John Ball Zoo

John Ball Zoo, Grand Rapids: Address, Phone Number, John Ball Zoo Reviews: 4/5

John Ball Zoo
4
About
John Ball Zoo inspires our community to be actively engaged in the conservation of wildlife and our natural environment. Over 2,000 animals including lions, tigers, bears (oh my) and chimpanzees! John Ball Zoo brings behind-the-scenes training and care to the public daily. Guests can enjoy both indoor and outdoor exhibits. Interactive experiences include a funicular (tram), zip line, high ropes course, and more! The Zoo closes in the winter so be sure to check out the website for open dates and times.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Popular mentions

4.0
744 reviews
Excellent
334
Very good
263
Average
117
Poor
26
Terrible
4

giggly711
United States382 contributions
Loved the zoo
Mar 2021 • Family
We absolutely loved coming to the John Ball zoo. We saw alot of the animals. The staff was super friendly. The zoo was in 100% compliance with social distancing.
Written April 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

deedee1951
Christchurch, New Zealand536 contributions
ruined by a few idiots
Apr 2021
Zoo is lovely and the lego exhibit is fabulous. BUT masks are mandated but not enforced once you are through the entrance. I would say about 90% were wearing masks appropriately. Entire families without masks and many chins covered.. People eating while walking so not wearing masks. It looks like they have tried to do a very good job with signs, distance markers etc but without enforcement it means nothing. My husband stopped along a path so a family without masks could walk by. He did not say a word but the guy walked uprip close to him before going around him and called him " a damn F....g liberal." They need a security force with some authority. The lovely young workers can ask nicely but they get ignored. Won't be back until after covid is over
Written April 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Alexander E
11 contributions
Up close and unique animal experiences
Nov 2020
My family and I visited the John Ball Zoo during the fall while the leaves were falling as winter draws near. We ordered our tickets online and were able to have them scanned from our mobile device upon entry. The Lego bricks animal sculptures were on display to view and touch. The animal exhibits allowed us to get up close to the animals like we never have at other zoos we've visited. The lion lookout provided us a elevated observation view like no other. The holiday lights show would've been very neat to see but we didn't have time to come back after night fall. We will definitely be stopping back again next time we are in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Written November 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Cristi Payton
Lowell, MI120 contributions
great zoo for a fun afternoon
Sep 2020
Great zoo. Pretty nice grounds. Well maintained. Takes 2-3 hours tops to explore everything. Do yourself a favor and bring your own food or eat before/after. Food is super expensive and not that great.
Written November 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

MikeWithEars
Lafayette, IN51 contributions
Family Fun
Sep 2020 • Family
We took a roadtrip with our two year old. Had pretty low expectations based on size of zoo and some of the reviews. Overall had a great time. The zoo is well maintained. Like that the exhibits are spread out up in the hills. Made for some great adventures in the wilderness. Social distancing and cleanliness standards were on par. Will definitely be back the next time we are up this way.
Written September 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jeffrey Koslowski
Canton, MI537 contributions
Great Use of Vertical Space
Sep 2020
I don't want to get into the ethics of this zoo or any zoo. From a purely visitor standpoint, the workers here did an excellent job. Tickets are recommended (might have even been required) in advance and as the day went on, you could tell why. We got in at 10:00 and by the time we were ready to leave a little bit before 2:00, the lines were a lot longer than they had been when we arrived.
Several people I talked to had told me that they had come here and never seen any animals. By the end, I wondered where they had been because every animals was on display, whether in the outdoor portion or visible through an indoor viewing areas. The Zoo is not terribly large from a square footage standpoint but where it really excels is making use of the upper space. The next closest zoo that I could to do that was San Diego. Some sections are on the smaller side, namely the aquarium, but some are really impressive with how close you can get to some of the animals. The brown bear was literally sitting against the glass. I was blown away at the size of them, especially their head. The mountain lions were also interesting as they were up, walking around, climbing, and generally acting as I thought they would in the wild.
There was one particular employee, Evan, than I want to single out. We met him at the entrance of the reptile house as well as for the Budgie feeding. He was knowledgeable and very light while talking with us. I appreciate it when employees can joke about their situation (when I asked him about his title, he responded with "well, my non-covid job is...") but still make you feel like every question you ask is relevant and important to answer. He probably gets the same questions over and over again every single day but he made me feel like I asked a great question (specifically, I asked what the difference was between a Budgie and a Parakeet) and that to me is excellent in the field of tourism.
Overall, this zoo may not be the biggest as far as walking around goes but there are a lot of animals here and they are almost all out to be seen. You'll make a lot of memories here and hopefully develop a greater appreciation for the earth and it's inhabitants while you're here.
Written September 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Holli
Wyoming, MI40 contributions
Great experience
Jul 2020 • Family
They had a lot of good precautions in place for covid. Loved the LEGO exhibits. It was a cooler day and a lot of the animals out. I love all the new additions they have this year and how they werent busy. Easier to see the animals and get around with little ones.
Written September 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kristie M
Quincy, IL27 contributions
Not a Joe Exotic Zoo
Sep 2020 • Family
My son and I loved this place, we had a ton of fun. The zoo is about conservation and is not a Joe Exotic style zoo, it’s a legit zoo.

The zoo is small and manageable with young children, took us about 2 hours and we did a few things twice. It is built into a hill which is steep at times. Almost everything is wheelchair/stroller accessible. The only thing I remember not being accessible is the lookouts, it is possible they are and I just didn’t see the ramp, but even without them you can still see all the animals, as there are many places to look into the animals. The signage and workers were very good at helping us find animals by telling us when an animal was in a different pet of their habitat.

COVID - someone was always walking around sanitizing things. All indoor areas had someone at the door making you put on a mask (I think even handing them out to people who didn’t have them, but don’t quote me on that) and making people wait to go in so groups are spread out. In general everything was very clean. Some experiences are closed, but the websites list them out.
Written August 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Shaun S
Atlanta, GA147 contributions
Fun place
Aug 2020
I am a zoo connoisseur of sorts - I can’t resist a zoo while traveling. This one is perfectly fine, offering a solid selection of animals who seem quite content and healthy. Some are a little hard to view and it’s not a huge place. But worth a stop if you are in town or live here.
Written August 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

lish9782
East Peoria, IL58 contributions
Sharing moments with all generations!
Aug 2020 • Family
When we travel we love exploring the local spots. This zoo offered a motorized cart for my aging mother. The smile on her face when she was able to be apart of this adventure, brought me to tears! The zoo is located on a hill so walking up and down is a definitely a thing to expect. They were under strict restrictions due to Covid-19 but the animal exhibits were open and well maintained. They also had a wonderful displays of lego animals that would leave you wondering how they were made!
Written August 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 740
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing