WELCOME TO

JOHN BALL ZOO

Inspiring our community to be actively engaged in the conservation of wildlife and our natural environment since 1891.

EVENTS

There's Always Something Happening
at John Ball Zoo!

No matter the time of year, we’re always finding new ways to provide you with a festive and interactive experience. Our Daily Animal Programs include animal trainings, animal feedings, and animals receiving enrichment. Event schedule subject to change due to unforeseen events.

2024 EVENTS SCHEDULE

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EDUCATION

Make Learning Come Alive for Your Students with Our Education Programs

Our programs are designed using fun, hands-on and flexible teaching methods for students ages three through adulthood. At John Ball Zoo, our goal is to teach our guests about wildlife conservation and the importance of restoring and protecting natural ecosystems. We offer onsite programs that help school-aged children spark their interest in wildlife conservation with lessons and activities that are rooted in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). These programs are available to groups ranging from Pre-K to High School Seniors. Our offsite programs will allow you to bring an interactive zoo into your classroom or qualified location. The learning opportunities don’t stop there! We also provide opportunities for distance learning, professional development, and an interactive Virtual Zoo Lab. Become immersed in the world of wildlife conservation with our educational programs, enrichment curriculum, workshops, and trainings!
EDUCATION

Make Learning Come Alive for Your Students with Our Education Programs

Our programs are designed using fun, hands-on and flexible teaching methods for students ages three through adulthood. At John Ball Zoo, our goal is to teach our guests about wildlife conservation and the importance of restoring and protecting natural ecosystems. We offer onsite programs that help school-aged children spark their interest in wildlife conservation with lessons and activities that are rooted in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). These programs are available to groups ranging from Pre-K to High School Seniors. Our offsite programs will allow you to bring an interactive zoo into your classroom or qualified location. The learning opportunities don’t stop there! We also provide opportunities for distance learning, professional development, and an interactive Virtual Zoo Lab. Become immersed in the world of wildlife conservation with our educational programs, enrichment curriculum, workshops, and trainings!
CONSERVATION

Conserving Wildlife and Wild Places in More Than 30 Countries

Conservation education is at the core of the Zoo’s mission and we strive to provide opportunities for our guests and partners to grow their knowledge, appreciation, and support of wildlife conservation.

Grean Palm Leaf
SUPPORT

Providing customized and compassionate care to over 2,000 animals

From nourishing our animals with local produce in their diets to innovative medical care, our team provides customized and compassionate care to the over 2,000 animals that call John Ball Zoo home. None of this is possible without your philanthropic support.

Because we are a nonprofit organization, we rely on contributions from our community to help us go above and beyond in our daily operations. It is also important for us to give back to the community that’s given so much to us, and to inspire others to be active participants in the conservation of wildlife and our natural environment.

Whether you choose to contribute to our Annual Fund, join the Conservation Circle, sponsor an animal, or form a corporate partnership, your support fuels our mission! We truly appreciate your dedication to wildlife conservation.

ZOO MAP

Explore Our Animals and Discover New Experiences

There is so much to explore when you visit John Ball Zoo! On your voyage beyond Entry Valley, you will discover captivating habitats like the Aquarium and Wild Way Trail along with fun, interactive experiences like Face Painting, Zip Lining, Camel Rides, and our Forest Realm Amphitheater. Click an area to zoom in and learn more about the animals!

SPONSORS

Your Support Makes Our Mission Possible!

When you support John Ball Zoo, you not only invest in exemplary animal care, state of the art animal exhibits, inspiring educational programs and first-class visitor amenities, but also in West Michigan. As a sponsor, your company will touch the lives of over 500,000 children and adults annually. We sincerely appreciate your support.

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Great Lakes Rare Turtles

Great Lakes Conservation
About

Turtles are in trouble around the world and locally. The Great Lakes Rare Turtle Program addresses on threats that are existential and widespread for Blanding’s, Spotted, Wood, and Box Turtles. The John Ball Zoo is working wth partners to study head starting as a conservation tool, protecting nesting habitat for Wood Turtles from raccoons, and researching the distribution and status of Spotted Turtles in Southwest Michigan. The zoo partners with local community scientists to indentify road crossings that pose a threat to Blanding’s and other species of turtles.

Partners

Poweshiek Skipperling

Oarisma powesheik

Facts
Habitat

Grassland, Wetlands (inland)

Threat Range

Critically Endangered

Region

Extant (resident) - Canada (Manitoba); United States (Wisconsin, Michigan), Possibly Extinct - United States (South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa), Extinct - United States (Indiana, Illinois)

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Mitchell's Satyr

Great Lakes Conservation
About

The prairie fens of southern Michigan are a stronghold for the Endangered Mitchell’s Satyr butterfly. We are working with Michigan State University, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, and the Kalamazoo Nature Center to develp to propagate this rare butterfly. Offspring reared in the program may be used to supplement wild Mitchell’s Satyr populations.

Partners

Freshwater Mussels

Great Lakes Conservation
About

Freshwater Mussels are one of the most fastenating groups of animals. Unfortunately they are also one of the most imperiled groups on animals with more than 70% of North American species listed as Threatened or Endangered. Our own Grand River is home to an impressive 32 different species, 19 of which are listed. The John Ball Zoo is working with scientists at Grand Valley State University to evaluate Grand River Mussel populations. During the 2023 field season, the team documented over 1,000 individuals from 27 different species. This includes the Endangered Snuffbox Mussel.

Partners

Habitat Hero

Community Science
About

The Habitat Hero program is focused on creating better urban pollinator habitat by giving away native plants to west Michigan community members. By giving away native trees, shrubs and wildflowers, we are inviting community members to provide crucial nectar sources for pollinators as well as become more involved in pollinator conservation in their own yards and gardens.

Partners

Kestrel Nest Box Monitoring

Community Science
About

American Kestrels are one of North America’s most abundant raptors, but their populations have been steadily declining since the mid 1960’s. This year we have begun participating in the American Kestrel Partnership, run by the Peregrine Fund, to monitor local kestrel nest boxes and help better understand Kestrel population trends and biology.

Partners

Grand River Sucker Monitoring

Community Science
About

Suckers are a very important, and often overlooked, group of migratory fish that inhabit the Grand River. Every spring they migrate upriver from Lake Michigan to spawn in tributaries of the Grand River. We are joining a project started by the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago to determine how changes in temperature and flow of the streams impact the spawning behavior of the suckers.

Partners

Turtle Road Mortality Surveys

Community Science
About

One of the major threats to turtle populations is mortality associated with roads and vehicles. We have a team of trained volunteers who survey predetermined road crossing sites and report the number of turtles they find at these locations. We plan to use the data to assist in conservation decision-making regarding roads and turtles in west Michigan.

Partners

Michigan Butterfly Network

Community Science
About

As part of our pollinator conservation work, we want to understand how native butterfly populations are changing over time. By training community members to use the Michigan Butterfly Network monitoring protocol, we are offering passionate people the opportunity to help contribute to our understanding of butterfly populations in west Michigan.

Partners

Bat Surveys

Community Science
About

West Michigan is home to several species of rare and threatened species of bats. This summer we will have a group of volunteers collecting bat occurrence data by driving predetermined routes and using special recorders and software to identify bat species. The data will be submitted to the North American Bat Monitoring Project as part of their ongoing analysis of bat abundance and occupancy across North America.

Partners

Massasauga Rattlesnake

Great Lakes Conservation
About

The Massasauga is Michigan’s only venomous snake and plays an important role in the ecosystem. Unfortunately, these snakes are declining in numbers and are listed as Threatened. The John Ball Zoo helps to educate the public on the plight of the Massasauga and helps conservation biologists study them in the field. Currently, we are assisting Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, Grand Valley State University, and Sarett Nature Center develop new technologies to monitor this secretive snake species.

Partners

City Nature Challenge

Community Science
About

The City Nature Challenge is one of the world’s largest annual community science events. Started by iNaturalist in 2016 as a friendly competition between the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, this bioblitz has grown into a global phenomenon with over 500 cities participating. Taking place over the last weekend in April each year, the City Nature Challenge is all about getting outside and documenting the biodiversity in and around our communities while building and strengthening relationships with other people who are passionate about conserving local species. The West Michigan City Nature Challenge is Michigan’s only City Nature Challenge event, and encompasses Allegan, Barry, Kent and Ottawa Counties. We are excited to partner with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and many other local organizations to engage our communities in four days of exploring our biodiverse outdoor spaces.

Partners

Michigan Area

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Freshwater Mussels

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Habitat Hero

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Kestrel Nest Box Monitoring

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Grand River Sucker Monitoring

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Turtle Road Mortality Surveys

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Michigan Butterfly Network

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Bat Surveys

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Massasauga Rattlesnake

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City Nature Challenge

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Get Involved!