Green And Blue Butterfly

Accessibility at John Ball Zoo

John Ball Zoo is committed to ensuring that we are welcoming to all in our community. This is a pledge made by all of our employees. We strive to provide a safe, pedestrian-friendly environment where visitors of all ages and abilities can enjoy getting close to nature.

For more information on accessibility within the Zoo or specific disability accommodations, check out our accessibility guide.

Questions? Contact us at 616-336-4300 or

Sensory bags are available at our guest services desk near the admission booth. These include noise-canceling headphones, lap pads, fidget toys and a feeling card.

Headphone zones are located at the budgie aviary, the aquarium, the Natural Treasures building, and the chimpanzee indoor viewing area.

Quiet areas are located on the Waterfall Trail, Forest Realm Trail, chimpanzee viewing tunnel, and between the North American turtle and Canada lynx habitats. Our staff is sensory inclusive trained through KultureCity. Find us on the KultureCity App.

All guest with disabilities must have a valid form of admission to the Zoo. If a person with a disability requires a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) to experience the Zoo, a complimentary pass will be provided for the PCA and it may be obtained at any of the ticket windows at the entrance to the Zoo. This also applies for special programs and tours at John Ball Zoo.

Drinking fountains are located throughout the facility.  Please check the Zoo map. Complimentary cups of water may also be requested at any food stand or restaurant.

If at any time you need immediate assistance, please ask any Zoo employee.  If you have special needs, please visit our Guest Services office.

Wheelchairs are provided free of charge on a first-come, first-serve basis. All rentals require a $20 cash/card deposit to be held for the duration of the rental and given back upon return. Credit/debit card deposits may take 3-4 business days to return. All areas of the Zoo are accessible and staff can answer any questions guests may have. 

All the public restrooms in the Zoo are accessible. Gender-neutral/family restrooms are located at the entrance of the Zoo, in the Forest Realm, and in our Monkey Island Café. Zoo employees are neither trained nor permitted to lift a guest or help them inside a restroom. Should it be required, guests needing this assistance should plan to visit the Zoo with someone who can physically help them. Electronic-assist doors are located at the entrances to the restrooms in Africa and Red’s Hobby Farm.

We welcome guests with disabilities who choose to bring their trained service animal into the Zoo. Emotional support animals, as well as companion or comfort pets, are not allowed entry into the Zoo. Service animal trainers may not bring in-training animals under 12 months of age into the Zoo. Service animals are defined as dogs and miniature horses. Service animals must remain on a leash or a harness, be under the control of their handler at all times. The leash cannot exceed 6 feet in length. If a service animal’s behavior is inappropriate, the handler may be asked to remove your service animal from the specific areas or the premises.

Service animals are restricted where there is direct contact with Zoo animals or limited in certain areas due to the sensitivity of the Zoo’s animals. Please visit a team member at the Guest Services office to check in your service animal.

All merchandise locations are accessible. Wheelchair-accessible dining tables are located in the area surrounding the Monkey Island Café and the Tiger Paws Snack Shop.

To avoid large crowds, visit John Ball Zoo during non-peak times. Typically, fall and winter tend to be less congested and summer and holidays bring the greatest crowds. Weekdays, and non-holidays, and early morning times are generally less crowded.


Food & Beverage at John Ball Zoo at John Ball Zoo

John Ball Zoo has various food & beverage opportunities located throughout the Zoo for your convenience. All venues accept cash, check, or credit cards. Remember all proceeds from your food purchases go to support your Zoo!

To assist our visitors with allergies, we do allow outside food to be brought into the zoo. We do ask that no glass containers are brought in for the safety of our animals and our guests.

You can reach the Food & Beverage Department at (616) 336-4326 or

We appreciate your business!


Here's Where to Eat When You Visit

All souvenir cup refill programs are good for one season! Be sure to buy your 2022 cup early in the season and utilize the refill program throughout 2022.

Monkey Island Café

Depot Snacks

Tiger Paws Pizza

Dippin Dots

Whistle Stop

Monkey Bar

Bird's Nest

Lion's Den


Gifts of the Wild

The gift shop is open daily during normal Zoo hours. If you are a member, please have your membership card ready at all times. Show us your valid card to save 20% at any of our gift stands! Gift Cards are sold in the Gift Shop. Sold in any amount, they are good to use at any stand in the zoo. Call 616-336-4327 if you have any questions. 

*Curbside Pickup available – Call to pay by phone and have your item(s) brought out to your car. (Select times and days)

We can ship anything! Call 616-336-4327 to have any of our unique Zoo themed gifts shipped anywhere in the USA. Just pay shipping charges.

Eco-Friendly and Fair Trade

You will find hand-crafted authentic African items made by the tribesman of Kenya. We have marble seas turtles and other sculptures hand carved in Ecuador, proceeds go to help save the Sea Turtles. 

Some examples of Eco-Friendly items for 2020 include T-Shirts and Sweatshirts made from recycled bottles, wood stickers, a variety of reusable straws, Tree-Free products, pens made from recycled bottles, a wide variety of reusable bags, and plush filled with plastic bottles.  Stop in to see how you can help conserve and use products that do not harm the earth or animals.

Don’t pollute our lakes and rivers! Gifts of the Wild sells Zinc free sunscreen. As the animals would say, “We don’t pee in your pool, please don’t Zinc in our oceans, lakes, and rivers!” – Tropical Seas

Gift Bags

Gift Bags are perfect for school groups, group outings, or even birthday parties. We have two options to choose from to make your shopping for large groups super easy! Please order gift bags at least 7 days in advance to ensure we have items in stock. Items may be substituted based on availability. Please refer to the descriptions and pictures below to decide what will work best for your needs. Order online now or call 616-336-4327 with any questions.

Need a quick option for a group or birthday party? Purchase our pre-made gift bag for $4.99. Pictured below is our Big Roar Zoo Toy Bag perfect for school groups or birthday parties. It comes with a coloring book, crayons, 2 packs of tattoos, 2 slinkies, 4 sticky toys, and a stationary set.

Need a smaller option with fewer items in it? You can also get the Little Roar Zoo Toy Bag pictured below. Purchase this bag for $2.50. Comes with a pencil, stretchy reptile, and zoo bubbles.

T-Shirts and Apparel

We have T-Shirts for everyone in the family. From Adult all the way down to infant. We have a huge variety of styles and colors to choose from. Support your zoo by taking home one of these shirts. Want something other than a t-shirt? Need something cozy – take home one of our hooded sweatshirts or our popular Baja Jackets.

John Ball Zoo Souvenirs

Pens, and mugs, and shot glasses, oh my!! We have everything that you can think of collecting that has our “John Ball Zoo” name on it. Looking for a way to remember your trip? Check out the patches, pins, Christmas Ornaments, key chains, and everything else we could think of to put our name on.

Outside Seasonal Gift Carts

Safari Supplies

Located at the front of the Zoo next to the restrooms.

Stop by Safari Supplies to rent a Tiger Print Safari Stroller ($12), a Wagon with a Canopy ($12), a Wheelchair (Free, while supplies last), or an Amigo Electric Cart ($30). These are rented out on a first-come, first-serve basis. All rentals require a $20 cash/card deposit to be held for the duration of the rental and given back upon return. Credit/debit card deposits may take 3-4 business days to return. Safari Supplies also sells select gift items as well. Stop by to take a look!

Face Painting

Located in the central part of the Zoo next to the Aquarium.

Become one of your favorite animals for your visit to the Zoo. Choose from either a cheek design or a full face design. All of the paintings are done freehand by our talented face painting employees. Choose between 9 different cheek designs and 9 different full face designs. Please remember, artists’ styles may vary.

John Ball Zoo Gem Company

Located by the Petting Zoo.

Pan for your very own gems in our brand new Sluice! Choose from 3 different Gem Bags and then pour them into your screen to reveal your treasures. We have the Pay Dirt bag for $8.99 that comes with 6 ounces of Gemstone Mix, the Emerald Strike Bag for $14.99 that has 6 ounces of Gemstones and 3 ounces of emeralds, and the Motherlode Bag for $29.99! This bag comes with a little bit of everything including; Gemstone mix, Fossil Mix, Shark Teeth, Arrowheads, and a large piece of Amethyst Druzy. Stop by to explore and see what treasures you can find.

Red Panda Pit Stop

Located on the deck by the Red Panda Habitat.

After you stop to say hi to Wyatt and Wasabi, take home a souvenir of your favorite Red Pandas! We have a selection of plush, toys, souvenirs, and other fun items. If you see something you like here, make sure to pick it up, we may not sell the same things in the Gift Shop.