Giant Brick-Built Animals Take Over John Ball Zoo, in Addition to Other Changes
Visitors to John Ball Zoo this summer will be amazed at the significant changes that have happened since fall 2019.
Not only has the zoo been populated with over 40 life-sized animal sculptures (part of an international traveling exhibition — BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise), the zoo’s entrance has completely been reconstructed to make the Zoo more accessible for everyone.
The steep hillside that used to greet visitors has been transformed into a wide, gently curving pathway.
Other changes include the implementation of enhanced health and safety measures, an innovative new habitat for the meerkats and porcupines, and timed-entry ticket sales.
LEGO-Lovers will be Awestruck by the Magnificant Brick-Built Displays
John Ball Zoo is the third zoo in the country to host the traveling BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise exhibition — and the first in Michigan. These life-sized sculptures of endangered animals were created using nearly 2 million toy building bricks!
Sculptures have been placed around the zoo for you to discover.
Each sculpture features a facts sign containing information such as the size of each sculpture, how many bricks were used to build each one, and the amount of time it took to create. For example, the life-sized giraffe sculpture alone took over 96,000 building bricks to construct and measures over 12 feet tall.
You’ll find brick sculpture models of many John Ball Zoo favorites like the African lion, snow leopard, and ring-tailed lemur. Some sculptures represent animals not in residence at John Ball Zoo.
You’re encouraged to compare live Zoo animals with their brick lookalikes.
The GRKIDS team is creating a scavenger hunt that will include all of the Bricks Alive animal creations in the Zoo.
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SAFETY & CLEANLINESS
Protect the Herd
Safety and cleanliness are top of mind at John Ball Zoo. Taking time to implement precautions is one reason Zoo officials did not open on May 30 as originally planned.
Using the theme “Protect the Herd”, John Ball Zoo has implemented additional health and safety procedures. The most notable change is that all guests; including members, non-members, and MI Bridges cardholders must reserve a timed ticket online prior to arrival due to the Zoo’s limited capacity.
We also noticed John Ball Zoo staff wearing face masks. While not required, it is recommended that guests join in wearing a face mask as well. Face masks will be available upon request or for purchase at the gift shop.
Along with timed ticketing, John Ball Zoo has added ground markers and signage throughout the Zoo, asking guests to maintain 6 feet of separation between groups.
In areas where social distancing is limited or in high touch point areas, there are closures of some guest spaces. These may include indoor spaces, outdoor play areas, and experiences. Closures are likely to change over the summer as information and strategies evolve. On our 6/5/20 visit, the aquarium, play areas, experiences, and petting zoo were closed (we still found plenty to do and had a wonderful visit.)
During summer hours, the zoo is open 9 am – 6 pm most days and rates start at $11 for youth and $14 for adults. Children 3 and under are free.
John Ball Zoo is located at 1300 W. Fulton St, Grand Rapids, MI 49504.
For more information on online timed ticket reservations and the safety guidelines, visit the John Ball Zoo’s website at www.jbzoo.org/visitandtickets. If you have any questions, you can call (616) 336-4300 or email [email protected]