Which Is Best: Potter Park Zoo Or John Ball Zoo. A Guide To Which Is The Best Zoo In Michigan, USA

Venture into the wild and experience the awe-inspiring beauty of nature! Our article takes you through a vivid comparison of two of Michigan's famous zoos, Potter Park Zoo located in the heart of Lansing and John Ball Zoo nestled in the vibrant city of Grand Rapids.

We explore the remarkable diversity of animals, ranging from majestic tigers and lions to playful penguins.

Discover how each zoo prioritizes conservation and education while also providing fun-filled activities for older children.

We'll delve into details about disability accessibility, pricing for different age groups including concessions, and the unique aspects of each park.

For families considering a day-out, this comparison article between Potter Park Zoo and John Ball Zoo promises an insightful, value-driven view helping you make the best choice.

Which Is Best: Potter Park Zoo Or John Ball Zoo. A Guide To Which Is The Best Zoo In Michigan, USA

At A Glance

Potter Park Zoo and John Ball Zoo are two noteworthy animal sanctuaries located in the state of Michigan, USA.

Residing in Lansing, Potter Park Zoo covers a staggering 102 acres, housing distinguished creatures such as tigers, penguins, and lions.

It’s a perfect full-day outing for families with older children and is also disability-friendly.

On the other hand, John Ball Zoo, based in Grand Rapids, spans a more manageable 31 acres, and still boasts an impressive range of animals including tigers, bears, lions and penguins.

It’s an excellent location for families, providing accessibility for all ages including toddlers and older children.

While they both share a firm commitment to education and conservation, John Ball Zoo places an additional focus on sustainability and food and drink options.

With regards to admission, a day out at Potter Park is more affordable, costing an average of $40 for a family of four compared to John Ball’s $70.

However, it’s worth noting that parking is free at John Ball Zoo, whereas there’s a charge at Potter Park Zoo.

Importantly, both zoos have provisions for disability access and allow service animals, yet personal pets and holding of zoo animals are prohibited across both.


Potter Park Zoo and John Ball Zoo, both located in Michigan, USA, differ significantly in size.

Potter Park Zoo in Lansing is considerably larger, covering an extensive 102 acres as opposed to John Ball Zoo’s compact 31 acres found in Grand Rapids.

Despite the disparity in physical size, surprisingly, the time needed to explore each park is quite similar.

Visitors can see all the attractions in Potter Park Zoo in an average of 2-3 hours, while a comprehensive tour of John Ball Zoo takes an average of 2 hours.

Thus, although Potter Park Zoo is over three times larger in terms of acreage, it only requires an additional hour, at most, to fully explore compared to John Ball Zoo.

More About Potter Park Zoo

About Potter Park Zoo

Size (acres) 102
Time To Walk Around 2-3 Hours
Adult Price $8-15
Child Price $5
Infant Price Free Under 3 Years Old
Price For Family Of 4 $40
Parking $3-5
Can Bring Your Own Food? Yes

Information from https://potterparkzoo.org/


When juxtaposing the costs of admission at the Potter Park Zoo and John Ball Zoo, it’s clear the former offers a more budget-friendly experience.

Adult tickets at Potter Park range from $8-15, while John Ball Zoo charges a flat fee of $20.

For children, Potter Park charges $5, whereas John Ball Zoo prices are $15.

Concession tickets are also more affordable at Potter Park, with prices ranging from $6-13 compared to John Ball Zoo’s $15 fee.

At Potter Park, children under the age of 3 are granted free entry while at John Ball, this applies to children under the age of 2.

When accounting for an average family of four, Potter Park Zoo’s total comes to $40, a significantly more budget-friendly option compared to the $70 total at John Ball Zoo.

The cost of an average family of 4 at Potter Park Zoo is $40 compared to 70 at John Ball Zoo.

Potter Park Zoo and John Ball Zoo, both located in Michigan, offer guests a variety of wildlife to admire.

Notable similarities include the existence of tigers, penguins, and lions at both zoos.

Nevertheless, John Ball Zoo expands on the diversity of species, housing bears among its 200 species of animals, a specific detail not provided for Potter Park Zoo.

Both zoos resist the trend of interactive animal experiences, instead opting for conservation and preservation of the species, thus holding or petting of animals is not allowed in both zoos.

While names of all the species are not stated for Potter Park Zoo, it is clear the two take pride in the variety of animals they have gathered for public education and enjoyment. <div class=”overview” markdown=”1”id=”wyntk-john-ball-zoo”>

More About John Ball Zoo

About John Ball Zoo

  • 1300 Fulton St W, Grand Rapids, MI 49504, United States
  • 16-336-4300
  • jbzoo.org

Size (acres) 31
Time To Walk Around 2 Hours
Adult Price $20
Child Price $15
Infant Price Free Under 2 Years Old
Price For Family Of 4 $70
Parking Free
Number Of Animals 200 species
Can Bring Your Own Food? Yes

Information from jbzoo.org



Both Potter Park Zoo and John Ball Zoo in Michigan demonstrate a commendable commitment to accessibility for all visitors.

Both venues proudly uphold disability access, offering features such as terrain easily navigable by wheelchair, and the availability of rentable equipment beneficial for those finding it challenging to walk long distances.

This shared commitment to inclusivity ensures everyone, regardless of mobility limitations, can enjoy full exposure to the diverse range of animals and educational enrichment each zoo provides with optimal comfort and ease.

Meanwhile, anyone with physical disabilities planning to visit either zoo is encouraged to contact the establishment directly for more detailed accessibility information, so any specific needs or concerns can be comprehensively accommodated.

Pefect For

Both Potter Park Zoo and John Ball Zoo offer unique experiences catered towards different needs of families and visitors.

If you have older children and are looking for a full day of family fun with immersive education and conservation programs, then Potter Park Zoo is an excellent destination.

On the other hand, John Ball Zoo is a fantastic choice if you are planning a shorter visit or have a family with toddlers.

With a smaller area to navigate, it is less overwhelming for younger children, but still maintains the educational and conservation focus that older children will appreciate.

Furthermore, both zoos are also equipped to accommodate visitors with disabilities, further enhancing their appeal for a wide range of visitors.

Keep in mind, though, unlike Potter Park, John Ball Zoo does not offer any reduction in ticket prices for concession groups.

Whether for a day-long excursion or a brief, enjoyable trip, both zoos provide family-oriented fun and education.


In conclusion, both Potter Park Zoo and John Ball Zoo offer delightful and educational wildlife experiences in Michigan, USA, each with its own unique features.

Potter Park Zoo, in Lansing, sits on a large 102-acre plot and impresses visitors with its focus on conservation and education, offering a full day of family fun.

Especially convenient for families with older children, it provides accessibility features including rentable equipment.

However, it lacks public transportation access.

On the other hand, John Ball Zoo, located in Grand Rapids, covers a smaller but equally impressive 31 acres and houses 200 species of animals, offering a remarkable encounter with the wild.

Its focus points are conservation, sustainability, and a variety of food and drink options.

The zoo offers not only accessibility for those with disabilities but is also suitable for families with older children and even toddlers.

Although tickets are pricier and public transport is also absent, the zoo compensates with free parking.

Both zoos strictly adhere to regulations disallowing pet dogs, holding any animals, and allowing service animals only.

Although the two zoos share numerous similarities such as available food stalls and permitting visitors to bring their own food and drinks, they differ in terms of the animals they house, size, ticket prices, and emphasis on sustainability versus a full-day experience.

Ultimately, whether the attraction of choice is Potter Park Zoo or John Ball Zoo depends on what visitors are looking for in their ideal zoo visit.

Zoo Near Me