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MEMBERship

Give the unforgettable gift of wildlife and wild places!

Want to continue enjoying year-round zoo benefits?

Enjoy a year of access to the Zoo! Family fun awaits you.

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MEMBERSHIP

Enjoy The Amazing Benefits of Membership At John Ball Zoo!

2024 Season | March 22 – November 24

At John Ball Zoo in Michigan, memberships offer an unparalleled opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts and families to experience the wonders of nature up close. With an array of membership options tailored to suit varying needs, members gain unlimited access to a world of adventure and discovery. Whether it’s observing majestic lions, playful primates, or colorful birds, each visit promises new encounters and unforgettable memories.

Moreover, memberships not only provide discounts, but also support vital conservation efforts and educational programs, ensuring a sustainable future for wildlife both locally and globally. Join the John Ball Zoo community today and embark on a journey of conservation, education, and boundless wonder.

Local Reciprocal Partners

Check out this incredible list of institutions that have partnered with us, extending exclusive perks to our members! Get free or reduced rates to their institutions. It’s a thrilling opportunity to explore and discover new horizons, unlocking adventures at every turn!

MEMBERSHIP

Levels of Membership

We’re excited to have you as a Zoo Member! As a member, you’ll receive free unlimited general admission to John Ball Zoo for a year from the date of purchase, along with other amazing benefits and invitations to exclusive members-only events. Select the membership level that appeals to you below.

Premium Membership
$290
Preferred Membership
Best Value! $235
Basic Membership
Membership Add-Ons

Student and Family level memberships may add on one guest. To add two guests to the Family membership, renew at the Preferred level. Individual and Dual memberships may add on up to two guests.

Family and Preferred level memberships may add on up to two caregivers. One additional caregiver may be added to the Premium level membership. Caregiver must show photo ID for admittance. Sorry, caregivers may not bring guests.

MEMBERSHIP

Frequently Asked Questions About Membership At John Ball Zoo

In 2024 John Ball Zoo will be open to the public from: March 22 – November 24.

This is a list of institutions that have opted to allow our members to receive free or discounted admission to their facilities in exchange for the same from the John Ball Zoo.

Reciprocal Zoo & Aquarium List

You can view the list by clicking below or one can be mailed upon request, please call 616-336-4312.

Reciprocal Zoo & Aquarium List

We offer several local reciprocal opportunities that change year to year. We communicate about these partnerships through member emails and on our Facebook page. Be sure to bring your Zoo membership card and personal photo ID when you visit our partners.

Reciprocal Zoo & Aquarium List

Reciprocal institutions may change their policies at any time. We cannot guarantee that the list in place when you purchase or renew your membership will remain the same for the duration of your membership.

Although most zoos and aquariums update their reciprocal policies at the close of the calendar year, some changes may occur during the year. We make every attempt to post updates as quickly as possible, but it is always a good idea to call the zoo or aquarium you plan on visiting beforehand.

Does the Guest and/or Caregiver on my membership receive reciprocal benefits? The number of guests permitted may vary depending on the zoo or aquarium. Again, it is best to call the institution you hope to visit ahead of time so they may communicate their policies.

You may have to pay admission. You can ask the organization to call our Zoo during regular Membership Office hours (10:00am-4:00pm, M-F, excluding holidays), but this is not a guarantee. You should always have your membership card and photo ID when visiting reciprocal institutions. Contact the membership department (616) 336-4312 if you would like a PDF copy of your member card to be emailed to you to keep on your phone.

Many zoos and aquariums will not accept reciprocal memberships for special events.

JUMP

Free admission for qualified individuals across the state of Michigan

John Ball Zoo’s JUMP program helps break down barriers to outdoor, nature-based education by providing free admission for qualified individuals across the state of Michigan.

Ruth Jones, a former John Ball Zoo board member and principal for Grand Rapids Public Schools, imagined a program that would make the Zoo accessible to families regardless of income. All while encouraging an enriching, educational, and cultural experience. In 1998, the JUMP program was born and has since welcomed hundreds of thousands of families to the Zoo.

Still have questions? Contact us!

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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!