John Ball Zoo

Close Encounters

Have you ever wanted to feed a bear or penguin or see a chimp training session? How about holding an owl or a snake? Join our keepers for one of these unique experiences listed below. 

Prices and requirements vary per program.  Admission is NOT included in price. 

Advance Registration required. Footwear that fully encloses the foot is required – no sandals, flip-flops or similar footwear. No photos can be taken behind the scenes.  Sorry these encounters are not ADA accessible

Under the Sea Tour with Penguin Encounter 

Venture onto the penguin deck with a zookeeper to feed the penguins! Learn what we do daily to care for the fish, penguins, sharks and marine invertebrates that you see on exhibit. Get the chance to hold a sea star and an urchin in the palm of your hand. 

               Price: $100 per person (Due to the nature of the exhibit only one person is allowed on this encounter however                       others may be a part of the Under the Sea Sneak-a-peak tour portion.) 
               Minimum age: 13 years old
               Availability: mid July -March  10 am or 3 pm .  Limited Availability during Nov-Feb                                                                                     We are unable to offer these during penguin molting or when there                                                                                 are eggs or chicks on exhibit.  

                                   

Pelican Feeding

Who doesn't like large bills?! Pelicans have some of the largest around. Help the zookeepers and get a bird's eye view of the habitat while you feed our American White Pelicans. This encounter can be booked at the gate. Check with the admissions booth no later than 11 am to see if it is still available. 

              Price:  $50 for up to 2 people
              Minimum age:  6 years old (children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult)
              Availability: 11:15 am daily                   

Chimpanzee

It takes a special level of care to manage a troop of chimpanzees. Get an up-close look behind-the-scenes, see the overnight housing and watch a training session with one of the chimps. One of our keepers will demonstrate how this training is important for maintaining chimpanzee health on a daily basis.  

               Price: $50 per person (Minimum 2 participants, max 6)
               Minimum age:  6 years old (children 12 and under must be accompanied by a paying adult)         

Brown Bear 

Now is your chance to feed the bears! Start your day off by stepping into the bear exhibit to disperse their morning diet and enrichment.   Talk to the Zookeeper who takes care of them and get a chance to see the bears’ off exhibit area.  

                 Price: $50 per person (Minimum 2 participants, max 6)
                 Minimum age:  6 years old (children 12 and under must be accompanied by a paying adult)

Ambassador Animal

Parrots, snakes, owls, and opossums are just a few animals you will meet during our ambassador animal experience. Work with one of our zookeepers to see where our program animals live and get the opportunity to learn how to properly handle up to 3 of them.

               Price: $50 per person (Minimum 2 participants, max 4)
               Minimum age:  8 years old (children 12 and under must be accompanied by a paying adult)

 

Questions?     Call 616-336-4300      Email  education@jbzoo.org

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