It's that time of year that excites animal-lovers across West Michigan. John Ball Zoo officially opens for the season on Saturday, March 10.

The zoo is one of the most popular attractions in the area for many reasons. Among them, the hard work on behalf of the staff to make sure visitors walk away with a memorable experience.

"Even if there's still a winter chill in the air, there are plenty of animals to see both inside and out. Guests can expect all the North American and some Asian animals including the grizzly bears, bald eagles, otters, mountain lions, and snow leopards," Brenda Stringer, chief development officer stated in a recent news release. "Indoors, they will find the penguins and other exotic aquatic animals in the Living Shores Aquarium; reptiles, amphibians and small primates in the Nature's Treasures of the building; and the chimpanzees of Mokomboso Valley are always viewable in their day room. If temperatures are mild, additional animals like the lions will be offered the choice to go outside or stay in."

John Ball Zoo is entering its 127th year in West Michigan. It has grown into 4th most attended cultural institution in the state of Michigan. Zoo Keeper, Erin Rens, says she is excited about some of the new animals that will be on exhibit this year.

"In this building, The Natural Treasures Building, we have some that are currently going through quarantine but as soon as they are done they will be in here," she said. "We have a chameleon we will be moving over by mid-summer."

Rens says this time of year is great. The animals are often up, excited and moving around. It is also the time of year to take advantage of discounted admission prices. Admission prices are reduced 38% through April 27th. Hours and prices can be found on the zoo's website.

John Ball Zoo is located on Fulton Avenue, one mile west of downtown Grand Rapids.

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