Looking for some opportunities for fun, learning, and up-close experiences with animals this summer? A whole world of learning fun waits for kids - and adults - at John Ball Zoo. Visitors have the chance to see the zoo after dark when they sign up for a Zoo Overnight or a Twilight Tour. In addition to these nocturnal offerings, the zoo hosts Summer Day Camps and the occasional Kid's Night Out:


Kids in grades 3 - 8 can sign up for one of the many Zoo Overnights offered on weekend evenings throughout the summer. Not only do kids get to sleep with the chimps (bring a sleeping bag!) they are treated to an action-packed itinerary that includes:

  • games
  • keeper talks
  • night tours
  • live animal demonstrations
  • evening snack
  • breakfast
  • zipline ride for kids entering 5 - 8 grade
  • and more!

Zoo Overnights are themed, with the theme changing each week. Availability for zoo overnights is limited and registration is required. Groups may also create custom overnights at the zoo. Call (616) 336-4301 x1001 for more information.


If sleeping at the zoo doesn't fit your agenda, consider taking your family on a John Ball Zoo Twilight Tour.

A Twilight Tour lets you experience the zoo after dark. Bring a flashlight and a sense of adventure because this guided zoo tour happens as the sun goes down! Twilight tours explore how animals adapt to life in the dark. You'll also learn how to use your senses at night.

Included in this program:

  • an animal encounter
  • hands-on activities for children ages 5 years and above
  • a guided tour.

Twilight Tours for groups can be scheduled for a variety of times and dates, depending upon the time of year and needs of your group. Group tours are priced at $8/person with a 10-person minimum. Questions? Call Rachael Perretta 616-336-4301 x1001 or email education@jbzoo.org

Grizzly bear in mud at the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, MI

Of course, there are daytime learning options available at the zoo, too. Consider Zoo Summer Camp, or in the Spring and Fall, Kid's Night Out.


Summer camp at John Ball Zoo is unique and always very popular. Classes often will sell out in early spring.

If you are lucky enough to score a spot in a Zoo Summer Camp, your child will be treated to a hands-on learning experience that follows a theme for the week. Campers get behind-the-scenes tours, play games and do activities related to their camp theme. Summer zoo camps are available for kids as young as three and up through ninth grade.

To check current camp availability, click here.

Jandernoa Treetops Outpost at the John Ball Zoo


Offered on select weekend evenings in the spring and fall, every Kids Night Out atJohn Ball Zoo features a private, after hours zoo tour for your kids!

Each session is different, so the kids see and learn new things each time they go. Plus, kids eat pizza and have play time while mom and dad enjoy a little R&R.

Kids Night Out is for ages 4-12 years old $25/person/class ($20 for each additional child living in the same household)

Guest authorMelodyVanderWeide is a self-professed idea lover. Now a parent to three young children, she delights in late-night Netflix viewing, chalk paintingand coordinating the happenings at Grand Rapids premier parent resource,grkids.com.