BoulderRidgeSignHave you ever wondered where zoos get their animals from? I found out recently that many of them come from right here in West Michigan – which was surprising because I’d never known that before. Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park has existed here in Alto, MI for the past 20 years – breeding exotic animals and supplying them to zoos all across the country. And now the 80 acres of Boulder Ridge are open to the public as well, providing a unique zoo experience for your family.

Boulder Ridge has a lot to offer – including a few animals species that you won’t see anywhere else. And since this zoo actively breeds animals there are quite often pregnant and baby animals to see as well. My kids and I had a sneak peek before the park opened to the public and got to see a herd of pregnant zebras, ostrich eggs, and newly hatched baby chicks.

Our tour was hosted by ‘Rick the Reptile Guy’ and he was not only so knowledgeable about all of the animal species in the park, but so much fun to listen to and hang out with as well. If you live in West Michigan, you may have seen him with various Boulder Ridge animals on Fox’s morning news show – he’s a regular guest.

The park has added a reptile house, an aviary, a gift shop, petting zoo and more. There’s a picnic area and also a children’s playground so the kids can run off some energy. Another unique thing about Boulder Ridge is that they try to be as self-sustaining as possible. They grow food for the animals on-site, recycle, and re-use as much as they can.

For more information, check out their website at http://www.boulderridgewap.com, or become a fan of Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park on Facebook. Below are a few photos from our visit – as well as a short video (2:40 minutes), and you can see what some of the other local bloggers thought of our sneak peek on their sites too.

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Deb writes as West Michigan TravelingMom as well as at Mom of 3 Girls and Just a mom’s take on things…. You can also find her on Twitter – she’s @DebMomOf3.