John Ball Zoo (at John Ball Park)

Park # 19

June 29, 2021

1300 W. Fulton St, Grand Rapids, 4908

If you haven’t visited John Ball Park Zoo lately, you are in for a surprise-as were we. The occasion was a  weeklong visit from my 4 year old grandson and we were looking for some fun activities to do with him.

It had been 3 years since we last visited and immediately I saw changes-the great John Ball statue where so many children have their photo taken with the park’s benefactor, now sits inside the zoo entrance and the paved trails throughout the zoo have taken some new turns (get the map!). 

Our visit started with a 3$ funicular ride to the top so we could walk down through the exhibits.  Our favorites: the red pandas, (a different animal than the familiar black/white panda), the chimpanzee exhibit, and the mama wallaby with a joey in her pouch- who made his appearance  outside the pouch a few times. The walk through budgie aviary (parakeet in America) was a great hit with my grandson, who had a budgie alight on his seed encrusted stick. 

From now until September 26, 2021, the Zoo is featuring a fascinating exhibit of larger-than-life brightly colorful animals made from tiny plastic toy bricks.   The exhibit comes from Great Britain and was made by BRICKLIVE Supersized.  Since all the animals depicted are small-to-tiny in real life but have amazing skills, the exhibit is named SMALL AND MIGHTY.

There is an entry fee to the zoo for anyone 3 years and up, BUT the Grand Rapids Public Library has FREE passes for anyone with a library card AND the JUMP program offers FREE admission for anyone with a MI Bridges card (up to 9 household members)- except Aug 5.   ALSO on WGVU Kids Day, 8/5/21, admission is only $5 per person. 

For a 4 year old, who is very inquisitive and has a memory like an elephant, this excursion was a hit. He had lots to tell his mom and dad, when he got home!