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 Questions

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John Ball Zoo is home to more than 2,000 animals. Habitats include:

  • Entry Valley - with the Pygmy Hippo Pavilion and Tide Pool
  • Americas - with Monkey Island and the Michigan Stream
  • Africa - with Chimpanzees and Lions
  • Forest Realm - with Amur Tigers and Red Pandas
  • Wild Way Trail - with Red's Hobby Farm and Frogs & Friends


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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
  • John Ball Zoo Gem Company - pan for gems in John Ball Zoo's own Sluice (open weekends depending on weather) 
  • Budgie Aviary - feed birds at this interactive exhibit
  • Zipline - a four-story, 600-foot "fly" over the zoo (seasonal)
  • Sky Trail Ropes Course - four stories tall with two climbing levels and over 15 obstacles (seasonal)
  • Camel Rides (seasonal)
  • Face Painting (open weekends depending on weather)

A spacious park at the entrance of the zoo is perfect for picnicking.

Accessibility Information

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  • 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 butterflies. Chimpanzees - lions - grizzly bear - otters - snow leopards - - and many large and small primates. Indoor and outdoor viewing. Full concessions and gift…

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.