The John Ball Zoological Garden is owned and operated by the County of Kent. The John Ball Zoological Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation serving as a private support organization for the John Ball Zoo. The Zoo Society incorporated in 1950 and has been working in partnership with the Zoo since that time.Currently the County and the Zoo Society are working together on a plan to unify the two operations under a single 501c3 to manage the Zoo as one entity. The County of Kent would retain ownership and continue to provide a portion of the operational budget with the non-profit managing all day-to-day operations. This plan and transfer is expected to be completed sometime in 2013.
Mission/Statement of Purpose
To advance public education on the need for wildlife conservation and preservation and to support the captive propagation of the wild and endangered animal species; and to promote the welfare of the John Ball Zoological Garden and its advancement as a public education institution, as a scientific center, as natural science and wildlife exhibit and conservation agency, and as a cultural and recreational establishment, dedicated to the enrichment of human and natural resources.
Zoological Society Responsibilities
The Society operates a membership program, Food Services, Experiences, and the Gift Shops; coordinates publicity; promotions, special events, group sales, and rentals; and conducts fund-raising operations. The Zoo Society contributions include funds for promotions, events, marketing, advertising, animal purchases, a portion of the education budget, and all capital exhibit construction.
- 4th most attended cultural facility in Michigan
- 420,000 average annual visitor attendance
- 700,000 people reached each year with wildlife and conservation messages
- Over 250 species and 2000 individual animals (second largest animal collection in Michigan)
- Participates in 24 Species Survival Plans
- $30,000,000 annual economic impact
- 60 FTE and 140 seasonal employed annually
- 33,000 FREE Zoo admissions annually through the JUMP program for economically challenged families in Kent and Ottawa Counties
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For more information on John Ball Zoo or the Grand Rapids area, please click on the links below.