GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids welcomed its 500,000th visitor of the season at 11:26 a.m. Saturday.
The surprised family that included the 500,000th visitor — a mother named Traci and her daughter Lily — received some goodies in celebration of the milestone, including a household membership and zoo-themed gifts and memorabilia.
The zoo has seen record attendance this year.
“To know that we reached that milestone … really makes us proud of what we do here. It just says that we are valued in the community, people come to support us, and we deliver a great experience for the guests,” a zoo spokesman said.
The zoo says attendance has increased steadily over the years — it also had record attendance last year.
Zoo officials say increasing patronage in part due to special attractions like this weekend’s “Zoo Goes Boo,” with Halloween-themed trick-or-treating, as well as entertainers in costumes.
There’s still time to go see the zoo before winter. It closes for the season on Nov. 3.
The zoo, located on W. Fulton Street, is the fourth most-attended attraction in Michigan.