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Advanced Lantern Festival tickets are required. Walkups not available on Sold Out nights. Purchase tickets online to guarantee your spot!
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

Amur Tiger

Panthera tigris altaica

Facts
Diet: Carnivore

Large hoofed mammals, such as boar, deer, and elk

Habitat

Tundra, Savanna, Mountainous areas, mixed deciduous and conifer forests.

Threat Range

Endangered

SSP (Species Survival Plan)

Yes

Region

Eastern Russia and small areas of Eastern China

Fun Facts

Each tiger’s stripes are unique to them as our fingerprints are unique to us.

Currently there are approximately 500 or less Amur tigers in the wild.

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Our Animals
Finn (1)
Titan

Male

Mabelle (1)
Mabelle

Female

Snowy Owl

Bubo scandiacus

Facts
Diet: Carnivore

Wild – Birds, fish, and mammals (Typically lemmings and mice)

Habitat

Tundra When food is scarce, snowy owls travel south to warmer climates in winter.

Threat Range

Vulnerable

SSP (Species Survival Plan)

Yes

Region

They have a circumpolar distribution.∙ Alaska, Canada, Greenland, as well as northern Scandinavia and Russia.

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Our Animals
Snowy Owl
Xenon

Male

Experience

Tree Top Play Zone

Information

Beautiful, shaded play area featuring wooden and rope bridges, play house area, and benches perfect for kids.

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

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

*Open daily

Amenity

Forest Realm Amphitheater

Information

This shaded area features bench seating and a stage where you can find Daily Animal Programs. Visit our Daily Animal Programs page for the full schedule and details.

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

*Open daily

Red Panda

Ailurus fulgens fulgens

Facts
Diet: Omnivore

Berries, blossoms, bird eggs, bamboo leaves, birds, and small vertebrates o Bamboo constitutes 85 to 95 percent of the red panda's diet

Habitat

Temperate climates in deciduous and coniferous forests

Threat Range

Endangered

SSP (Species Survival Plan)

Yes

Region

Himalayan mountains in northern Burma, Nepal, Sikkim region of India, and the districts of western Sichuan and Yunnan in China

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Our Animals
Wyatt (1)
Wyatt

Male

Wasabi (1)
Wasabi

Female

Cubs

3 Female cubs: Rose, Ruby, Willow

Amenity

Upper Waterfall

Information

The Upper Waterfall is a great place to take a rest. Enjoy a cool breeze off of the water as you look out at the Grand Rapids skyline and over the parts of the Wild Way Trail.

Experience

Zip Line

Information

COMING YOUR WAY SOON!

Location: Forest Realm Trail near the Red Panda’s

This four story, 600-foot, Zipline is the real thing! Riders are securely harnessed before they step off the platform and fly over the waterfall to another ridge! Children must be 85 pounds and fit securely into the harness to participate. Closed back shoes are required.

All height, weight, clothing and harness restrictions must be met to ride this experience. Additional restrictions may apply, please see the Zipline restrictions listed below.

Combo tickets are currently unavailable due to Ropes Course Closure. Come prepared! View our full list of requirements for more information and have your waiver signed and submitted all online!

Zipline may close early due to inclement weather.

General Guidelines:

  • A waiver must be completed by each participant/guardian.
  • Closed back shoes are required.
  • Guests should have on pants or shorts, no skirts or dresses.
  • Minimum weight of 85 pounds (34.02 kg).
  • Maximum weight is 250 pounds (113.4 kg). Participant must safely fit in the harness.
  • Must be 48 inches (122cm) tall to participate.
  • Participant must be able to understand and demonstrate knowledge of all safety rules.
  • Last ticket sold 30 minutes prior to zoo closing.
  • Participants while under the under the influence of drugs or alcohol is prohibited.
  • Cell phones are not allowed on attraction.
  • Pockets must be empty. No loose objects such as cell phones. Eyeglasses should be secure.
  • No gum, food or drinks allowed on the attraction.
  • Anyone with joint or back injuries my re-injure themselves or worsen a preexisting injury.
  • Anyone with heart problems, fresh stitches, or is pregnant should refrain from participating.

Please have the Individual Waiver Form filled out prior to your visit.

PRICES PUBLIC MEMBER
Per Ride $10.00 $8.00
Ropes Course and Zip Line Combo $16.00 $12.80

Event Venue

Bissell Tree House

Host Your Event At John Ball Zoo!

The Bissell Tree House, where fun and elegance meet, is situated on one of Grand Rapids’ highest points, is John Ball Zoo’s most picturesque venue.

Enjoy a spacious view of downtown with floor to ceiling windows, adjustable lighting for the perfect ambiance, and a covered deck set for cocktails, ceremonies, and more.

Whether you choose to host a seated meal or a casual cocktail party, the Bissell Tree House makes a memorable backdrop for any meaningful event in your life.

Experience

Funicular

Information

Enjoy a ride through the trees and above the zoo as you head to the top of the Forest Realm. The Funicular is perfect for folks looking for a ride to the top and leisurely stroll back down through the zoo.

Perfect for guests with strollers! The Funicular is an accessibility train where wheelchairs, strollers, and walkers are all allowed.

PRICES PUBLIC MEMBER
Per Ride $4.00 $3.20

Amenity

Bissell Tree House Restroom

Description Accessibility
Restroom Women's restroom with baby changer
Restroom Men's restroom with baby changer
Drinking Fountain 1 drinking fountain with bottle re-filler

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!