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Potawatomi Zoo, South Bend

4.1
#5 of 8 in Zoos & Aquariums in Indiana
Zoo / Aquarium Nature / Park
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 Traveler Rating
216 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • I like the zoo because it's easy to get around. People are nice. Always happy to wander and take pictures. Love to feed the goats. Take some quarters for the food machine.  more »
  • What a great little zoo! The exhibits and grounds are well kept, and the staff is friendly. Took us about two and a half hours to get through the zoo, with the carousel and train ride included! Even o...  more »
  • its a nice zoo, though kinda small. It's a nice visit with the kids or a sweet date. unfortunately the otters weren't in their habitat again, but the tigers are lovely and the lions were a hit.  more »
Google
  • This is a neat little zoo to visit. There is a train and carousel as well which makes it unique compared to other zoos. The only downside about this popjlar place is the parking is usually very full so you'll need to park about a block away. However, the exhibits are awesome and designed well to see the animals. The membership is very very affordable so I suggest getting one if you are going to visit more than twice in a year. We look forward to frequently visiting this zoo.
  • My family lives coming here. It's small enough to get through within a few hours but still has plenty to see. The carousel and train rides are nice activities, there is also a gift shop and a couple snack shops. Parking is usually the only complaint. Especially being a zoo membership holder, I wish parking was more available.
  • Very nice zoo. They don't have some of the big animals like elephants or giraffe, but they have some fun smaller animals like red panda and okapi. We love our family pass! Especially with the great park and playground just outside, which makes picnics a great addition to our zoo visits.
  • Nice zoo. Lots of animals. And they seem to have a decent amount of space, but not too many places to hide where you can't see them. The train and merry-go-round were hits with my three yr old. Only complaint is that quite a few of the pens were empty and closed for maintenance. But hopefully that means it will be even better in the future.
  • Awesome little zoo. Very clean and pretty. Did not smell even on a warm day. Animals were all healthy and good looking. Fun place for kids and adults alike.

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