John Ball Zoo has been delighting Grand Rapids residents and visitors since 1891, when a small menagerie of animals – known as the “Ball 40” – began to be assembled on land donated by namesake John Ball, one of the city’s founding fathers. The zoo has expanded by (antelope) leaps and (tiger) bounds since then, but it still occupies its original location on the city’s historic West Side. It is one of Michigan’s most visited cultural attractions.
Frequently Asked QuestionsBack to Top of List
How to Experience The John Ball Zoo
How to Experience the John Ball Zoo:
What can I see and do at the Zoo?
See over 200 species of animals in specially designed habitats and engage in a variety of fun experiences, from a zipline adventure to a funicular ride.
Is the Zoo good for kids?
It’s amazing for kids – a place to see and learn about animals up close and personal and get inspired to help conserve wildlife and the natural environment.
When is the John Ball Zoo open?
The 2022 season runs March 25-November 20. Summer season hours are 9am-6pm. Off-season hours vary, please check the website.
What is the admission price?
Summer season pricing: $19 for adults (13-61) and $15 for seniors (62+), youth (3-12), college students with ID, and active and veteran U.S. Military personnel and their spouses with ID. Children 2 and under enter free.
Off-season pricing: $14 for adults (13-61) and $11 for seniors (62+), youth (3-12), college students with ID, and active and veteran U.S. Military personnel and their spouses with ID. Children 2 and under enter free. Prices are subject to change, please confirm with the attraction.
Are there any discounts available?
Visit John Ball Zoo and other local attractions for one low price when you purchase Culture Pass GR, a digital three-day savings pass delivered to your smartphone.SAVE ON GRAND RAPIDS ATTRACTIONS WITH CULTURE PASS GR
Can I purchase or reserve tickets online?
The Zoo encourages visitors to purchase tickets online in advance. You can purchase tickets here. You may also purchase them on site at the ticket window.
Is the Zoo accessible for guests with special needs?
The Zoo strives to be accessible for all visitors. Sensory kits are available for those with special needs. Strollers and wheelchairs are available for rental. A universally designed playground on the Zoo grounds is accessible to all guests and includes sensory features for the visually impaired. See more Accessibility Info.
Where is The Zoo located?
Just five minutes from downtown GR via Fulton St., which is lined with restaurants – perfect for getting a to-go food order and enjoying at a picnic table in the spacious park fronting the zoo. The Zoo is across the street from an entrance to Kent Trails, a 15-mile paved trail that winds through Millennium Park.
Where can I park?
Abundant on-site parking is available.
Is food available?
Yes. The Monkey Island Café, open daily, offers a large menu of lunch and snack items. Tiger Paws Pizza and Central Plaza Dippin Dots are open weekends. Please do not bring food into the Zoo.
Is there a gift shop?
Yes, the Zoo gift shop is bursting with toys and stuffed animals, t-shirts and apparel, eco-friendly and fair trade items, gift bags and more.
AnimalsBack to Top of List
John Ball Zoo is home to more than 1,800 animals. Habitats include:
- Mokomboso Valley Chimpanzee Exhibit
- North America animals including Grizzly bears, puma and bobcats
- Treasures of the Tropics - reptiles, amphibians & small primates
- Living Shores Aquarium & Penguinarium
- Red's Hobby Farm petting coral
- Lions of Lake Manyara
- Wild Way Trail - Lemurs & howler monkeys
- Tigers of the Realm
- And much more
AdventuresBack to Top of List
The zoo also features a number of kid-friendly rides and activities:
- Funicular to the Forest Realm - a tram ride up to the second highest ridge in Grand Rapids
- Zipline - a four-story, 300-foot "fly" over the zoo (seasonal)
- Sky Trail Ropes Course - four stories tall with two climbing levels (seasonal)
- Camel Rides (seasonal)
- Feedable parakeet aviary (seasonal)
A spacious park at the entrance of the zoo is perfect for picnicking.
Accessibility InformationBack to Top of List
- 1300 W. Fulton St.
- (616) 336-4300
Over 2,000 animals and more animal touching exhibits than any other zoo in Michigan; tigers, petting corral, wallabies, camels and budgies. Chimpanzees - lions - grizzly bear - otters - snow leopards…
Experience Grand Rapids, Michigan's diverse attractions including parks, the John Ball Zoo, museums, nature centers and sculpture gardens. Whether you're vacationing with the family or traveling for business, you'll want to take some time to enjoy these fun things to do in Grand Rapids.