John Ball Zoo Opens for 2021 Season on March 27


An undated courtesy photo of red panda Wasabi at John Ball Zoo.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- It’s almost time to enjoy new spring activities! Our friends from the West Michigan Tourist Association have a fun update on John Ball Zoo’s 2021 season! 

As spring approaches, so too does opening day at John Ball Zoo with their 2021 season kicking off on Saturday, March 27 at 9:00 a.m. Guests can see many of their favorite animals and celebrate the start of another great season at John Ball Zoo.

The Zoo’s triplet red panda cubs, Rose, Ruby, and Willow, are three of the most anticipated animals for guests to see this season. Born June 25, 2020, they were growing and bonding behind the scenes last season and were out of the view of guests. They are now romping and playing outside for everyone to enjoy these three young red pandas, along with their parents, Wyatt and Wasabi.

Another baby born at the Zoo last season was Yoshi, the Canada lynx, who was born in May. While she may not look like a kitten anymore, she still has the same playful and energetic spirit and is sure to continue to be a guest favorite.

Many of John Ball Zoo’s animals are active and playful in the cool spring weather, while others prefer to stay inside until warmer temperatures arrive. There are a number of viewing opportunities for guests in the Aquarium, Natural Treasures, Frog’s buildings, and the chimpanzees in their day room.

John Ball Zoo also announces a sneak peek into an exciting SUPERSIZED exhibition arriving on opening day. This exhibition supersizes nature’s small and mighty. From sneaky predators such as the fearless honey badger, to the venomous blue-ringed octopus, the more than 30 toy brick sculptures are featured because of their colorful appearance in nature, unusual natural abilities, and because they can be magnified to an eye-popping size.

John Ball Zoo staff and volunteers are working hard every day to keep the Zoo a safe place for you to visit and for wildlife to live. Following the regulations of the State of Michigan and the CDC, all guests ages 5 and older will be required to wear a mask at all times and everywhere in the Zoo, including outdoor spaces. Guests may remove their masks temporarily to eat or drink when at a safe distance from others.

They will also continue their increased cleaning and disinfection, encouraging social distancing, having additional handwashing and hand sanitizing stations, encouraging cashless transactions, and monitoring the number of guests inside buildings.

John Ball Zoo will continue to operate with a limited guest capacity. It is recommended that ALL guests reserve an online timed-entry ticket to secure their visit time, including members, nonmembers, and MI Bridges cardholders (JUMP). You may also purchase tickets at the Zoo but immediate entry is not guaranteed.

Admission tickets will go on sale Friday, March 12 for opening day, March 27, through April 11. Spring hours are Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

To reserve timed-entry tickets and for more information, visit John Ball Zoo’s website at If you have any questions, call (616) 336-4300 or email

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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