John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids


Monkeys, lemurs, polar bears, oh my! Located on the West Side of Grand Rapids, the John Ball Zoo spans 140 acres. The zoo is a West Michigan landmark, and has been around for over 125 years. There is truly something for children, teens, adults and seniors at the zoo. Join us as we take you into the John Ball Zoo and explore what it has to offer.

The John Ball Zoo is located in Grand Rapids’ historic West Side.

Located in a wooded, hilly portion of the West Side, the John Ball Zoo has been a tourist staple of Grand Rapids and West Michigan since 1891. The zoo is named after Grand Rapids resident John Ball, who donated the original 40 acres of land shortly after his death. The zoo has grown significantly since 1891, and now features over 11 exhibits. The zoo has over 1100 animals from over 200 species!

Start your visit by taking one of John Ball Zoo’s six “streets” to see all 11 exhibits. Want to see eels, penguins and a kelp forest? Head to the Van Andel Living Shores Aquarium. Feeling like seeing large cats up-close-and-personal just feet away? Check out the upper and lower Tigers of the Realm. Want to visit three continents in one day? The John Ball Zoo has African (chimpanzees, lions, zebras), North American (grizzly bear, mountain lion) and South American (Chilean flamingos, saki monkeys) exhibits. Whatever species you can imagine, there is a good chance you can find it at John Ball Zoo.

In addition to viewing all the animals one’s imagination can conjure up, the zoo offers several other activities for all ages. Want to fly through the forest like a soaring bird? Try out the zipline, which features a 600-foot-long zipline at over 40 feet in the air. Other experiences include a sky trail rope course, camel rides, a petting zoo and an aviary. Whatever you choose, make sure and ride the Bill Idema funicular to the highest point of the zoo (the Treehouse) for a spectacular view of the zoo.

WIth so many animals and experiences, you truly can spend a full day at the John Ball Zoo. Admission is $10.00 for adults, $9.00 for college students and $8.00 for seniors and children. What are some of your favorite memories from the John Ball Zoo? Have any other tips or comments?

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