In light of recent events, we have received numerous inquiries about when the
John Ball Zoo will be opening for the 2020 season. I’d like to review our plans and why we have made
the decisions we are making at this time.
Since the beginning of the COViD-19 health pandemic in Michigan the John Ball Zoo has maintained that
we will work collaboratively with our partners at the CDC, state, and local levels of government and
healthcare. In so doing we made a commitment to keeping the safety of our employees, animals, and the
community at the forefront of our decision-making on when we can open safely to the public.
As a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the nation’s highest and most prestigious
accreditation for zoos, we place a high level of focus on upholding the best modern zoological practices
in animal welfare and management. We work to ensure its safe not only for the public but the
animals under our care. Based on medical advice from our onsite veterinarian and our team of animal
care experts, we know that COVID can transmit from humans to animals from close proximity and is
increased through public touching or feeding of animals. John Ball Zoo will not allow these practices until
our veterinarian team and animal care experts determine it is safe to do so.
Being forced to close has put the John Ball Zoo in an unprecedented time in terms of revenue losses.
We are averaging a revenue loss of one million dollars per month in April and May and, should we
remain closed, those numbers jump to almost two million dollars of lost revenue per month in June, July,
and August. As a private nonprofit this presents many unique challenges.
Nonetheless, we remain committed to our values and to the promise we made at the onset of this health
pandemic. Based on this and the current executive order by Governor Whitmer, the John Ball Zoo will
remain closed until it is safe to open.
With that said, we are ready and prepared to open safely to the public and are hopeful that we will be
allowed to do so by May 29. We are excited to demonstrate the additional measures we have put into
place to ensure the safety of our guests, employees, and the nearly 2,000 animals who call John Ball Zoo home.