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Potawatomi Zoo, South Bend

4.1
#5 of 8 in Zoos & Aquariums in Indiana
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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Potawatomi Zoo Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.5
221 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • I have attended the Poawatomi zoo since I was a young child. It has grown and changed for the better. The animals are well taken care of and in an environment that is close to their true home in the w...  more »
  • Very impressive family Halloween activity. The zoo was decorated with all of the traditional spooky accents; someone put in a great amount of time getting it all together. Beautiful fall weather was a...  more »
  • my daughter, granddaughter & I visited the zoo - it was a beautiful day - we rode the train - first time I had ever done that- well worth the short wait to ride- the zoo is always clean- the gift shop...  more »
Google
  • Great local zoo!, lots of animals. The zoo is sort of small but it’s definitely worth the price! The gift shop is well priced the smaller items are cheap and the bigger items are more expensive. The staff are nice and tell you facts about the animals sometimes. I had a really good time From my past experiences and I’m going to go back this summer!
  • Kids love going. We are gifted our membership from family. We go 2-4 times a month during the summer. It's small but the kids know their way around. Events are great but sometimes over crowded. The train & Merry go round are over priced. The kids playground has little to no shade.
  • I have know Idea of how fabous this zoo is but the price is great. What sold me is the park and play area. I love it my husband and I walk our dogs here wonderful environment, for all.
  • This is a very nice Zoo. Relatively close to her home so we will be visiting often. Did wish that the exhibits were a little bit closer together though. With little kids I feel like you can only do so much walking before they get burn out and are ready to just be done. We didn't make it to the entire Zoo but hadn't really thought we would. Will for sure be back everything was very well kept and maintained
  • Awesome zoo even when it's cold! Always a good visit can't wait for new animals that are coming!
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