Families of Autistic Learners CONnecting Empathy, Responsibility and Stewardship 

Potter Park Zoo is pleased to announce that our program for autistic learners and their families has been expanded to include children with other special needs. FALCONERS is designed to allow not just autistic or other special needs learners, but their whole family to have an enriching educational experience in a safe and welcoming environment. There will be one event per month throughout 2017.  

  • Inclusive for the entire family/support group!
  • Up close experiences with ambassador animals!
  • Each session includes hands-on stewardship activity
  • Safe, welcoming environment
  • This program will be shared with other institutions in the community! 


For the March event, activity stations will be set-up in the Discovery Center and in exhibit buildings throughout the zoo, and of course all of the zoo's animal residents will be around to enjoy!  Activities will begin at 10:00 AM and continue until 1:00 PM, and families may engage in as many or as few as they wish, at their own pace!  While activities will be inside, please dress for the weather for travel between the buildings.

For the April through August events, activities will take place outside in the zoo. in the event of inclement weather, as many activities as possible will be moved inside.  The zoo will open 1 hour early at 8:00 AM just for FALCONERS families. Activities will run until 11:00 AM, and families may engage in as many ar as few as they wish, at their own pace! 



On Saturday March 25, our theme will be "Keeping Animals SAFE".  Participants will learn how animals are cared for here at the zoo and how animals are protected in the wild.  We will also learn about AZA SAFE:Saving Animals From Extinction, a global effort to save endangered species. 

To register for the Saturday March 25 event*, please click here.


The April event's theme is "Party for the Planet"!  Activity stations will be set-up throughout the zoo that participants can visit at their own pace.  "Party for the Planet" is Potter Park Zoo's official Earth Day celebration, and activities will focus on how we all can help protect the earth and the animals that live here.  Additional "Party for the Planet" activities will run throughout the day, and FALCONERS families are welcome to stay and enjoy those as well.

To register for the Saturday April 29 event*, please click here.


In May we'll be "Springing Into Summer"!  Activity stations will be set-up throughout the zoo and participants can visit them at their own pace.  Activities will explore what animals and plants do in the spring, from building nests and having babies to producing beautiful blooms!

 To register for the Saturday May 20 event*, please click here.


*Beginning February 2017, there will be a $10 registration fee per family per event.  The fee will be refunded upon check-in on the day of the event.  Registration fees for those who do not attend will not be refunded and will be considered donations to the FALCONERS program.


FALCONERS is sponsored by a generous grant from the Capital Region Community Foundation

Potter Park Zoo's staff and public safety officers would like to thank the Autism Alliance of Michigan for the training they received to assist in preparing for working with autistic learners.