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Second Chance for Summer Zoomance August 21


Detroit Zoo - Summer Zoomance

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Those who missed the first Summer Zoomance event in July will have a second chance to fall in love with the Detroit Zoo all over again. Another after-hours, 21-and-older Summer Zoomance will take place this Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission for guests is $14.

Summer Zoomance allows grownups to relive their fond memories of the Detroit Zoo while creating new ones with a twilight stroll among the award-winning animal habitats.

The rain-or-shine event features performances by blues guitarist and vocalist Laith Al-Saadi, complimentary tram tours, animal enrichment and zookeeper talks.

Guests can take a spin on the Carousel for an additional $2 and enjoy a scenic ride through the Zoo on the Tauber Family Railroad for a one-way fare of $3. Food and adult beverages will also be available for purchase.

Tickets are available online at by clicking here and can also be purchased at the admission gates.

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The Detroit Zoological Society is a nonprofit organization that operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo. Situated on 125 acres of naturalistic habitats, the Detroit Zoo is located at 10 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue off I-696 in Royal Oak, Mich. The Detroit Zoo is open 362 days a year, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April through Labor Day (with extended hours until 8 p.m. Wednesdays during July and August), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the day after Labor Day through October and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through March. Admission is $14 for adults 15 to 61 and $10 for children 2 to 14, senior citizens 62 and older and active military with ID; children under 2 are admitted free. The Belle Isle Nature Zoo is open Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April through October and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through March; closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission to the Nature Zoo is free; however, a State of Michigan Recreation Passport is required for all personal vehicles to enter Belle Isle State Park. For more information, call (248) 541-5717 or visit www.detroitzoo.org.


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Detroit Zoo Experiences

Detroit Zoo Experiences

By Jeffrey Buck

A friend of mine recently gifted his fiancee an experience of a lifetime at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. A chance for her to get up close and personal with the aquarium’s Penguins. It’s the sort of adventure you might see in a movie and wonder, ‘How can I do that?’ Well it got me thinking and researching what our zoo has to offer in the way of “special” experiences. The Detroit Zoo offers four unique experiences to the average zoo goer. Most are offered at a group price and have a few restrictions. Reservations are required two weeks in advance and are non-refundable.

Below are the descriptions, prices and restrictions for the four experiences offered at the Detroit Zoo:

  • Mingle with the Macaronis (Rockhoppers and Kings, too!)

Want to know how penguins stay warm, eat and play while living in their icy cold habitat? Get up close and personal with them at the Zoo! Under the guidance and supervision of one of the Zoo’s penguin keepers, you will be able to interact with the penguins in their habitat. Your visit will last approximately one hour and includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the keeper area and the incubation/nursery area. Once inside the habitat, you’ll meet some of our 60-plus penguins. Many photo opportunities will present themselves as you hand-feed our rockhopper and macaroni penguins.

– Experiences will be conducted between 1 and 2:30 p.m.
– Groups are limited to four people.
– Children must be 7 and older and accompanied by an adult.
– Participants should be able to climb stairs.
– Mingle with the Macaronis is offered year-round unless penguins are molting or breeding.
Cost is $500 per group.

  • Take a Guided Zoo Tour

Be the first to greet your Zoo’s animal residents as they wake up and go through their morning routines after you and your guests enjoy a gourmet boxed breakfast in our lush picnic grove. You will ride in comfort in an eco-friendly, zero-emission electric cart while your senses take in the Zoo’s 125 acres of naturalistic animal habitats. Your experience also includes a special viewing of our zookeeper’s animal enrichment activities, designed to encourage skills and behavior that Zoo animals exhibit in their native habitats.

– Tours are for up to five guests ages 7 and older.
– Children must be accompanied by an adult.
– Tours begin at 8:30 a.m. – before the Zoo opens – and end by 10:30 a.m.
Cost is $100 per person.

  • Breakfast with the Giraffes

Breakfast with the giraffes is breakfast for all! You will enjoy a continental breakfast with our tallest Zoo animals. After you dine, they dine! You and your guests will have our giraffes eating out of the palms of your hands. A zookeeper will guide you through the feeding process and provide a wealth of information about giraffes, Chardo Jabari and Kivuli.

– Breakfasts from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m.
– Groups limited from one to four people.
– Children must be 7 and older and accompanied by an adult.
– Breakfast with the Giraffes is offered Mondays and Saturdays from May through September.
Cost is $500 per group.

  • Breakfast with the Butterflies

Enjoy a continental breakfast in the tropics as beautiful butterflies surround you and your guests! During breakfast, a zookeeper will share the secrets of butterfly watching in the garden and in the wild followed by an opportunity to prepare chrysalises for display and release new butterflies in the garden. The morning will flutter by but the memories will last forever.

– Breakfasts from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m.
– Groups are limited to five people.
– Children must be 7 and older and accompanied by an adult.
– Breakfast with the Butterflies is offered year-round.
Cost is $300 per group.

To get more information on the Zoo Experiences offered by the Detroit Zoo or to make reservations for your group please call (248) 336-5836 or email the zoo by clicking here.

If you don’t live in the Detroit or Chicago area be sure to see if your nearest zoo or aquarium offer any unique experiences. Be sure to let us know if you have or are planning on doing any of these!

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Historic Hecker-Smiley Mansion

Hecker-Smiley Mansion

By Jeffrey Buck

Preservation Wayne (soon to be known as Preservation Detroit) held a tour of the historic Hecker-Smiley Mansion a couple of weekends ago. The former home of Col. Frank Joseph Hecker was designed by famed architect Louis Kamper of Scott, Kamper, Scott and completed in 1892. It served as a boarding house from 1928 to 1947 before being bought by Paul Smiley to be used as the headquarters for Smiley Brothers Music Company. In 1991 the mansion was bought by the Historic Hecker Mansion Limited Partnership for the law firm of Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. The mansion went through an extensive renovation under it’s new owners in 1991 with the help of Preservation Wayne.

The home was built in the French Renaissance Chateauesque style and was inspired by Chateau de Chenonceau in Loire Valley, France. The 20,988 sq. ft. home was constructed on two Woodward lots bought by Hecker in 1887 for $27,859. The mansion, as well as a 5,721 sq. ft. carriage house, were built on the lots for $144,936.54 (over $3,000,000 today). The price included architect fees, a stable, decorations and carpets. Another $19,990.14 was spent on furniture alone.

For more information on the mansion, visit the website of Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. by clicking here.

Preservation Wayne is Detroit’s oldest and largest architectural preservation organization. The group has been preserving Detroit’s architectural heritage since 1975. They are always looking for new volunteers and members. Membership includes discounted tickets ot their award-winning Heritage tours, access to their historic archive and invitations to special events and forums. There are several membership levels that range from $20 for students and seniors to Corporate at $1,000. For more information on memberships and the many tours they offer visit their website by clicking here.

FOR SALE | The mansion is currently listed for sale by Freidman Real Estate Solutions for $3,500,000. The details and more pictures of the property at 5510 Woodward Avenue can be found by clicking here.

Photo Gallery:

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Fall activities in the D: Museum Adventure Pass, Factory Tours

By Mike Fossano

It’s almost time to officially put a bow on Summer 2011, which means it’s time to start thinking about unfurling the cold weather wardrobe and locating soon-to-be necessary tools like your trusty snow shovel and ice scraper. OK, so maybe that’s a little too dour, but unfortunately for us in the Rust Belt picturesque days will occur less frequently from here on out.

Just because the weather outside is frightful doesn’t mean that there is a shortage of delightful climate-controlled things to do in metro Detroit. The museum grid around town is wide-ranging, offering something for everyone from history buffs to art aficionados. The best part? The majority of them are reasonably priced, and in many cases free of charge.

Twenty-eight museums participate in the popular Museum Adventure Pass. The program, which is sponsored by Macy’s, allows you to get as many as four free tickets to a metro Detroit museum by checking in at your local library within seven days of a planned visit. Participating museums include well-known institutions such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, Cranbrook Institute of Science, Edsel and Eleanor Ford House and the Holocaust Memorial Center, along with numerous boutique organizations. The last day to borrow a MAP pass is September 23 for use through September 30. More information will soon be forthcoming on the availability of passes for the 2012 season.

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