Opening day at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, me. – The John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids is finally open to the public again.

It closed early last year due to COVID and then stayed closed for the winter season. There’s also a new on-site exhibit that is the first of its kind in North America.

Visiting the zoo is almost a rite of passage for children, especially when it’s your birthday.

The annual trip is something families look forward to every year.

“I’m very excited to see the bears. It’s my favorite animal, ”said one father. “My wife and daughter are very happy to see the monkeys and then my son didn’t really say what he was looking forward to. I think it could be the bears too. “

It is known as “shoulder season” in the zoo. There are animals that prefer the warmer weather so they may not be out and about as much. Others, like the red panda triplets – Rose, Ruby, and Willow – should be easy to spot.

“And our animals are very excited to have guests again because they miss this interaction,” said Darci David, Marketing Director of John Ball Zoo.

David tells FOX 17 that things will be a little different this year thanks to COVID.

Everyone who is 5 years or older must wear a mask both indoors and outdoors and have social distance from other families.

The zoo also limits the number of people who can enter the gates at the same time.

“So we encourage people to get their tickets in advance because of this guest capacity limitation, but it really will still be a great day to get outside and enjoy the zoo,” said David.

But not only live animals are exhibited.

There is also the BRICKLIVE Supersized! Exhibition all summer. It came all the way from the UK to Michigan.

The John Ball Zoo is the first in North America to be held, and it shows the “small and mighty” natural areas.

“When they’re so small, you may not even notice them in nature, but when you make them oversized you can really look carefully, learn where they live, what they eat, how they survive, and then really get to see them look at you in this really neat and unique way, ”said David.

The zoo was sold out for the morning and much of the afternoon.

Due to limited capacity, you will be asked to purchase tickets online to reserve your time and space.

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