The tigers are coming to Grand Rapids, and we don't mean the baseball players this time.

The John Ball Zoological Society announced today they will be bringing tigers back to the Grand Rapids zoo in Phase II of the Zoo Society's Restore the Roar Capital Campaign.

WZZM TV13 reports the projects include the Bill and Bea Idema Foundation Funicular and Forest Realm, the Bissell Tree House, which was announced earlier this year, the new Amur Tiger Exhibit, a new Grizzly Bear Exhibit, Visitor Welcome Center, and a Central Services/Commissary facility.

This major zoo expansion and renovation breaks ground this summer with expected completion of the funicular, tree house, welcome center, and central services facility in 2012, completion of Grizzly Exhibit in 2013, and completion of Tiger Exhibit in 2014.

The campaign began in 2010 with the largest contribution in the history of the Zoo of $5 million from Bea Idema and the Bill and Bea Idema Foundation. The Zoo Society announced Thursday  the campaign has received $10,250,000 more in pledges and contributions.

Other donors who have provided gifts include:

  • Bill and Marilyn Crawford
  • Wege Foundation
  • Meijer Foundation
  • Frey Foundation
  • BISSELL Inc. in honor of their employees
  • Allen and Helen Hunting
  • Louis and Helen Padnos Foundation in honor of their employees

Thursday's announcement kicks off a community-wide effort to raise $1,750,000 to complete the expansion/renovation projects.

The Zoo's last tiger was moved to another zoo in 2009. The decision was made not to bring tigers back to the Zoo until a larger more natural exhibit could be built for them.