John Ball Zoo – Grand Rapids – Michigan

My mother says I’ve been to the John Ball Zoo, but digging back into memory, I can’t recall such a visit. So, I created new memories with family this past weekend by going to the zoo.

The zoo itself started with forty willed acres from John Ball in 1884. It has grown from a public park to a garden, to a local nature center where it stored a collection of animals throughout the state of Michigan, including, but not limited to the wolf, eagle, peacock, bear, and fox. People flocked to see these animals; animals they didn’t see everyday. The collection grew overtime, adding more pronounced exotic animals such as monkeys, tigers, a lion, etc. To read about the rich history of the John Ball Zoo, click here.

I am fascinated by the 125 years of this zoo and can understand the educational aspect of it. The zoo has many conservation purposes, read them here. Yet, I still struggle seeing exotic animals trapped in environments that are not of their natural habitat. Though, I have to admit for the American Pelican who had one wing and couldn’t fly any longer, has a place to call home.

As for the grounds, I found them to be an easy access. Our group had a variety of ages, from five to sixty-five, everyone seemed to not wear out too quickly, in the three hours we spent there. It’s $7 or less to enter with discounts for people of all ages. An activity the whole family can attend without breaking the bank. Once thru, you are free to explore and discover. Unfortunately, on our early Spring visit, many animals weren’t present, due to their need for warmer temperatures. This only means one thing, I will need to go back when the weather gets a little warmer. Late Spring or Summer would likely be a better viewing opportunity to see the animals. And hopefully the additions to the zip line, new trails, and other cool things will be completed.

So, get out of the house and explore where one can enjoy nature at it’s finest, outside.

Here are a few pictures of I took:

The Crocus flower, enjoying the sunshine near the goat who appears on the header image.


Bird and butterfly housing at the Tree Top Post


Tiger scratching the face on a beloved tree in the Tigers of Realm


Gecko hugging a stick and posing for the camera in the Tropics Entry


Green Python in the Tropics Entry, near the Grecko




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