1. How long does a membership last?
Memberships are good for one year from date of purchase.
2. I'm renewing early, when will my membership start?
Renewing memberships will automatically begin when the current membership expires.
3. Do the named cardholders have to share the same address?
Yes, memberships are per address and we verify the addresses of named cardholders.
4. Can I add extra children to the membership?
Only the named cardholder's dependent children or grandchildren may be added to the membership. Violation of membership may be cause for termination.
5. How do I request an additional or replacement membership card?
If you've lost your card, you can order a new set of cards for a $5 processing fee*. Please call the Membership Office at 616-336-4312 or stop by during your next visit. *Prices subject to change.
6. Why do I have to show my photo ID when I use my card at the zoo?
John Ball Zoo is a non-profit organization and depends upon the revenue generated by memberships to continue operating. Requiring a photo ID at the admission gate prevents abuse of our membership policies, which are designed to serve our constituency and support the Zoo.
7. Can a friend or family member use my membership card? What about my Plus One or Plus Two Guest Membership without me being with them?
Memberships are nontransferable and are valid only for named cardholders. Your membership has a tremendous value. To protect the rights of our members, we will ask to see your photo ID at the time of your visit. Please do not pass out your card to the babysitter or grandma and grandpa to use to enter the Zoo without you. You may add a caregiver to your Family Membership card for an extra fee. Your membership card will allow for your children to enter without parents, but unnamed guests MUST be accompanied by the adults in order to enter for free on the plus one unnamed guest and two unnamed guest cards.
8. If the other named member on my membership cannot make it to the Zoo, can I bring a friend in their place?
For the reasons mentioned above, you may not substitute a friend for a named cardholder. If you wish to bring friends to the Zoo with you, please upgrade your membership to one that includes Guests, or purchase admission at the gate.
9. Can I upgrade my membership later?
Yes! You can upgrade your membership at any time. Membership upgrades are not prorated.
10. Which events are free for members?
Members enjoy free admission to our Spring Members' Night, Wizarding Weekends, and Zoo Goes Boo. Members also receive exclusive early admission to other events throughout the year, such as Princess Day.
11. Does the Guest and/or Caregiver on my membership receive reciprocal benefits?
The Guest and Caregiver add-ons are for John Ball Zoo admission only. We recommend calling ahead to our reciprocal partners prior to your visit to determine their policies regarding admission for Guests and Caregivers.
12. What local reciprocal partnerships are available for members?
We offer several local reciprocal opportunities yearly that change year to year. We communicate about these partnerships on our Local Reciprocal Partnerships page, in Zoo News Magazine and through member emails, and on our Facebook page. Be sure to bring your Zoo membership card and personal photo ID when you visit our partners.
13. Where can I find the Reciprocal List?
You can view the list on our website or one can be mailed upon request, please call 616-336-4312.
14. Will the list stay the same for the duration of my membership?
Reciprocal institutions may change their policies at any time. We cannot guarantee that the list in place when you purchase or renew your membership will remain the same for the duration of your membership.
15. When do zoos change their policies?
Although most zoos and aquariums update their reciprocal policies at the close of the calendar year, some changes may occur during the year. We make every attempt to post updates as quickly as possible, but it is always a good idea to call the zoo or aquarium you plan on visiting beforehand.
16. If I forget my membership card or photo I.D. when visiting a reciprocal institution, do I have to pay admission?
You may have to pay admission. You can ask the organization to call our zoo during regular Membership Office hours (10:00am-4:00pm, M-F, excluding holidays), but this is not a guarantee. You should always have your membership card and photo ID when visiting reciprocal institutions. Contact the membership department (616) 336-4312 if you would like a PDF copy of your member card to be emailed to you to keep on your phone.
17. Can I use my membership for special events at reciprocal zoos and aquariums?
Many zoos and aquariums will not accept reciprocal memberships for special events.
18. What is the Funicular?
The Funicular is a tram that takes visitors in and out of the zoo. Visitors taking the Funicular up (or in) should head to the lower depot when they enter the Zoo. When they disembark, they’ll find themselves at the highest point of the zoo and will now be able to explore, walking entirely downhill. Great for guests with strollers! The other option is to take the funicular down (or out). These visitors should pick up the Funicular at end of the Forest Realm Trail after they’ve fully explored the Zoo. By taking the Funicular back to the front entrance, visitors avoid retracing their steps. Funicular operation is weather and maintenance dependent.
19. How do I purchase a gift membership?
Click here to purchase a gift membership. We also offer gift cards available for purchase if the gift giver or recipient would prefer the membership to start on the date of the member's first visit. Please give us a call at 616.336.4300 to purchase a gift card. Gift cards are purchased in the dollar amount of the membership level you would like to gift. The gift recipient will then be able to redeem the gift card for a membership during their first visit to the Zoo and the membership will begin at that time.