GRAND RAPIDS

Lantern Festival

Presented By

Butterfly green
FOLLOW THE PATH TO SEE ALL THE LANTERNS!

Please be advised that while we strive to offer a variety of dining and shopping experiences, not all food and merchandise venues may be open during your visit.

LANTERN FESTIVAL
APRIL 10 – JUNE 16
TUESDAY – SUNDAY | 7:30PM – 11:30PM

Timed tickets sold every 30 minutes. Last entry at 10:30pm. Advanced tickets required. Event will happen rain or shine.

The Grand Rapids Lantern Festival is a truly breathtaking experience for all ages. John Ball Zoo is the first and only place you can see these incredible works of art in Michigan. The lantern festival will feature handcrafted Asian lantern displays that will illuminate the Zoo and tell the intersecting story of wildlife and Asian culture.

A Roaring Good Time!
This year’s festival will feature new lanterns and interactive experiences. Enjoy highlights from last year’s festival below!

John Ball Zoo is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged tickets, or for tickets obtained from sources other than John Ball Zoo. The ticket holder grants permission to John Ball Zoo and their agents, to utilize the image, voice, or likeness of the ticket holder in any photograph, live, or recorded video display or other transmission or reproduction in whole or in part while at the Zoo. Use of this ticket constitutes acceptance of these terms.  Zoo events happen rain or shine, refunds will not be provided due to weather. 

LANTERN FESTIVAL FAQS

The Lantern Festival is a one-mile light tour through John Ball Zoo. The festival features handcrafted Asian lantern displays that will illuminate the Zoo and tell the intersecting story of wildlife and Asian culture.

Individual Tickets are as follows:

TUESDAY – THURSDAY | GENERAL ADMISSION
Non-members | $22.00
Members | $19.00

TUESDAY – THURSDAY | 4 PASS TICKETS
*This means you are purchasing 4 tickets for 4 people on the same night.

Non-members | $70.00
Members | $60.00

FRIDAY, SATURDAY, & SUNDAY | GENERAL ADMISSION
Non-members | $24.00
Members | $21.00

FRIDAY, SATURDAY, & SUNDAY | 4 PASS TICKETS
*This means you are purchasing 4 tickets for 4 people on the same night.

Non-members | $75.00
Members | $65.00

*No Student, Senior, or Military discount is offered during the event. The Museum for All program is not available for this event.

Yes! All children 2 years old and under are FREE! Children ages 3 and up will require a ticket.

Unfortunately, the Museum for All program does not qualify for our evening and special events.

We highly recommend purchasing tickets online ahead of time to ensure an available ticket at your preferred entry time. Tickets may be purchased onsite if entry time capacity is still available. Our ticket booth is open every night that the Lantern Festival runs from 7:30pm-10:30pm.

No! Entry times are staggered to ensure an enjoyable guest experience. Once you’ve entered the event you can enjoy it at your own pace.

Yes. All Daily Tickets and Lanterns Tickets need to be purchased separately.

Animals will not be viewable on the Lantern Festival route at night. For our animals’ safety, we keep them on their typical nightly routine and for most of them, that means that they are in their indoor habitats for the night.

The Lantern Festival will operate rain or shine, so we do not offer refunds for any tickets purchased. If necessary, we can move those tickets to an alternate date. In order to do that, please email [email protected], provide the Booking ID that is on your tickets and the alternate date you would like to move to.

*We cannot guarantee that you will be able to move your tickets if the alternate date you are requesting is full.

Yes! We provide several food options throughout the park during the festival.

It takes roughly 1 – 1 ½ hours to get through the entire Festival.

PRESENTING SPONSOR

MEDIA SPONSOR

ENTERTAINMENT SPONSOR

ENTERTAINMENT SPONSOR

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

INDIVIDUAL LANTERN SPONSOR

MAJOR ELEMENT SPONSOR

Shopping Cart

Amenity

Restroom

Description Accessibility
Family Restroom 2 Family Restrooms with Baby Changers in Each
Restroom Men Restroom with Baby Changer
Restroom Women Restroom with Baby Changer
Quiet Zone 1 Quiet Zone with Baby Changer (quiet zone is on the left side of the Visitor Services Restroom next to the family restrooms.)

Amenity

Restroom

Description Accessibility
Restroom Men Restroom with Baby Changer
Restroom Women Restroom with Baby Changer
Drinking Fountain 1 Drinking Fountain with Bottle Re-filler

Amenity

Tiger Paws Restroom

Description Accessibility
Restroom 2 family restrooms with a baby changer in each
Drinking Fountain 2 drinking fountains with 1 bottle re-filler

Amenity

Restroom

Description Accessibility
Restroom Men's restroom with Baby Changer
Restroom Women's restroom with Baby Changer
Drinking Fountain 2 drinking fountains with 1 bottle re-filler
First Aide Kit Visit Camel Rides

Gift Shop

Gifts of the Wild

Gift shop display
Gifts Galore

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.

Amenity

Safari Supplies

Information

Safari Supplies not only has any of the basic you may have forgotten for your trip to the zoo, but also extra items for rent to make your trip more accessible.

Wheelchairs and Electric Carts are only available on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be reserved ahead of time. Deposit required at time of rental and will be returned upon return of equipment.

Description Price
Safari Strollers $12
Wagon with Canopy $12
Wheelchairs Free
Amigo Mobility Carts $30

Experience

Face Painting

Information

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.

Snacks & Drinks

Dippin' Dots

Menu

Snacks & Drinks

Depot Snacks

Menu

Food

Monkey Island Cafe

Menu

Tianyu Handy Crafts Shop

Items
Aluminum Braiding
Inner-Bottle Painting
Chinese Lantern

Snacks & Drinks

Whistle Stop

We proudly serve Hudsonville Ice Cream here at JBZ. Stop here by the Hobby Farm for your favorite flavor and get a basket of hand-tossed tenders as a snack!

Menu

Snacks & Drinks

Bird's Nest

Located in the Forest Realm, our 21 and older guests can enjoy a variety of Craft Beers while getting a scoop of Dippin Dots or a Soft Pretzel for a snack.

Menu

Food

Tiger Paws Pizza

Enjoy Fresh Pizza and Breadsticks and watch the tigers while your children play in the Treetop Outpost! The ever-popular Pineapple Dole Whip can be found here and Guests 21 and up can enjoy our Dole Whip Moscato Floats or a nice Cold Beer.

Menu

Tianyu Performance

Forest Realm Amphitheater
Showtimes
8:15pm | 9pm | 10pm

*Please note that performances are contingent upon weather conditions and may be canceled in the event of inclement weather.

*Seating at the stage is limited, and access to the show will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Access to performances is not guaranteed.

Performances
Face Changing

Experience the exhilarating world of Face Changing, an ancient Chinese art form deeply rooted in Sichuan opera. Vibrant costumes, music, and masks bring iconic characters to life on stage. With a mere flick of a fan or a graceful gesture, performers seamlessly transition between personas, unveiling the raw emotions and intricate thoughts of their characters. 

Artistic Hula Hoop

Experience the thrilling fusion of athleticism and artistry in the world of artistic hula hoop, where performers mesmerize with their acrobatic feats. The hula hoop has evolved into a staple prop for competitions and dynamic performances, as performers skillfully manipulate multiple hoops with precision and grace.

Teeter Board

Prepare to be dazzled by the captivating artistry of teeter board performances, where skilled performers balance and execute daring feats like rope skipping, juggling, and handstands with finesse. This mesmerizing display seamlessly blends athleticism, grace, and precision, delivering an unforgettable visual spectacle.

Handstanding on Chairs

Watch in amazement as acrobats skillfully balance on chairs stacked on unstable angles or supported by just one or two legs, while executing breathtaking feats of balance atop them. With chairs ingeniously modified for maximum instability, this captivating performance showcases the incredible skill and precision of these talented acrobats.

Acrobatic Show - Spacewalk

Prepare to be transported into a world where tradition meets innovation in an electrifying acrobatic extravaganza. This groundbreaking show seamlessly blends traditional acrobatic skills with cutting-edge technology, delivering an unparalleled visual spectacle that will leave audiences in awe. Marvel as performers execute thrilling maneuvers like circling, handstanding, and walking with the assistance of aerial ropes and supports, creating a breathtaking display of skill, agility, and sheer artistry.

Hat Juggling

Prepare to be mesmerized by the mesmerizing artistry of hat juggling, where the performer deftly tosses hats into the air while executing dazzling somersaults. Enhanced by vibrant colors, the rhythmic movements and lively expressions captivate audiences of all ages, creating an unforgettable visual feast that delights and amazes.

Tianyu Forest Performance voiceover narration provided by Phil Tower, Station Manager, 88.1 FM WYCE Community Radio.

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!