been at Boulder Ridge.
Boulder Ridge is also a great place to get photos of animals. Not only are the exhibits visitor-friendly, but they also provide opportunities for people to handle the animals. June 3rd is Reptile Day where they let people touch a variety of snakes, turtles, lizards, and crocodilians from around the world.
Of course, some of the reptiles at the park are a bit too large and/or dangerous for people to hold!
They also arrange Animal Encounters for school (or homeschool) groups where the kids are allowed to handle a wide variety of animals while learning more in-depth information about them. I did this with my boys a few years back and we all thoroughly enjoyed it!
My very favorite thing to do at Boulder Ridge is to feed the animals. They have several different food items available for visitors to purchase. And there are lots of different types of animals who are happy to eat the food you offer. My favorite animals to feed were the giraffes.
One of my sons loved feeding the parakeets. All of the boys in our group enjoyed the challenge to see who could attract the most birds at one time!
My other son enjoyed feeding what I think is one of the eight kinds of antelope. 🙂
This giraffe was so smart. She continued making eye contact with me while we were walking around the park until I finally caved in and bought her some carrots. I think she would have preferred lettuce but she was polite and ate what she was offered.
This sweet camel was also fun to feed! And she wasn’t as picky about what I was offering to her.
Boulder Ridge also has quite a few animals who require larger living quarters and visitors are taken on a bus tour to view them. This ride is included in the price of admission.
Things You Should Know
- Able to get up close to the animals
- Able to interact with many of the animals and feed them as well
- A bit pricey!
- Unable to walk through the back section of the zoo and it can be difficult to get pictures while riding the bus
- Adults 12 & over $14.00
- Seniors 62 & over $12.00
- Ages 3-11 $10.00
- ages 2 & under FREE
- Open April 27 – Mid October
- Monday 10 am – 6 pm last admission at 5 pm
- Tuesday 10 am – 8 pm last admission at 7 pm
- Wednesday – Saturday 10 am – 6 pm last admission at 5 pm
- Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm last admission at 5 pm
- Open All Holidays during our season: Memorial Day, July 4th & Labor Day
How Do I Get There?
For More Information
Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park
8313 Pratt Lake Dr. SE
Alto, MI 49302