Potter Park Zoo Wins National Diversity Award

Lansing’s Potter Park Zoo has been nationally recognized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) by winning top honors for the Angela Peterson Excellence in Diversity Award for their Zoo in your Neighborhood (ZIYN) program.

This award recognizes an AZA accredited zoo or aquarium for significant achievement in work force and audience diversity as well as the most significant innovative, productive and far-reaching program to promote diversity in the 236 institutions that are accredited by the AZA. Potter Park Zoo received this recognition at the national AZA conference in New Orleans, LA this week.

“Potter Park Zoo is honored to win this prestigious award for our Zoo in Your Neighborhood Program,” said Community Engagement Coordinator Mariah Martinez. “One of our top priorities is to be more accessible and inclusive to all and we will continue to work tirelessly to make the zoo a place truly all can enjoy.”

The ZIYN program works with over 35 local partners to bring free educational programming to the Greater Lansing area. In addition to free programming, each partner location receives zoo passes that community members can check out, similar to a library book, to bring their family to the zoo for free.

“The Zoo in Your Neighborhood program exemplifies Potter Park Zoo’s mission to inspire conservation of animals and the natural world by bringing free programming and passes to members of the community who may not have been able to afford to come to the zoo otherwise,” said Amy Morris-Hall, Executive Director of Potter Park Zoological Society. “We are very grateful for the significant support from the Community Foundation, the Lansing Rotary Club, the Gannett Foundation as well as our docents and volunteers. Their support has helped to keep this important program free to the community.”

We have focused on efforts to make the zoo accessible for all. In 2019 Potter Park Zoo was named the first zoo in Michigan to become certified sensory inclusive by KultureCity. We continue our efforts to be inclusive and accessible with our ZIYN and FALCONERS programs, which aim to make the zoo a place for all people to visit, no matter what physical, mental, or financial barrier they may face. You can learn more about these programs on the Potter Park Zoo Website


The ZIYN program is kicking off another year full of free educational programming throughout the Greater Lansing area. Visit to find the closest community partner with zoo passes available to check out and to find a free program near your home town.