Eighty acres of southeastern Kent County are home to species you don't typically find in West Michigan. Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park in Alto, Michigan, has over 1,300 animals, most of which are exotic species.

"The most exotic would be our giraffes, our zebras, our wildebeast...we have lots of different antelopes, some of our birds are pretty exotic and different," said Joshua Baker, the Park Manager at Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park.

The park started as a hobby by Dave and Dawn Hoekstra. As the animal count rose, the Hoekstras transitioned the hobby into an educational experience for kids.

Some of the attractions include up-close and personal experiences with the animals, like the opportunity to feed giraffes and exotic birds. There is also a Safari Ride that will take visitors around the park to view some of the larger animals.

"It's amazing," said Shelly Piotrowuski, a visitor. "It is this total hidden gem in the middle of these corn fields and we love coming here."

For more information about Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park, head to their website. You can also find them on Facebook.

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Laura Hartman is a meteorologist at WZZM 13. You can contact her by email at lhartman@wzzm13.com, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.