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mjak68

John Ball Zoo

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I think it's easier to talk about what stays than what goes.

- The aquarium, just because I know it won't go anywhere. The penguin exhibit is a little underwhelming and it doesn't seem like the tidepool was ever used in the way it was intended. I think the exhibit should be re-worked to make the penguin area bigger. I also don't understand why they have snakes and tarantula's in the aquarium building. You'd think they would have more fish.

- The Chimpanzee exhibit, the wart hogs and the bongos are all pretty good.

- The barn / petting zoo is cool. I like the barn. The waterfall next to it is cool too but seems like needs to be near something tropical instead of a petting zoo.

On a scale of 1/10 I'd give our zoo about a 2.5 right now. But I know they are working on it, and hope that the re-aligning and future plans will make it a nice zoo. I'm not looking for the San Diego zoo, just something that is fun to be in and creates some sort of cohesive experience. And man, do we need a new entrance or what? I couldn't imagine being an out of towner and walking up to the chain link fence and makeshift ticket booths. We're here?! ;)

Joe

I agree that the entrance should be the next priority. Right now the front entrance looks like a back entrance. It needs to exude a feeling of "permanence", like it's a major theme park. Binder Park Zoo gives that impression as you approach the entrance, and it builds excitement as you walk down the path through the woods to the gate area, with all kinds of banners and flags draped along the walkway. The proposed changes to the entrance will do a lot in that regard:

460412558_17ee4e02e2_o.jpg

binderparkzoo.JPG

A giraffe feeding area would be cool (photo also of Binder Park Zoo).

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With the lions coming back....what else would be on your wishlist for animals the park could bring in? What current exhibits do you think need upgrading?

Well, if it's a wish list, I'd have to say a panda bear (Ron Burgendy?). Oh, and of course, a rhino.

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Does anyone know what the timeline is for upgrades, and if they have an order in mind? Also, are the plans for placement of exhibits, etc. set or is it still being planned? I see the lion exhibit is going exactly as planned in 2005.

Joe

I agree that the entrance should be the next priority. Right now the front entrance looks like a back entrance. It needs to exude a feeling of "permanence", like it's a major theme park. Binder Park Zoo gives that impression as you approach the entrance, and it builds excitement as you walk down the path through the woods to the gate area, with all kinds of banners and flags draped along the walkway. The proposed changes to the entrance will do a lot in that regard:

460412558_17ee4e02e2_o.jpg

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I'm always a fan of the larger environments that allow an animal to roam in a habitat that more closely mirrors their natural home. That is why I was a fan of moving the zoo to the golf club property. I find it sort of depressing to see a couple of bears sitting around looking defeated on what looks like a glorified staircase or other animals in small pens basically running around in circles. I do like the topography of the current zoo but we might just have to accept that some animals aren't going to work out so hot in that space. That being said, the new lion exhibit looks very interesting. John Ball should probably just embrace its role and make itself the best smaller, urban zoo out there.

I think what's missing is the NIMBY exhibit. Tranquilize a couple of those self-important nutjobs and when they wake up, they find themselves hemmed in a small room with hardly any space to move. We will give them magic markers and paper to make signs but unfortunately, due to a lack of space we can't install a telephone pole for them to staple the signs to. Might give them a different perspective. I want to get myself the t-shirt, "I saw the NIMBYs at John Ball Zoo!" :silly:

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I would love to see them expand the auarium and put a large tank in that could dispaly sharks or other big aquatic aniamals. the Herny doorly zoo in Omaha has an aquarium with nearly one million gallons or water total in all of their exhibits, our's is less than a tenth of that even if you count the penguins and all of the tanks combined. Aquariums are where it is at, and a lot of zoos are starting to recognise this by putting in larger tanks with larger fish.

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If GR were to do an aquarium, I'd prefer to see it seperate from the zoo that way it wouldn't be constrained by space limitations and could also be used to revitalize a different part of downtown. Now where to put it? Somewhere along the river makes the most sense. Since the southside seems to be developing into more of an entertainment district maybe the north side would work....maybe even in close proximity to the Fish Ladder.

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If GR were to do an aquarium, I'd prefer to see it seperate from the zoo that way it wouldn't be constrained by space limitations and could also be used to revitalize a different part of downtown. Now where to put it? Somewhere along the river makes the most sense. Since the southside seems to be developing into more of an entertainment district maybe the north side would work....maybe even in close proximity to the Fish Ladder.

An aquarium even in greatly reduced scale to the Shedd would be very cool downtown. If done right, the NIMBY's would never want the extra aquarium traffic on the west side...so plunk that puppy right downtown...anywhere.

I could see an aquarium being way better for the local economy than a water park downtown...

Cage Match: Shedd style Aquarium vs. Double JJ Ranch style water park

What's better for GR?

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Thats a fairly vague question. Cultural, Grand Rapids would definitely gain from the aquarium. If we're talking in a purely $$ sense, I would think the water park would bring more tourist dollars into the city.

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That's a tough one. An aquarium would probably get more school tours, while I think a water park would bring in more visitors. An aquarium combined with a science center either North of the Ford Museum, or on the riverfront lots North of I-196 would be cool though.

Personally I was disappointed with Shedd Aquarium's expansion. Just a fishtank, a lot bigger fishtank.

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Let's put your aquarium / science museum on the Fulton and Market surface lot. That would be a winner for me. We get another great attraction DT and we rid ourselves of another ugly surface lot. Oh yeah it would win more brownie points for the Devoses, since they would generously donate the lot.

That's a tough one. An aquarium would probably get more school tours, while I think a water park would bring in more visitors. An aquarium combined with a science center either North of the Ford Museum, or on the riverfront lots North of I-196 would be cool though.

Personally I was disappointed with Shedd Aquarium's expansion. Just a fishtank, a lot bigger fishtank.

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Cage Match: Shedd style Aquarium vs. Double JJ Ranch style water park

What's better for GR?

Combine them - "Swimming with the Fishes" - aquarium and water park tourist attraction.

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Combine them - "Swimming with the Fishes" - aquarium and water park tourist attraction.

Now that's a great idea Prankster! Weekday business from school tours and business travelers (staying at the hotel), and weekend business from families. Send that idea to Grand Action.

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Now that's a great idea Prankster! Weekday business from school tours and business travelers (staying at the hotel), and weekend business from families. Send that idea to Grand Action.

Rack another one up for UP.

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Combine them - "Swimming with the Fishes" - aquarium and water park tourist attraction.

I get first dibs on the clear plexi water slide through the middle of the shark tank.

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That's a tough one. An aquarium would probably get more school tours, while I think a water park would bring in more visitors. An aquarium combined with a science center either North of the Ford Museum, or on the riverfront lots North of I-196 would be cool though.

Personally I was disappointed with Shedd Aquarium's expansion. Just a fishtank, a lot bigger fishtank.

I think this is a perfect idea! We need a science center and aquarium. I can't believe we don't have a Aquarium center already, we are the Great Lakes State and they could have a section on the importance on cleaning up the waterways. Let's pool (bad joke) our money and get this done.

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At least, it seems, they have finally given up on bringing in the elephants. With every other zoo in the north finally realizing that elephants don't like the cold we were the only one fighting to get them.

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I have had dreams of a science center with an aquarium for years. I wanted to see it on the west side of the river near the impound lot, i think there are several parking lots there on the river, althoguh they might have to tear down a few things.

I picture the aquarium as either a "great lakes aquarium" with one large tank, or the "grand river aquarium" with long narrow underwater viewing tunnels several hundred feet long. Simliar to what they have at the Mall of America if anyone has ever seen it. I think it is called adventure land and it is about 400 feet of tunnels with sea water fish and aniamls.

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The Aquarium idea in downtown sounds great! I especially like the idea of connecting it to Great Lakes conservation and a theme on the Grand River. A cool idea would be to build it right up to the Grand River's edge and have a viewing area to see the salmon coming through...sort of like the fish ladder only with underwater viewing too.

The only thing is...Northern fish are not really all that exciting (as far as color) so in order to bring more people in the aquarium would have to have some tropical fishes etc. that had more vivacious color and characteristics.

Great Thinking though GR-UP! :thumbsup:

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At least, it seems, they have finally given up on bringing in the elephants. With every other zoo in the north finally realizing that elephants don't like the cold we were the only one fighting to get them.

We were never fighting to get them

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I think that this is a great idea. Shedd's aquarium is a must stop for me at least once a year. I even prepared a presentation about an aquarium project in GR for an MBA class a few years ago. Sign me up!

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An article about the zoo in the press to day it says they will have more interactive exhibits including, "The "feeling" comes later this summer when a new "zipline," or pulley system, such as those used in rain forests, opens and allows visitors to fly over the zoo's waterfall." yay!!!!

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