Well this certainly makes things more entertaining!

I recently went up to Grand Rapids to check out the Lantern Festival at John Ball Zoo. Despite having worked there myself when I was attending college at GVSU, I must admit the zoo has changed quite a bit since I was last there.

WKFR logo
Get our free mobile app

While walking the winding trail of lanterns displayed throughout the zoo I noticed something I don't ever recall seeing when I worked there back in the day: alcohol.

Now, maybe my mind is deceiving me and guests have always had the option to buy beer and wine at the zoo, but it definitely got me wondering whether or not alcohol is available at any other zoos in the state.

The answer is: yes!

Melissa, with permission
Melissa, with permission

John Ball Zoo - Grand Rapids

The Monkey Bar, Tiger Paws Pizza, and Bird's Nest all have alcoholic beverages available to those 21+. Options include domestic and craft beers with wine available only at Tiger Paws Pizza.

Binder Park Zoo - Battle Creek

Known for annual fundraising events like Corks and Kegs or Hops with Pops, it was very hard to track down current information regarding whether or not alcohol is sold on zoo premises. I did find a 2021 tweet from Binder Park Zoo Twitter account mentioning seasonal beers, ciders, and seltzers were available at Beluah's Café. I hope this is still true!

Getty Images

Detroit Zoo - Royal Oak

With more than 2,000 animals across 125 acres you're most likely going to work up an appetite at the Detroit Zoo-- and a thirst too! You have several options when you're in need of a cool refreshing drink. Detroit-made Buddy's Pizza serves craft beer and other cold beverages, Coney Corner has draft Michigan beer, and Cup & Pint offers coffee, nitro brew coffee, and local draft beers.

Get Your Glow On At IllumiZoo at John Ball Zoo

Each fall when nighttime falls, Grand Rapids' John Ball Zoo transforms in a magical, immersive world filled with light and sound!

IllumiZoo, the family-friendly, interactive event is back for another year of illuminated adventures through the zoo. Kids can be a part of the light-up fun with colorful cotton candy, light-up souvenir cups, and fun merch! Adults can enjoy glow-tastic adult beverages along the one-mile, dazzling walk.

Michigan Zoos, 1910s-1950s

More From WKFR