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 our September event, we will be holding an evening experience with the opportunity to spend the night on Saturday September 23.  We will begin the evening with dinner provided by the zoo, take an evening guided tour, have s'mores by the campfire, and end with a movie under the stars.  Families are also welcome to spend the night if they wish, and for those that do, we will provide continental breakfast the next morning.

We want to make this flexible to meet the needs of your family.  You may come for dinner, or eat on your own and join us for the other activities. You can leave at any time during the evening activities if you need to, or you can stay all night.  For those that would like to stay the night, we invite you to bring a tent, sleeping bags, air mattresses, etc, and we will set-up camp inside the Safari Room.  This will allow you to have your own space and a bit of privacy, but still be inside where it is warm, dry, and close to the restroom. We have a few extra tents that will be available to those who do not have their own tent.

Please be sure to fill out the form in the registration to indicate what you are planning to do so we can prepare accordingly. We know that sometimes plans change, and that's OK too smiley

Below is an idea of the itinerary:

5:45- Familes that will be staying the night can arrive to set-up their "campsite"

6:15-6:30- Families that aren't staying the night arrive and check-in

6:30- Dinner

7:00- Guided evening tour of the zoo

8:00- Campfire and s'mores

8:30- movie

Lights out after the movie

7:30 AM- Wake-up

8:00- Breakfast

To register for the Sat. Sept. 23 overnight event, please click here.

FALCONERS Boo at the Zoo

For our October activity, we will be hosting a very special preview of Boo at the Zoo, our annual family friendly Halloween event!  It will take place Friday October 13 from 5:00-7:30 PM. The zoo will be closed to the public at this time, so you can enjoy many aspects of the public event but without the crowds. Participants are welcome to come in costume if they wish.  We will have games, cider and donuts, animal encounters, crafts, and more!

We ask that participants pre-register to ensure adequate staffing and supplies.

To register for the Friday Oct 13 event, please click here.


FALCONERS November 2017- Getting Ready for Winter

Join us on Saturday November 4 from 10:00 AM-1:00 PM as we help the zoo prepare  for winter!  We will have a couple of stewardship projects for participants, including making special ornaments and decorating trees that will be on display throughout the holiday season.  We'll also have hands-on activity stations so we can learn about how animals get ready for winter.  Most activities will take place outside, so please dress for the weather.  Hot chocolate, coffee and snacks will be provided.

Please pre-register to get free admission to the zoo and access to the activities.  Please note that the concession stands and gift shop will be closed.

To register for the Saturday November 4 event, please click here.

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.