Grand Rapids’ John Ball Zoo features more than 2,000 individual animals. Photo via fb.com
John Ball Zoo is counting record-setting numbers for attendance — for the third straight year.
John Ball Zoo said that nearly 14,000 more visitors toured the zoo from March 1-Oct. 27 than during the same period last year, with 463,944 people visiting as of last week.
John Ball Zoo will re-open for the 2014 season on March 1, 2014, with the first phase of the Crawford Tigers of the Realm exhibit opening next summer.
“We are delighted to report these numbers, because we started this year behind, due to a colder March and wet April,” said Andy McIntyre, zoo director. “We not only caught up, but ended up surpassing 2012’s attendance.”
The record year
McIntyre said this year's success was due to mulitple factors: continued support from community partners to improve exhibits and experiences, staff creating new visitor experiences and outreach efforts and the summer weather being relatively mild and dry.
John Ball Zoo also opened the renovated Meijer Grizzly Bear exhibit and the Jandernoa Treetop Outpost for kids this June.
This followed the 2012 addition of the new Idema Forest Realm and Funicular, which increased the zoo’s footprint by almost 40 percent.