Running Wild at Binder Park Zoo
The kind folks at Binder Park Zoo asked if we would share information about their annual Cheetah Chase 5k on our Facebook page. We were more than happy to help support them and we thought that we should actually go out to Battle Creek, Michigan to experience the run for ourselves. It sounded like a fun way to explore a zoo.
Directions and Registration
Our day started out early! On the road at 5:30am to give us time to get parked and pick up our race number. The zoo is really easy to find. It’s just a few miles off I-94 (exit 100). Parking for the event was smooth. You can either park right at the zoo or take the short shuttle ride from the Harper Creek high school. Getting our race numbers and shirts was quick and easy. The race shirts are pretty nice looking!
It wouldn’t be a true race experience without Chuck’s warm-up routine.
I like to keep a low profile and reserve my energy, check out my competition, sleep in the car, or use the porta-potty. (By the way, lots of porta-potties and almost no wait. This is a runners worst fear– not enough time to use the facilities before a race!)
The Race Map
It is a good idea to have this in your head before you leave the gate. I don’t always and if you are running trail, yikes! It could be a problem if you haven’t memorized it. I wasn’t too worried about getting lost but I did study the map so I’d know where to look for the Cheethas.
The Race Start
This year there were 500 more runners than last year. This race is growing in popularity which is good for the zoo! There was a delay in the start to be sure all runners had time to get to the starting line.
On your mark, get set, GO!
Lots of jostling between the runners to find their place in the pack. While the runners found their pace and their place in the crowd we ran through the park. I’m sure the animals were watching in disbelief. Like this guy, a red kangaroo just inside the zoo.
Or the ostrich who wanted to keep pace with the runners.
The Giraffe’s looked on in stunned disbelief…
And of course the Cheetah! Which was the point the race right? He clearly was not concerned with any of our shenanigans!
Post Race Festivities
This race is perfect for a family. It is stroller friendly and there is plenty of room to have a picnic. I also have to admit, the food after the race was excellent – probably the best grapes I have eaten this year.
Pass to the Zoo
All the race participants received a pass to the zoo. Chuck and I made a bee-line to the zoo before the crowds. We were some of the first to arrive at the Giraffe exhibit in Wild Africa.
Feeding of the Giraffes
One of the really outstanding features of the Binder Park Zoo is the Wild Africa exhibit where the giraffes are featured. Its a big wide open savanna for the animals to roam and of course a place for you to get up close with a giraffe.
Another great feature of the zoo is the walk-in aviary in Wild Africa. So many beautiful birds, so little space on our post. We have lots in the gallery.
Would it be a visit to a zoo without a tortoise?
We had a lot of fun at the race and really loved the Binder Park Zoo. We have lots of zoo pictures and we hope you’ll visit our gallery to see all of them.