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MORE ZOO FUN

Enjoy Experiences and Adventures At John Ball Zoo

All of our experiences are generally available during the summer season. However, occasionally Mother Nature requires that we close them for safety.

Note: Availability is subject to weather. Please call (616)336-2017 for daily availability.

Funicular

John Ball Zoo Gem Company

Budgie Aviary

Face Painting

Sky Trail Ropes Course

Zip Line

Shopping Cart

Chimpanzee

Pan troglodytes

Facts
Diet: Omnivore

Mainly fruit, supplementing with leaves, flowers, seeds, and insects. Chimps will also cooperate together to hunt and kill monkeys.

Habitat

Humid evergreen forests, tropical rainforests, deciduous forests, and dry savanna woodlands.

Threat Range

Endangered

SSP (Species Survival Plan)

Yes

Region

Populations are found where tracts of forests remain in the equatorial forest belt of central Africa.

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Our Animals
Peggy (1)
Peggy

Female

Sammy (1) (1)
Sammy

Male

Donnie (1)
Donnie

Male

Sanga (1)
Sanga

Female

Susie (2)
Susie

Female

Kiambi (1)
Kiambi

Female

African Lion

Panthera leo krugeri

Facts
Diet: Carnivore

Wildebeest, zebra, Thompson’s gazelle, buffalo, warthog, & antelope.

Habitat

Plains or savanna habitat with a large amount of prey available.

Threat Range

Vulnerable

SSP (Species Survival Plan)

Yes

Region

Sub-Saharan Africa except in the desert and rainforest habitats.

Fun Fact

African lions are special because they live in big families called prides. These prides work together to hunt for food, which they share with everyone in the group according to the social rules they follow.

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Our Animals
African Lion (1)
Kiume

Male

African Lion 2 (1)
Abena

Female

African Forest Edge

IMG_0083-2 (1)

Southern Ground Hornbill

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Geese

Mountain Bongo (1)

Mountain Bongo

Von der Decken's Hornbill

Tockus deckeni

Facts
Diet: Omnivore

Small ground prey (mammals), eggs, fruits, and insects

Habitat

Forest, savannah, or shrubland

Threat Range

Least Concern

SSP (Species Survival Plan)

No

Region

East Africa, such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and the United Republic of Tanzania

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Our Animals
Merida (2)
Merida

Female

Tockus (1) (1)
Tockus

Male

Experience

Camel Rides

Information

Weather dependent.                                       

Camel Rides are one of our most popular things to do at the zoo! You’ll be greeted by one of the most amazing animals of the world, and even get your picture taken!

General Guidelines: Participants must be a minimum of 34 inches tall to ride without a guardian. Participants may be grouped with other riders at the operator’s discretion. Maximum weight is 300 pounds.

PRICES PUBLIC MEMBER
Camel Ride $8.00 $7.00
Camel Photo $7.00 $7.00
Meerkats

Meerkats

porcupine, mammal, spines-359166.jpg

Cape Porcupine

Snacks & Drinks

Lion's Den

Enjoy Cold Slushies in our Signature Souvenir Bottle, and grab some Fresh Roasted Nuts, Popcorn, or Cotton Candy to go!

Menu

*Open daily

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

Southern Ground Hornbill

Bucorvus leadbeateri

Facts
Diet: Carnivore

Mainly insects. Also, amphibians, small mammals, and reptiles.

Habitat

Forest, savanna, or grassland

Threat Range

Vulnerable

SSP (Species Survival Plan)

Yes

Region

Sub-Saharan Africa, from southern Kenya to Botswana in the south.

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Our Animals
Dino (1)
Dino

Male (all red on throat)

IMG_0083-2 (1)
Priscilla

Female (blue coloration on throat)

Egyptian Goose

Alopochen aegyptiaca

Egyptian Goose
Facts
Diet: Herbivore

Grass, grains (mainly wheat), and leaves. Also, some small insects, worms, and frogs.

Habitat

Meadows, grasslands, and agricultural fields. Most of their time is spent in rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and wetlands.

Threat Range

Least Concern

SSP (Species Survival Plan)

No

Region

Africa and southern Europe. It is especially common in southern Africa, below the Sahara and in the Nile Valley. Introduced into Great Britain, and a substantial population still thrives there today.

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Our Animals
Entrance-1-1
Penny

Female (one horn is bent)

Entrance-1-1
Carrot

Female

Entrance-1-1
Beckson

Male

Mountain Bongo

Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci

Facts
Diet: Herbivore

Leaves, flowers, twigs, thistles, garden produce, and cereals. Bongos have also been known to eat burned wood as a means of getting salt or minerals.

Habitat

Rainforest, scrub forest, & mountains

Threat Range

Critically Endangered

SSP (Species Survival Plan)

Yes

Region

Small populations reside in the montane or highland forest of Kenya and in the Congo. A few remain in the Aberdare Conservation Area.

Screenshot 2023-02-15 at 10.34.14 AM
Our Animals
Beckson
Beckson

Male

Penny
Penny

Female (one horn is bent)

Mountain Bongo (1)
Carrot

Female

Porcupine, Cape

Hystrix africaeustralis

Facts
Diet: Herbivore

Roots, tubers, bulbs, fruit, bark, and bones. Osteophagia: Eating of bones in areas that lack phosphorous.

Habitat

Savanna, grassland, rocky hills, and outcrops

Threat Range

Least Concern

SSP (Species Survival Plan)

Yes

Region

Sub-saharan Africa, excluding the coastal desert of the southwest

Screenshot 2023-02-15 at 10.34.14 AM
Our Animals
Rolo (1)
Rolo

Female

Montu (1)
Montu

Male

Meerkat

Suricata suricatta

Facts
Diet: Omnivore

Primarily insects, but will also eat small vertebrates, eggs, and plant matter. Some immunity to venom, so will sometimes prey on venomous snakes and scorpions.

Habitat

Savannahs, shrubland, grasslands, and desert

Threat Range

Least Concern

SSP (Species Survival Plan)

Yes

Region

Southern Africa and the Kalahari Desert

Screenshot 2023-02-15 at 10.34.14 AM
Our Animals
Meerkats
Kali

Female

Meerkats
Kendi

Female

Meerkats
Dustin

Male

Meerkats
Red

Male

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)

Screenshot 2023-02-15 at 10.34.14 AM

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

5 of 12

Kestrel Nest Box Monitoring

6 of 12

Grand River Sucker Monitoring

7 of 12

Turtle Road Mortality Surveys

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Michigan Butterfly Network

9 of 12

Bat Surveys

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Massasauga Rattlesnake

11 of 12

City Nature Challenge

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Get Involved!