mjak68

John Ball Zoo

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mjak68    11

This plan looks like a winner to me. I can't think of anything else quite like it in the mid-west. It seems to use that site's unique topography to its fulleset extent. I think these are the kinds of developments GR needs to set us apart from other metros, and help develop our unique identity.

Does anyone know the status of the planning or fundraising for this?

http://www.accesskent.com/CultureLeisureAn...Vision_Plan.pdf

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snoogit    0

Wow, I hope they do this. I really enjoy our zoo, but why does it say "2005" vision...

It was probably decided in 2005, and future plans will flow from it.

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mjak68    11

Nice find mjak! I like the funicular and treehouse on the second to last page.

Yeah, that's my favorite part too. I can't wait to hang out there and look out over our beautiful city. :P

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d59    0

My family and I visit the zoo every year. It is such a great time as we make a day of it in Grand Rapids (eating out, Meijer Gardens, downtown). This has become an annual summer event that we will probably carry with us for many years. Any improvements in the zoo are just icing on the cake to me. I've been to larger zoos, but John Ball has a character that many others lack. I'm glad that it didn't move east of town. It's current location is part of its charm. I'm glad to see that they are making it work inspite of the land limitations. :)

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JP9    1

It certainly does have an interesting location, but that is what makes us different from other places...

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grcitydog    0

I like the compactness of the zoo in its location, too bad it couldn't expand over I-196, but that's ok. I think that the fact that it can't expand forces the designers to become more creative with the land and facilities that they do have. If the zoo had been out of the city more, we would have really lost something special and unique.

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GR8scott    79

I like the compactness of the zoo in its location, too bad it couldn't expand over I-196, but that's ok. I think that the fact that it can't expand forces the designers to become more creative with the land and facilities that they do have. If the zoo had been out of the city more, we would have really lost something special and unique.

Yeah I would love to see it expand over the expressway with a really cool bridge like the STL. science center, I dont understand why they wouldnt be able to make the ground more sturdy like caving in the sink holes, build supports, use dinomite to blow up the ground and reform the landscape or something. It would be a really good use of land and look really cool.

The treehouse thing is a really neat idea too, cant wait to go up there

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GRDadof3    1830

Zoo's attendance boosted by new exhibits

The new attractions are part of a master plan approved by Kent County aimed at rejuvenating the 115-year-old facility. John Ball Zoo is the tenth-oldest zoo in the country.

Fundraising has not yet begun on other projects, such as a new lion exhibit, renovated entrance and the addition of a "funicular," or cable railway, which would transport zoo visitors up a hill to a treehouse gathering area.

"This is just whetting people's appetites for more," Vescolani said.

There's your answer mjak68. :thumbsup:

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superNOVA    0

I like the plan. As someone that lives by the zoo, and one that visits a few times a year I would love to see some of these changes.

It is good to see that the zoo has recovered from the drama of the Meijer offer and they have some good ideas for both the zoo and preservation of park space.

The worst part about going to the zoo right now is the feeling that there could be so much more. I am very happy to see that this has not been lost to the leadership of the zoo. I think that the change of management has been very good.

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tSlater    114

Had no idea it was the tenth oldest.. that's pretty impressive considering the sheer numbers of them.

I also can't wait to ride the "funicular". If it's the kind of railway I'm thinking of, riding a similar one in Niagara Falls was pretty fun and breathtaking, although quite short.

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gvsusean    35

I HATE john ball zoo!!!! not for lack of content, but for the TERRIBLE treatment of their animals, the tiger has 0 grass in its entire cage only its 20x20 slab of concrete. The fact that it si the 10th oldest is all the more reason to tear it down! When people from out of town ask about going to a zoo, I tell them we dont have one just to save me and the city of GR from being embarresed. :sick:

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Rizzo    0

I HATE john ball zoo!!!! not for lack of content, but for the TERRIBLE treatment of their animals, the tiger has 0 grass in its entire cage only its 20x20 slab of concrete. The fact that it si the 10th oldest is all the more reason to tear it down! When people from out of town ask about going to a zoo, I tell them we dont have one just to save me and the city of GR from being embarresed. :sick:

My ass... John Ball impresses A LOT OF PEOPLE. I go 5 times a year, and with all this time there I have failed to be "impressed." I question the "TERRIBLE" treatment of their animals. In fact to keep accreditation (I believe) there are inspections of the grounds and animals specific to abuse and malnurishment. I believe John Ball is a highly regarded urban zoo specific to its treatment and grounds keeping. Now lets talk about crapy parks, Bnder is a factory zoo...

Edited by Rizzo

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gvsusean    35

My ass... John Ball impresses A LOT OF PEOPLE. I go 5 times a year, and with all this time there I have failed to be "impressed." I question the "TERRIBLE" treatment of their animals. In fact to keep accreditation (I believe) there are inspections of the grounds and animals specific to abuse and malnurishment. I believe John Ball is a highly regarded urban zoo specific to its treatment and grounds keeping. Now lets talk about crapy parks, Bnder is a factory zoo...

Binder may be a "factory zoo" but we are not talking about suburb developments, we are talking about actual living things. at binder they have large open areas to roam, at JBZ this is obviously not the case. I cant believe anyone could defend JBZ in its current state.

also i did make the mistake of taking a few out of towners to the zoo this past month and they wanted to leave because of how crappy the conditions were.

Edited by gvsusean

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suydam    1

I HATE john ball zoo!!!! not for lack of content, but for the TERRIBLE treatment of their animals, the tiger has 0 grass in its entire cage only its 20x20 slab of concrete. The fact that it si the 10th oldest is all the more reason to tear it down! When people from out of town ask about going to a zoo, I tell them we dont have one just to save me and the city of GR from being embarresed. :sick:

Finaly reality sets in.

I hate to say this, but I've been to Detroit, Toledo, Binder Park and John Ball Park zoos.

Of the four, John Ball is by far the worst zoo I've set foot in.

It's totally depressing and as much as I love living here and want good things for GR, that zoo is bad bad bad.

The cages look like something out of the 1940s. The rest of the zoo world has moved on and is full of exhibits like the chimp exhibit (which is a great one, for sure).

Even the Detroit Zoo, which I hated as a kid for the same reasons I now cannot stand John Ball, has redone almost everything there to make it a great zoo that I'm proud to visit.

John Ball has a great spot, right in the city and a unique setting with the hill there and everything. The rest of it is totally depressing. This is my observation as somone who moved here last year and had never been to the zoo and had no pre-conceived notion. My wife felt the same way and we won't be going back any time soon.

To compare mid-sized zoos, I suggest Toledo, Ohio.

Edited by suydam

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Rizzo    0

Binder may be a "factory zoo" but we are not talking about suburb developments, we are talking about actual living things. at binder they have large open areas to roam, at JBZ this is obviously not the case. I cant believe anyone could defend JBZ in its current state.

also i did make the mistake of taking a few out of towners to the zoo this past month and they wanted to leave because of how crappy the conditions were.

No, I mean factory zoo as a term to reflect on the philosphy of lots of animals of many species in finite space. I defend JBZ because I have been going there all my life and haven't noticed any neglect or any form of malnorishment. That isn't to say that there isn't situations in that regard, but that goes for Binder Park too. I'm defending it because of past experinces, as you are. Add to that the experience of out of towners or locals; if it wasn't such a great zoo it would be out of business or pressed really bad. I would envite PETA, Henry Erb, and hidden cameras to inspect the conditions of JBZ. To each his own I guess. If I'm the only one with these sentiments then I guess also I stand alone.

Edited by Rizzo

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snoogit    0

The only way John Ball can improve itself is by doing the unpopular things, either completely taking over JBP, or moving out to an area with more space.

Now If it were me, I'd say take over JBP, and with Millenium park just across from it JBP's relevance is slowly fading away.

The zoo needs an upgrade, and needs some expansion, denying that is doing a disservice for the area, and the zoo.

Its time to pull the NIMBY rod from our arses and get the Zoo expanded and upgraded.

Edited by snoogit

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tSlater    114

The thing is, it's old. That's the way zoos were when it was built, and it isn't nearly as big as Toledo, Binder, Detroit, or Bloomfield (Chicago), so it doesn't have nearly as much money coming in, which makes it more difficult to re-do all the old sections. My guess is they're trying to add some of these new things to at least stay competitive so more money can be made, allowing for reconstructions in the future. Haven't they already reconstructed a few of the exhibits anyways?

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john_denver    27

The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle has done a great job converting all of it's "iron & cement cells" for real world habitat that the animals enjoy. When I was there last in 2002, only a few primates and big cats were still incarcerated in these awful places. They were to move into more posh residences soon. It's pretty evident that the animals know a difference.

Edited by john_denver

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