Dinosaurs at the zoo: Grant supports new Binder Park exhibit

Calhoun County

A courtesy rendering shows the design of the new Zoorassic Park exhibit at Binder Park Zoo.

NEWTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Binder Park Zoo is being awarded a grant from Lowe’s 100 Hometowns project to help finish its new Zoorassic Park exhibit.

The zoo near Battle Creek says it was nominated for the corporate grant by its local Lowe’s, with which it was already working on the new exhibit. It was ultimately selected from among more than 2,220 applicants as one of 100 winners nationwide.

While Lowe’s is keeping the exact dollar amounts awarded to each project quiet because they vary based on “unique construction needs,” a Binder Park spokesperson described it as a “generous” gift that will have a positive impact on the community. The zoo can use its chunk of cash to pay for materials and contractors.

“Being nominated and selected for this amazing opportunity is truly a testament to the support the zoo receives from Lowe’s and the surrounding community,” zoo President and CEO Diane Thompson said in a Tuesday statement. “Zoorassic Park will transform the former children’s zoo in prehistoric ways!”

The Zoorassic Park exhibit, which will take over the space that used to house the children’s zoo, will include 20 huge models of dinosaurs and graphics that teach about them. There may be programs like story hours, overnight camps or after-hours events for adults in the new area.

The goal, zoo spokesperson Leslie Walsh told News 8, is to “tie the story of the dinosaur extinction to modern-day conservation” and prevent the extinction of current species in line with the zoo’s mission.

Completion of the project has been slowed by shipping delays of the dinosaur models that were coming from overseas, Walsh said, but they have made landfall and are now en route to the zoo. The exhibit doesn’t have a specific opening date yet, but it should be before the end of summer.

Lowe’s picked 100 grant recipients to celebrate its 100th birthday. Winners were announced Tuesday. Binder Park Zoo is the only recipient in West Michigan. A food pantry in Farmington Hills and a community occupational therapy center in Detroit also received funds.

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