Animal Health Care and Teaching Facility

The new Animal Health Care and Teaching Facility demonstrates Potter Park Zoo’s exemplary efforts in the field of animal care to the public and to their zoological and veterinary peers. The facility will provide for the best possible animal care, educate guests about zoo medicine, and pet care, and incorporate the Vets, Education, Zoos & yoU (VEZU) program, and educate veterinary students about state-of-the-art medical care.


The zoo’s strong education program includes communicating their animal care efforts to the public. The current animal treatment facility has a viewing window that allows the public to witness animal procedures. The new facility will allow tours of the hospital, and will have an exhibit component that will enable the public to view surgeries, treatments, the nursery, and see how food is prepared for zoo animals.


The Potter Park Zoo staff are leaders in their field. In addition to their important education efforts at the zoo and with the community, Dr. Tara Harrison, the zoo’s Veterinarian and Animal Curator, is certified by the American College of Zoo Veterinarians (ACZM), making her the only board certified veterinarian working at a zoological institution in the state of Michigan and one of only about 125 in the world.


Potter Park Zoo has many important collaborations in the area of animal care, including a long history with the Michigan State University (MSU) College of Veterinary Medicine. A large number of veterinary students are educated annually at the zoo. The zoo partners with MSU on the VEZU program, and is starting a residency program with the college.