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John Ball Zoo

1300 W. Fulton St.
Grand Rapids  Michigan  49501
United States
(616) 336-4301

Midwest Living Review

Amy S. Eckert
Recent upgrades make this small and reasonably priced zoo a visitor-friendly destination.

John Ball Zoo has seen major improvements in the past two years, making it more natural and family-friendly. The new exhibits for spider monkeys and lions make it easy for everyone, even toddlers, to get a good view of the animals. The monkeys enjoy a new island, complete with waterfalls, and the lions now roam through a grassy, natural habitat rather than pacing in conventional zoo cages. A few of the improvements come with small but reasonable fees. The expanded petting zoo, for example, lets visitors pet stingrays and horseshoe crabs or buy food sticks to feed colorful budgies. Other walk-through areas include wallabies and pygmy goats. One of the zoo's highlights is an area devoid of animals--it's a play area for humans. Adults and kids can whiz across a corner of the zoo on a 4-story, 300-foot zip line or scale a super-sized jungle gym rigged with ropes and a hook-and-pulley system.

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