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

Back to Top of List

John Ball Zoo is home to more than 2,000 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


Back 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 Information

Back to Top of List


John Ball Zoo

  • 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.