John Ball Zoo

Community Engagement

Because we are a nonprofit organization, we rely on contributions from our community to ensure we go above and beyond in our daily operations. However, it’s important for us to give back to the community that’s given so much to us and to inspire others to be active participants in the conservation of wildlife and our natural environment. 

Here are a few ways in which you help us accomplish that: 

  • Over 600,000 visitors annually
  • 2nd most attended cultural institution west of Detroit
  • Actively participating in over 40 Species Survival Plans (SSP)
  • A partner with the Grand Rapids Public School (GRPS) Zoo School
  • $40 million in economic impact to the businesses and the communities surrounding the Zoo 
  • Accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)

John Ball Zoo’s JUMP program helps break down barriers to outdoor, nature-based education by providing free admission for qualified individuals across the state of Michigan.

JUMP Story

Ruth Jones, a former John Ball Zoo board member and principal for Grand Rapids Public Schools, imagined a program that would make the Zoo accessible to families regardless of income. All while encouraging an enriching, educational, and cultural experience. In 1998, the JUMP program was born and has since welcomed hundreds of thousands of families to the Zoo.

Impact of Nature Play

Nature play can encourage care for the earth, nature can improve academic outcomes, and nature can improve health and wellbeing. Learn more about the positive effects of nature from the Children & Nature Network at

Supporting JUMP

While John Ball Zoo is committed to continuing the JUMP program, the expense incurred impacts other Zoo projects, including habitat renovations, expansions, and educational experiences. With the help of our generous supporters and community, families of all income levels can experience outdoor education and the Zoo’s mission of saving wildlife and wild places.

If you would like to support the JUMP program, please visit and select JUMP as your designation. Or connect with our Development team at (616) 336-3309 or

For more information on John Ball Zoo's JUMP Program please visit

Charitable Donation Requests

John Ball Zoo is happy to support community organizations. As a nonprofit organization, our mission is to inspire our community to be actively engaged in the conservation of wildlife and our natural environment. 

Eligible organizations may receive a maximum of 4 complimentary tickets per organization per calendar year.

To submit a request, please fill out our donation request form.


Contact Us

Walk in: Administration office (Located just outside the entrance of the zoo) from 8 am until 4:30 pm Monday through Friday
Fax: (616)336-3907
Mail: John Ball Zoo, 1300 W. Fulton St. Grand Rapids, MI 49504