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NOW OPEN: June 22 through September 22

Explore the biomechanics of complex animal robots to discover how real animals work at 
The Robot Zoo!

This exhibit reveals the magic of nature as a master engineer. Eight robot animals and more than a dozen hands-on activities illustrate fascinating real-life animal characteristics like how chameleons change color, giant squids propel themselves, and flies walk on the ceiling!

Cutaways expose these mechanical animals’ insides as a host of easily recognizable machine parts and gadgets that demonstrate what makes them work. By comparing the anatomy, environments, and size of the actual creatures to the mechanic counterparts, The Robot Zoo provides fantastic new insights into biology and engineering, and hands-on fun for all ages.

Inside the Exhibit


A nine-foot robot giraffe will welcome you to The Robot Zoo with blinking eyes and a neck that moves. As the world’s tallest animal, giraffes can spot danger miles away. They roam the savannas of Africa exploring tall trees for food.


Real rhinoceros belong to the category of hooved animals called ungulates which include zebras and deer. Enter the factory workshop and you’ll find a mechanical rhinoceros under construction. Use a winch to move the rhino’s head into position, and explore a glossary of robot parts found throughout the exhibit. 


A ten-foot mechanical chameleon encourages visitors to get hands-on with fun activities and moveable parts. With eyes that move in all directions and a tongue that visitors can launch at an insect, there are lots of opportunities to learn more about both machines and these incredible reptiles. 


When European scientists first saw a platypus specimen, they could not believe their eyes. These egg-laying mammals spend much of their time swimming in rivers. See the paddle-like legs and tail of our nine-foot-long robot platypus move as he forages for food underwater.


Have you ever tried to swat a house fly? It’s not easy! Their 4,000 six-sided lenses detect the slightest movement and their reaction time is one fiftieth of a second. Compare that to a human’s whole fourth of a second reaction time. The robotic fly at The Robot Zoo has a ten-foot wingspan and moves its wings, eyes, and head.


You may have seen a grasshopper leap from the ground into the air. Did you know they can jump up to three feet high? The nine-foot robot grasshopper will stay on the ground for you to examine. Look closely at its jaws, which extend side to side, unlike human up-and-down chewing.


The six-foot robot bat hangs from the beam of a castle, just waking for its nightly quest for food in the dark. With highly sensitive ears, the bat uses echolocation to find its prey. Watch the bat robot’s ears swivel independently to get the best angle for sound.


The giant squid has never been seen alive in its natural deep-sea habitat. Simulate the propulsion of a squid by manipulating the interaction between nerves and muscles and watch its single eye take in its surroundings.


Robot Body Shop: Drum-mounted machine parts allow visitors to manipulate some of the mechanical devices used to construct the robots, such as hinges, pumps, springs, and shock absorbers.

Chameleon Activity Stations: Control the giant robotic chameleon.  Change its color, and move its body, head, eyes, and tongue.  

Tongue Gun: Fire a long chameleon tongue at insect targets using a joystick to see how the reptile catches food.

Hide and Seek: Blend in like a chameleon with a coat that matches a wall in the background, and watch yourself disappear on a video monitor.

Race a Squid: Pump air into a squid model and propel it up a tube to simulate the high-speed swim of a giant squid.  Enjoy racing one of four squids to the finish line.  

Hear’s Seeing You: Aim the robot bat’s head at insect targets, to reveal the distance to each bug on a digital display to demonstrate echolocation—a bat’s sonar system for hunting prey at night.

Swat the Fly: Test your reaction time (about one-twelfth as fast as a house fly’s).  Use your hands to “swat” each fly as it lights up.

Sticky Feet: Experience what it’s like to be a fly on the wall using fly-shaped hands on a carpeted wall.

The Robot Zoo is the Perfect Place for a Field Trip

Enhance your group’s visit to The Robot Zoo with this fun collection of multidisciplinary activities. From insect investigations to the sensory experiences of the rhinoceros, these crafts and experiments are an excellent addition before or after your experience at the exhibit. Choose the activities that best suit your group’s needs.

The Robot Zoo Educator Guide

Dive Deeper with These Reading Recommendations From Kent District Library

The GRPM and Kent District Library have collaborated to expand your learning opportunities about biology, robotics, and biomechanics with a variety of English and Spanish book titles for all ages. Explore the fascinating worlds of animals and machines and check out these books today!

Events & Programs:

The Intersection of Art and Nature

September 14, 2024

Join us for another edition of our Intersection of Art & Nature series. Fun art activities will be spread through out the Museum.
More details coming soon!

This event is free with GRPM admission.

Robotics Day

September 21, 2024

Explore the fascinating world of robotics with fun activities and experts. More details coming soon!

This event is free with GRPM admission.

Sponsored By:

David and Carol Van Andel Family Foundation logo

Late Opening Notice.

On Saturday, May 11, the Museum will open at 12 p.m. due to road closures for the Amway River Bank Run.

Early Closure Notice.

The Museum will close at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1 for Museum Adventure After Dark. Tickets are still available!