Zoo celebrates attendance milestone

Courtesy John Ball Zoo

One of the most attended cultural attractions in Michigan recently reached a milestone. Last week, the five millionth guest entered the gates of John Ball Zoo since it became an independent nonprofit nearly ten years ago. 

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 700,000 guests visit John Ball Zoo each year. Guests come from all 83 Michigan counties and all 50 states. This year, the Zoo is seeing higher-than-average attendance, having welcomed its 440,000th guest as of last week since it opened for the season in March. 

“Every guest who enters the Zoo helps provide our animals with local produce for their diets, innovative medical care and compassionate, customized care by our team, and provides the means for us to save wild animals from extinction locally and around the world,” said Peter D’Arienzo, CEO of John Ball Zoo. “We’re deeply grateful for the support John Ball Zoo receives from our community here in Kent County and beyond, so we can continue our mission to preserve wildlife and wild places.”

The Zoo is a magnet for visitors because it is an internationally accredited, world-class Zoo and a leader in animal care, dedicating significant resources to the preservation of wildlife and wild places. John Ball Zoo has a more than $100 million annual economic impact in Michigan.

From engaging educational opportunities like Zoo Camp and preschool, to incredible new habitats like pygmy hippos and black swans, the Zoo offers inspiring experiences for everyone led by its staff of 454 team members and 550 volunteers.

In 2014, John Ball Zoo became a nonprofit organization after having been managed by Kent County for decades. Since then, the Zoo has seen incredible growth in many areas. John Ball Zoo is projected to serve more than 700,000 guests this year with more than 200,000 staying overnight in Kent County hotels.

“There is truly something for everyone at John Ball Zoo,” D’Arienzo said.

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