GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — John Ball Zoo will reopen Friday for the new season, just in time for spring break.

Beginning Friday, visitors can view animals and species on display, including two bald eagles, a snow leopard, a coati and a sloth.

The pygmy hippos will be on display after Memorial Day. Construction is nearing completion on the habitat, which features exhibits outdoors and inside the new pavilion.

Until it opens, there is a new food item on the menu that visitors can try in the meantime: a pygmy hippo salad.

“It’s a fun play on the pygmy hippo’s diet and things they might eat. Their diet consists of a lot of greens, and also, we’ll give them a treat, a watermelon,” chief operating officer Andy McIntyre said. “This is something that’s compostable in terms of what it’s served in, and that really fits in with what the zoo embodies in all that we do.”

Grand Rapids Lantern Display

Also new this year is the Grand Rapids Lantern Display. It will feature more than 50 different Asian lantern displays that will illuminate the zoo beginning April 19. It will last until June 11.

“Between now and then, every day at the zoo, you’re going to see more and more of these get added for when we unveil it in the evenings for people to see lit up,” McIntyre said.

“There will be a one-mile loop around the perimeter of the zoo area. You’ll see 55 of these different lanterns that will highlight culture, wildlife and conservation. It’s stunningly beautiful.”

The zoo will open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends through April. Tickets are $14 for adults ages 13 years and older. It’s $12 for kids ages 3 to 12 and also for seniors above 65 years old.

The hours and ticket prices will change as the season progresses. To learn more information about the season, visit