Robert Bell – Volunteer Superstar

Volunteering 16 years and still going strong

Robert Bell is a Potter Park Zoo “Volunteer Superstar.” In his 16 year tenure as a volunteer he has handed out more than 15,000 popsicles in two days, helped hundreds of kids and families on and off the hayrides at Halloween and welcomed tons of school buses filled with students coming to the zoo for field trips.

Robert turned 81 this year, but he hasn’t slowed down a bit. He served more than 30 hours at the zoo in 2015. Over the years Robert has acquired what he calls “pet projects” as a volunteer. When it comes to handing out popsicles at Zoo Days or hayrides at Boo at the Zoo, Robert is the man-on-the-job.

“The first time I volunteered at Boo at the Zoo I was given a job with a mask to wear,” Robert explained. “My glasses fogged up, so that didn’t work out so well.”

The next year Robert was asked to help with the hayrides, and he has been running them every year since.

“It’s nice to see the children dressed up in their costumes,” said Robert. “Many of the costumes are hand-made. I’d say there are some parents with pretty wild imaginations. That really makes it fun.”

Passing out popsicles as part of Zoo Days has become a summer tradition for Robert. He recalls a couple very hot, busy days when he handed out more than 15,000 popsicles.

Robert can also be found at the zoo’s entrance shaking hands and slapping high fives to students as they get off school buses for field trips.

Are you ready to become a Potter Park Zoo Volunteer?

If you’re ready to take the next step and become a Potter Park Zoo volunteer, fill out a Volunteer Application online at and either e-mail, fax, mail or drop it off at the Zoo’s Discovery Center. Still have questions? For answers call (517) 244-8023 or e-mail Tara Davis, Volunteer Coordinator.