GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The John Ball Zoo opened for the season Sunday morning, also unveiling its new master plan for expansion to the public during an open house.
“That’s going to give everybody the chance to stop in and take a look at our future plans, our goal for the future of John Ball Zoo and kind of get a feel for what we have planned for the next five to 15 years,” said Tim Sampson, the Animal Care Supervisor for the zoo.
The Kent County Finance Committee approved the plan, which will transform the zoo over the next 25 years and cost around $50 million.
The first phase of the project will cost $15 million over the next two to eight years. It will include black bear habitats in the entry way as well as a new indoor-outdoor pool for stingrays.
Zoo officials said the colder months are a good time to visit the zoo because some of the animals are more active.
“The otters respond well to the snow. We’ll give the monkeys snow and they will do a lot with it depending on the day. I believe the bears will be pretty active today and the snow leopards and mountain lions. Then of course, our tigers love the snow. They’ve been out pretty much every day this winter,” Sampson said.
The zoo is holding open houses from March 1 to March 6 to introduce the public to the master plan. The open houses will be held in the ballroom of the zoo administration building. On Sunday, the open house is from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, the open houses will start at 10:30 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m.