The Potawatomi Zoo is celebrating 100 years in the River Park area this year. The Zoo will have three mini-celebrations on its Third Thursdays Family Fun Nights, June 17, July 15, and August 19, from 5-8 pm.

Third Thursdays are regular Zoo admission: $11 for adults ages 15-61, $9 for children ages 2-14 and seniors 62+. Babies 2 and under are free. Zoo Members are free.

Although there was a zoo in South Bend in 1902, the Leeper Park Zoo, records show that it was closed in 1914. According to research done by Rick Riddle, a retired employee of the South Bend Parks and Recreation Department, in 1921, the Board of Park Commissioners accepted an offer from Albert Russell Erskine of a single deer as the foundation for a zoo at Pottawatomie Park.

“With such a long history, there are so many significant dates to celebrate,” says Josh Sisk, executive director of the Potawatomi Zoo. “We’re proud of every achievement we’ve made, and we’re excited to celebrate this milestone too.”

The Zoo has activities and giveaways planned for its Third Thursdays Family Fun Nights this year including a video birthday card, giveaways, ice cream, music, games, and more. As part of this celebration, the Zoo is hoping the public will share its memories and pictures as well.

“We want to know what you remember about the Potawatomi Zoo,” says Sisk. “So many of our visitors are second or third generation residents, and we know there’s a wealth of community knowledge we’d love to learn.”

Memories and pictures can be emailed to, or shared on the Zoo’s Facebook page, @potawatomizoo. The Zoo will compile the information and share it with the public over the summer.