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The John Ball Zoo – What you DIDN’T know


Stevendepolo's photos via Getty Images

Everyone knows that the John Ball Zoo has been undergoing some major overhauls this past year.  The John Ball Zoo isn’t ONLY about walking around and seeing all of the cool animals – the Zoo offers many more opportunities and events that you may not have known about.  Here is some information you might want to know about both the new AND old features at the Zoo:

Admission is only $8.50 for Adults and $6.50 for Kids over 3 years old – despite the changes, the prices are still very low!



There are a lot of options for concessions as you walk through the Zoo.  Here are a couple interesting concessions facts that you might not know about at first glance:

Souvenir Mugs – Buy a souvenir cup for 2012 and receive discounted and/or free refills throughout the 2012 season!

Pre-order Lunches – For only $4.00 per meal, you can receive brown bag lunches for your group.  You can pick between hot or cold lunch options.  Much more information is available here at the John Ball Zoo website.


Photo Courtesy of the John Ball Zoo Website


Who knew that there were so many rental facilities in the Zoo?

Overnight Adventures – Oh yes, you and your group of children can spend the whole night at the Zoo!  The Zoo offers different types of overnight experiences for different types of kids: Scout Troops have opportunities to earn some badges, and other groups can just have a good time!

Click here for more information.

Birthday Parties – You can choose to have your birthday party planned out and staffed by the Zoo (of course this includes the chance to meet an animal up close!).  Or you can have your party supplied with cake and favors, but the rest is up to you!

MUCH more information is available here.

The Ball Room – This is a great rental space for wedding receptions and corporate parties.  The Zoo’s website describes the high ceilings and the partially covered veranda which overlooks the rose garden.  The BALL Room also comes equipped with audio/visual equipment and screen, a prep kitchen, and rest rooms.

The NEW Bissell Tree House – The Tree House is a brand new addition to the Zoo this year!    In fact, it’s so new, no one has rented it yet; rentals start on August 1st 2012 for this beautiful location.  The Tree House is located in one of the highest points in Grand Rapids with beautiful views of the city.

Bonus: Guests will have to ride the new Funicular up to the Tree House for the event!

Click here for more information.

General Park Reservations – Picnic and other general reservations are managed through AccessKent.

View their website here for more information.

Photo Courtesy of the John Ball Zoo Website


There are actually so many things to do at the John Ball Zoo, this post would be far too long if I listed everything!

NEW Forest Realm and Funicular – Ride the Funicular up and down for $3 each way.  The Funicular ends in the Forest Realm with great views of Grand Rapids.  Eventually, the Forest Realm will be home to an entire tiger exhibit!

Education – The Zoo offers many ways for adults and children to be educated on the conservation of wildlife.  From Summer Camp to Classrom Visits, to behind-the scenes and zookeeping experiences!

More information on each of these can be found here.


Photo by sphilp1225 via Flickr


If you are interested in volunteering for or donating to the Zoo, please view this section of their website.


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