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Potawatomi Zoo, South Bend

(4/5 based on 190+ reviews on the web)
The Potawatomi Zoo began as a modest duck pond in Leeper Park in the spring of 1902, originally called the South Bend Zoo, it is the oldest zoo in Indiana. The venue saw minimal growth and the location was changed in 1912 when a herd of deer were moved to Potawatomi Park. The new zoo was based out of a house on Wall Street which had been used by the Anti-Tuberculosis League to house TB patients.

In 1970 progress toward the formation of a Zoological Society was in full swing with the help of the Jayshe's. Committees were formed to create the charter, by-laws and structure/mission of the organization. By July 1971 this was accomplished. The original name of the Society was the St. Joseph Valley Friends of the Zoo. Ernest Litweiler was the first Board President, he was a biology teacher at John Adams High School.

The St. Joseph Valley Friends of the Zoo became an integral part of the renovations that took place in the mid 70s that changed the Zoo from a menagerie/collection of animals into a modern zoo with larger spaces for animals.

Potawatomi Zoological Society projects have included the Chimpanzee exhibit (1995), Asian Carnivores (1998), Alligator (1999), the state of the art Veterinary Hospital (2002) - thanks to some very generous donors, the Potawatomi Zoo Train (2004) and the North American River Otter exhibit (2011).

The Potawatomi Zoological Society continues to work with the Zoo to fund exhibits, enrich the lives of the animals and provide funding to educate Zoo staff.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • While visiting in South Bend, we decided to go to the zoo. It was very clean & well managed. Saw lots of animals of all sizes and from all parts of the world. The layout of the zoo was very nice, easy...  more »
  • We love this zoo! It is a very nice zoo given the size of South Bend. Zookeepers always very friendly, animals well cared for and always something new going on. We will be members again next year!  more »
  • We love visiting new zoo's, and this became a quick favorite. It's quaint yet offers alot of different animals. The exhibits allow you to get a close encounter, with most of the animals. The reptile h...  more »
Google
  • Small zoo great for young kids. I like that I walk through it in a couple hours with my 2 and 4 year old.
  • We buy a membership every year! They also do Trick or Treating there! Great place for kids!
  • kinda sad. Very small for animals. Only has like two or three cool attractions. Revamp the whole thing.
  • Small but good zoo. My son really likes the park just outside the zoo, a real bonus giving its free. The park has a small splash pad also free. Across the street is a pool with a few slides. Over all nice place.
  • A great place to go! Always clean and need, kids never get tired of going!