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John Ball Zoo, Grand Rapids

4.0
#1 of 7 in Outdoors in Kent County
Zoo / Aquarium Nature / Park
Touch the stingrays in the lagoon, stop by the Pelican Pier to see duck breeds from around the world, and visit the penguins in the aquarium at John Ball Zoo. The zoo showcases animals representing Africa, Asia, South America, Australia, and the United States like gorillas, tigers, lions, and emus. You'll discover a designated, interactive children's zoo that features camel rides, a ropes course, and a zipline for kids. Adults can try the Sky Trail--another ropes course. Board the funicular tram to the top of the zoo on your way in or out. Parking is free; check the website for seasonal closures before you visit. Add John Ball Zoo to your Grand Rapids travel itinerary, and discover new vacation ideas by using our Grand Rapids vacation generator.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
581 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • This is a great small zoo in that you can see everything in about half a day. Since my granddaughter is 4, this is the perfect time frame. The grounds are lovely as you feel as if you're walking throu...  more »
  • Lots of variety of animals Lots of fun for everyone; my kids when they were little loved going here; haven't been in along time; but was fun then should still be fun  more »
  • The zoo is always fun, seeing what's new year to year is what I like best. It's better to go early in the day because at times it can get very busy.  more »
Google
  • Close to the heart of the Grand Rapids Michigan city area. Good selection of animals to see, feed and pet. If taking kids go earlier in the day and recommend a stroller as the zoo has a fairly large area and a lot of walking will be involved. Large park and picnic area in front of the zoo entrance so bring the relatives too. Easy access just take exit 75 off the I-196 freeway and zoo is right at bottom of hill.
  • Been going to the zoo since we had kids {9 years). Love feeding the 'birds, looking for the mountain lions and snow leopards, riding the camels, watching the penguins,...Kids never are bored there. They don't fight and we can easily spend a day walking the whole park getting fresh air. If you bring a lunch it can be next to free; if you pay for a membership and use it more than once. Family membership very affordable. We always ride bikes there and make it a destination. The surrounding park has plenty to explore also. Easily a place to make a regular stop at and great for young kids and parents who don't want their kids spending our wonderful west michigan summer inside watching TV!
  • This was our first time here. We have gone to the Detroit zoo many times. It was nice to change it up. This zoo is great. The food is ok. I feel like we spent more time at this zoo than we do at Detroit because there are a lot of stops along the path for the kids. Play areas, zip lines....the rope challenge was my daughters favorite part. Lots of trees make you forget you're in the city.
  • They always seem to keep up with the improvements. I love the staff and the service we get here. So many many many things to see and do and seriously. It's not that expensive and it'll be well worth an entire day out with the family. 😊😊
  • The zoo was super affordable and not very crowded. There was plenty of parking and a decent amount of animals to see. The layout of the zoo is a little odd with lots of dead ends but all the animals seemed really happy and active. There was a lot of workers at the exhibits with information about the animals. It was well worth the trip!

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Where to stay in Grand Rapids

Only five hotels provide lodging downtown, but each charms its guests with a distinctive character. A small collection of bed and breakfasts and inns populate Old Town. These hotels are a five-minute walk from the city's main attractions, top restaurants, and conference centers, so they tend to fill up fast. Book a room early to ensure you get the lodging of your choice. There are also hotel chains near the airport and in residential areas; public transport and taxi service link these to the city's downtown.
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