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John Ball Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in Grand Rapids, Michigan. With 11 must-see animals including some rare species, it’s easy to see why! We’ve compiled a list of all the amazing features that await you at this zoo.


If you’re looking for excitement and adventure, John Ball Zoo has got what you need. This blog post will walk through everything that John Ball Zoo has to offer visitors, so be sure to keep reading!

1) The Asian Elephant
Did you know that the Asian Elephant is one of the most endangered animals in the world? This animal lives on average for 60 years and can weigh up to 3 tons. The John Ball Zoo has a small population of Asian elephants and visitors are able to see them during their visit.
The Asian elephant is often hunted for its tusks, which are then sold by traffickers on the black market. This animal also faces habitat loss due to human encroachment into natural territory.
The Asian elephant is one of the many unique species at John Ball Zoo that you can see during your visit.

2) Bears
The zoo has four different types of bears that you can see during your visit.
The American black bear, the Louisiana black bear and the polar bear are all featured in their own habitats throughout John Ball Zoo. The grizzly bear is not located at John Ball Zoo but visitors still get to learn about this amazing animal through informative signs and exhibits inside the zoo.
The American black bear is the smallest of all four species, followed by the polar bear and grizzly bear which are both considered to be large bears. The Louisiana black bear is a medium-sized creature that’s typically found in North America – one notable fact about this animal is they’ve been deemed as threatened since 1992!
Bears are one of the many animals you can see at John Ball Zoo, and each offers a unique experience.

3) The African Lion
The African Lion is one of the most iconic animals at John Ball Zoo. Visitors will get to see this majestic creature in an exhibit that allows them to view lions from above and below ground. The zoo also provides informative signs about these creatures when viewing their habitat, which includes facts such as how they’re considered “King of the Jungle.”

4) The Barbary Lion
The Barbary Lion is a species that’s now extinct in the wild. However, you can still see them at John Ball Zoo due to captive breeding programs that have helped bring this animal back from extinction.
Native to Northern Africa and Asia Minor, these creatures are much larger than their cousins which include the African lion and Asiatic lion.

5) California Sea Lion
Another animal you can see at John Ball Zoo is the California sea lion.
These creatures are found off the coasts of America and Mexico, as well as along parts of South American coastlines. Visitors will notice that these animals tend to have a brownish-colored coat with patches on their sides – they also feature external ear flaps which help them hear underwater!
Visitors to John Ball Zoo can see the California sea lion during their visit. This is a sight you do not want to miss out on, so be sure to stop by and learn more about these animals while seeing them in person.

6) The Amur Leopard
The rarest animal at John Ball Zoo is the Amur leopard. There are only 30 of these animals left in the world, which means this species features one of the highest degrees of endangerment that exists today.
This cat lives primarily on rocky mountain slopes and hunts deer for food – they’re also solitary creatures who live alone.

7) White-Naped Crane
The White-Naped Crane is a bird species that’s native to Japan and Russia. The John Ball Zoo features this animal in an exhibit with other types of cranes, which helps them thrive while visitors can see these animals from their vantage point on the ground or above using the Skyfari aerial lift.

8) Giant Anteater
The Giant Anteater is another unique animal at John Ball Zoo.
Native to South America, this creature has a long tongue and large claws which help them reach into ant hills for food – they also spend most of their time on the ground as opposed to climbing or flying like some other species do.
Visitors can see this fascinating and unique animal at John Ball Zoo, so be sure to stop by during your next visit.

9) Zebras
Those who love horses will definitely enjoy seeing zebras at John Ball Zoo. This species is native to Africa and features a coat that’s striped horizontally – they also have black or white facial stripes depending on the subspecies of zebra you’re looking at!

10) Guinea Pigs
Guinea Pigs are social animals that enjoy interacting with other members of their species – this is why they’re typically found living in small groups. Visitors to John Ball Zoo can see these creatures as part of the Animal Encounter show, which allows them to get up-close and learn more about guinea pigs while seeing them outside on The Great Lawn!

11) The Bornean orangutan
When it comes to apes, the Bornean orangutan is perhaps one of the most fascinating animals at John Ball Zoo. Native to Indonesia and Malaysia, these creatures are endangered due in part because their natural habitat has been destroyed by forest clearing for palm oil plantations – this also means that they’re considered critically-endangered species today!

The John Ball Zoo is a great place to go if you’re looking for an educational experience that’s also family-friendly. The 11 animals mentioned in this blog post are just some of the many interesting creatures you can see at the zoo while learning more about them and their habitats. If you haven’t been yet, consider visiting next time!