Kangaroos on Ann Arbor-Saline Rd.
That enormous two-story building houses most of the animal residents--among them hissing cockroaches, iguanas, ball pythons, and Al the alligator. A habitat is currently under construction for the kangaroos, Tulip and Maybelline, and Benny, the Parma wallaby. Plans for porcupine, coyote, arctic fox, and red fox habitats are underway. As a work in progress, it's not yet open to the public--Ellis says just when it will be is contingent on funding.
The animal passion behind the Creature Conservancy began, appropriately enough, with a romance. Vicki Daldin, a veterinarian with a lifelong interest in exotic animals, moved to Ann Arbor in 1988 to work at two vet clinics. She was prompted by friends to meet Steve Marsh, a Saline-based exotic pet store owner who also presented animal education programs. "I went to his store," she recalls, "and we started to meet every other Wednesday for lunch and talk about exotic animals."
The couple eventually married. Steve sold his pet store to finance the 1993 opening of Animal Kingdom, Vicki's vet practice, in a small building at its current site. The 3,000-square-foot facility that replaced it was built in 2006. The Marshes worked together over the years to build the practice, with Steve handling the business side. Steve's focus eventually shifted to being the househusband and chief of child care as they welcomed their offspring--Eli, now fifteen, and Ella, twelve--into their nest.