The Lansing Star
LANSING — The scene at the Potter Park Zoo on Sunday was a colorful din of children, animals and children dressed as animals. Small superheroes ran toward the otter exhibit with glee, while dozens of Elsas skipped around singing “Let It Go.” Parents sipped cider and watched with amusement as their children tried to navigate a hay barrel maze.
During the last two weekends in October, Potter Park hosted “Boo at the Zoo,” a yearly event that allows children and their families to visit the zoo in their costumes, see the animals and trick-or-treat around the park.
“We wanted to give (the kids) an opportunity to see the animals and dress up and just have a good time for Halloween,” said father of two Andy Bossory, who brought his children to the zoo because he had been there before.
In addition to an animal interaction center, guests visited many Halloween-themed attractions. Zoo employees were on hand to make the experience memorable for everyone in attendance by passing out candy and talking about the zoo’s animals.
“I’m trained to handle the animals and talk about the education stuff because I’m a teaching assistant. So I help out with all the classes,” said new zoo employee Lindsey Berg while holding a rabbit out to a family. “Do you guys want to touch the rabbit?”
“Boo at the Zoo” ran from noon to 4 p.m. on Oct. 26, and quickly drew hundreds of people. By 2 p.m., a line stretched more than halfway down the parking lot.
“A lot of people come to it. It’s our busiest time of the year, our parking lot is completely full,” said Emma Pawlowski, a seasonal worker at the zoo. “There’s face painting, a haunted Boo Tunnel, cider and donuts…a lot of parents come with their kids to see the animals.”
Berg said “Boo at the Zoo” is really popular.
“This year’s numbers are double of last year’s,” Berg said. “And that was just the first day because it was really rainy. The second day was even bigger.”
For families, Boo at the Zoo is an opportunity for kids to not only learn about animals but get active as well.
“He gets to see the animals and be outside. We’re liking the hare exhibit, but he’s been excited to see the lions,” said Bossory about his son, who was dressed as a lion. “It’s worth it just to have the kids outside. It’s fun.”
The event was special for Pawlowski, who got to see her family enjoy the attractions.
“My nephew came,” Pawlowski said. “And I got to face paint my sister. So that was a highlight.”
Berg said her favorite part of Boo at the Zoo was seeing the kids.
“I think is that more people come in just because it’s more family friendly and there’s more to do rather than just look at the animals,” Berg said. “It’s really cool for the kids to have this opportunity.”
Pawlowski said people should come back next year.
“It’s really fun and it’s very community oriented,” Pawlowski said. “The zoo puts a lot of hard work into it so you should definitely go.”