Home Arts & Entertainment John Ball Zoo lights up Grand Rapids night sky with IllumiZoo

John Ball Zoo lights up Grand Rapids night sky with IllumiZoo

Photo of the path at IllumiZoo at John Ball Park Zoo (Breegan Petruska/The Collegiate)

By Breegan Petruska

Students and adults alike know right now that the news has been stressful. Election day is coming up, our COVID cases are rising, and midterms are in full swing. John Ball Park Zoo has come up with a perfect solution for a COVID-safe, fun night away from the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day lives.

IllumiZoo, a Glenlore Tale, is a mile long, nighttime, colorfully lit trail through the zoo. This illuminated trail is perfect for family and friends of all ages. 

Photo from IllumiZoo (Breegan Petruska/The Collegiate)  Sabrina Edwards

The zoo is lit up with swirling lights accompanied by mystical music. There are many differently lit trails and walkways going through the zoo. Along the way you can see some parts of their other attractions they are currently running like “Zoo Goes Boo” and “Bricklive Animal Paradise.”

Katie Weigle, 18, of Grand Haven is a student at Michigan State University. Illumizoo was the first event that she and her friends have been to since quarantine began. 

“For us, we loved the bubbles right at the start,” Weigle said. “My friend is a photographer so we had a lot of fun going around and taking photos.”

Alyssa Bennington, 20, of Grand Rapids, is a GRCC student who visited IllumiZoo this past weekend. 

“It was stress-relieving,” said Bennington. “They had concessions open so you could get your hot chocolate. And for the money, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had recently. I would definitely pay to see it again.”

Many of the pathways are the same that guests walk during normal zoo hours, so these pathways are stroller and wheelchair accessible. Masks and social distancing are required at this event. 

IllumiZoo, a Glenlore Tale, is taking place at the John Ball Park Zoo from now until Nov. 15. 

Sunday, Tuesday – Thursday from 7p – 11p

$20 (adults); $10 (ages 3-12 & seniors); ages 2 & under FREE

Friday & Saturday from 7p – 12a 

$25 (adults); $13 (ages 3-12 & seniors); ages 2 & under FREE

Members receive 10% off admission for any day and time