John Ball Zoo

1300 Fulton W Grand Rapids

Experience Grand Rapids
Written By Experience Grand Rapids

Get ready to be wowed - Grand Rapids never fails to surprise visitors with the huge variety of things to see and do here: World-renowned art, museums and historic sites for cultural vacationers. World-class golf, recreation and beaches for nature lovers. Incredible farm-to-table restaurants for foodies and wholesome "playcation" fun for families.

John Ball Zoo inspires the Grand Rapids community to be actively engaged in the conservation of wildlife and our natural environment. Over 1,500 animals including lions, tigers, bears (oh my)! Both indoor and outdoor exhibits. Interactive experiences include a funicular (tram), zip line, high ropes course, and more!

The stars of the show are the big carnivores, which include rare Siberian tigers as well the enormous grizzly bears that once terrified settlers in this area. Enclosures with plexiglass windows allow visitors to get surprisingly close to (and sometimes take selfies with) these powerful creatures. Not surprisingly, it is a favorite place to bring kids. But the zoo also encourages adults to visit on their own with events such as "Rock, Roar, and Pour," an evening when visitors who are 21+ can enjoy the zoo with adult beverages.

Always Something New

If you've been to the zoo before, it's worth visiting again, because they often welcome new residents as part of their efforts to breed endangered species in collaboration with other zoos.

Recent additions include a mated pair of Bali mynas, a species of bird that has been nearly destroyed by its own popularity-- their beautiful feathers and ability to mimic human and animal sound has created such a demand for the birds as pets that there are now fewer than 100 left in the wild. A mated pair of endangered Canada lynxes are also new to the neighborhood. Hope, a female two-toed sloth, was recently sent to a zoo in Connecticut where she is getting to know a male sloth named Jabba. (They are taking it slow).

Cover photo credit: Experience Grand Rapids

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