John Ball Zoo seeks donations amid virus outbreak

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — John Ball Zoo says it has been hit hard this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Zoo officials say without revenue from admissions, events, sponsorships, donations, education programs as well as food and retail sales, it will lose about $1 million each month its closed. Normally, it relies on the revenue from membership sales during March and April.

Even though the zoo isn’t bringing in as much revenue during this time, the zoo continues to care and feed its nearly 2,000 animals.

“We still have mouths, snouts, beaks, and jaws to feed and care for,” John Ball Zoo CEO Peter D’Arienzo said in a release Friday. “Our animal care team, veterinarians, and essential facilities crew all remain on grounds to maintain the excellent care that we provide each and every day of the year, while practicing social distancing to keep one another healthy.”

In an effort to help bridge the budgeting gap, the zoo is asking people to renew their membership or purchase one as a gift. Other ways people can help include donating to the its Annual Operating Fund, adopting an animal and visiting when it reopens.

“You can feel good knowing that your financial support helps provide the support the Zoo is counting on during this closure, after we are back open to the public, and to maintain our standing as one of the top cultural destinations in the State of Michigan,” D’Arienzo said in the release.

During the closure, the zoo team has been working to stay connected to the community through its Zoo Insider — a video series featuring different animals, keepers and education team members.

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