John Ball Zoo

News Bits — December 3, 2009

December 3, 2009 // 0 Comments

Offer joins Rockford Rotary Tim Offer joined the Rockford Rotary Club in September. Offer is currently the branch manager for National City Bank in Rockford. He has had this position for the past four years. Prior to branch management, Offer spent time as a personal banker at various branches throughout West Michigan. He has become active in the Rockford community, and continues to devote his time to the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, Rockford East Business Association, and Rogue River BNI. Offer graduated from Michigan State University in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in general management. He is currently attending Western Michigan University earning his MBA with a focus in marketing. He is married to Ann. Animal enrichments used to keep zoo animals engaged How do you get an 800-pound bear to exercise? Dab a little honey way up high on the walls of his exhibit! This is just one little trick John Ball Zookeepers use to ensure that their animals stay interested in their surroundings, alert and, in fact, busy! With a lot of thought (and a little scheming) John Ball Zookeepers, along with zookeepers around the country, devise ways to recreate the natural conditions that the animals might encounter in the wild. This is called Animal Enrichment, and Saturday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., John Ball Zoo is hosting an event all about it. Each year, John Ball Zookeepers ask the community for enrichment “presents” for the animals. This year, any guest who makes a donation of one or more animal enrichment items, will get their admission to “Christmas for the Animals” absolutely free! Christmas for the Animals also offers a free visit with Santa and his reindeer, and the animals will be receiving enrichment so people can see how it works. Without a donation the event admission is still only $3.50. For the safety and health of the animals, items must be unopened and not past the expiration date. Diabetic and sugar-free items are also needed. John Ball Zoo is located at 1300 Fulton Ave., Grand Rapids. For more information and a list of Enrichment items, visit

Saturday Night at the zoo for grown-ups

August 13, 2009 // 0 Comments

John Ball Zoo, WGVU co-host Saturday Night Alive As fundraising galas go, Saturday Night Alive offers music, food and drinks. Yet there is something very different about this event. On Saturday, August 15, from 7 to 10 p.m., adults will rule the zoo. They will have their turn to pet stingrays and enjoy the animals, and they’ll be able to do it listening to live music, sipping a cocktail, and munching on delicious appetizers from area restaurants. To the guest, Saturday Night Alive will be fun, hilarious and sometimes even eye-opening. To the John Ball Zoo and WGVU, the co-host of Saturday Night Alive, the event will be a valuable fundraiser that will support future children’s programs both on-air and at the zoo. Also special about this event is the out-of-the-ordinary adult zoo tours. The favorite, “Odd & Unusual Animal Mating Behaviors,” will be offered a few times during the event. Expert “Kiss-n-Tell” Kristi Mumbrue will escort guests through the aquarium and Treasure of Tropics building, highlighting some of the extraordinary and remarkable “romantic tactics” of the animals. Also on hand for one-of-a-kind zoo tours will be Mountain Marv (Legends & Myths) and No-No Nancy (Scoop on Poop and Other Gross Facts About Animals). Two music stages will feature the Evidence Jazz Group and Brian VanderArk (formerly of Verve Pipe). There will be appetizers from 10 area restaurants, including Indulgence, Jimmy’s Ribs, Las Vegas Cheesecake, On the Boarder and Shiraz Grille, to name a few. A cash bar will also be provided. Saturday Night Alive is a ticketed, private event. Tickets are only $25 ($20 for Zoo and WGVU members), and are available by logging on to or by calling 1-800-442-2771. The event takes place at John Ball Zoo, 1300 W. Fulton, one mile west of downtown Grand Rapids. You must be 21 or older to attend.  

John Ball Zoo throws a party

April 15, 2009 // 0 Comments

Earth Day event will feature over 30 green organizations Yes, being green has definitely caught on. Manufacturers, architects, and businesses of all kinds have found ingenious ways to conserve and preserve. But how about every day family households that want to help? What can they do that’s affordable, simple and saves? Party for the Planet at John Ball Zoo is the place to find out. The event will take place on Saturday, April 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Over thirty West Michigan organizations will be attending Party for the Planet and each will offer something unique. There will be seedling give-aways, games, entertainment, science experiments, recycling and conservation  tips and of course, the animals.  Party for the Planet will also be the “one-stop-drop” for recycling of electronics and household items thanks to the on-site collection by Kent County Department of Public Works, 1-800-GOT JUNK? and Goodwill Industries.   Zoo admission for Party for the Planet is only $3.50 for adults, $3.00 for children 13 and under, and kids two and under are free.  John Ball Zoo is located on Fulton Ave., one mile west of downtown Grand Rapids.  For more information or (616)336-4374 Full list of participants:  Association of Grand Rapids Landscape Professionals Will be distributing free white pine seedlings City of Grand Rapids – Environments Services Disney            Will have give-aways promoting upcoming movies. Girl Scouts Will be helping kids plant seeds in take-home pots. Blandford Nature Center Will be handing out seedlings. Goodwill Industries Will be collecting clothes and household items. Grand Rapids Children’s Museum Make-n-take crafts and games. Grand Valley Metro Council Green Chauffers (‘green’ taxi service) GVSU “Greening of the Grands” Project             Free blue spruce seedlings GVSU Natural Resources Management Healthy Homes Coalition Will be helping people keep their homes safe inside and out. Horizon Hydroponics Displaying tools for ‘green’ gardening. Animal Medical Center of Wyoming Land Conservancy of West Michigan Michigan Nature Association Natural Awakenings MagazineL Pioneer Construction The Rogue River Sierra Sustainable Community Development Initiative West Michigan Academy of Environmental Sciences West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition WMEAC

Twilight safari a new zoo experience

April 8, 2009 // 0 Comments

John Ball Zoo offers families a rare glimpse of the zoo as the sun goes down. Very few people get to experience the zoo as the sun goes down, but that rare opportunity will be available at John Ball Zoo this spring. For the first time ever, the zoo will host Twilight Sensory Safaris, special tours that invite families to take a look (and a listen, and a taste, and a feel, and a smell) of what it’s like at the zoo as it gets dark! John Ball Zoo will offer Twilight Sensory Safaris twice: April 10 and 17 from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The Safaris will be hour-and-half guided tours of the zoo as the sun goes down, designed to teach visitors how humans and wildlife are adapted to life in the dark. Throughout the tour there will be stops where guests will participate in activities that demonstrate the amazing function of our five senses. Think you can guess where a sound is coming from with your eyes closed? It’s not always as easy as you might think. Our hearing is not as good as that of most nocturnal animals. Owls triangulate the origin of a sound to find their prey in the dark and our Sensory Safari guides will allow guests to experience why and how. The Twilight Safaris are a new offering from John Ball Zoo’s education department. If they are well attended, the education team will include them in their regular schedule of events. “Nocturnal animals have amazing adaptations,” said Andy McIntyre, John Ball Zoo Education Director. “To use our senses as it gets dark allows us to experience it as they do and appreciate their unique adaptations. This is a fun learning opportunity for all ages. When you can show parents and kids something with a hands-on experience, they learn!” Advance registration is required to attend the Twilight Sensory Safaris.  Families can register on line at or call Kathy at (616) 336-4310. Participants must be five years of age or older to attend. Those 17 years of age and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Fee is $6 per person for John Ball Zoo Society Members and $8 for non-members.

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