Kids check out reindeer at the entrance to the John Ball Zoo. Adam Bird
The John Ball Park neighborhood is one of the more unusual neighborhoods in GR because almost half is comprised of green spaces. Explore the neighborhood in this photo essay by Adam Bird.
The John Ball Park neighborhood is one of the more unusual neighborhoods in Grand Rapids because almost half of it is comprised of green spaces, including both the Mines Golf Course and John Ball Zoo and Park, from which the neighborhood gets its name. A little west of the WestSide, the neighborhood is bounded by Bridge Street to the north, O'Brien Road and Butterworth Street to the south, Marion to the east, and Covell to the west.
Gilda's Club on Bridge St. offers a wide range of cancer support services to patients, survivors, and their families.
In the John Ball Park neighborhood there are two tunnels, one of which goes under a hill for access to three houses on the top and side of the hill.
The second tunnel in the neighborhood is a pedestrian tunnel that goes under Interstate 196 to connect the residential neighborhood that is split by the highway.
A statue of zoo and park namesake John Ball is part jungle gym, part photo location for families visiting, when the weather is warmer.
The Mines Golf Course just barely beats out the Kent Country Club as the closest golf course to downtown, and lies in the southwest corner of the neighborhood.
Ball Park Floral, just across the street from the John Ball Zoo and Park, has provided flowers and gifts to residents since 1904.
Even in winter, families come to John Ball Zoo to view the eagles and other wildlife that thrive in the colder months outside, or live in interior habitats.
Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church and school are a fixture in the neighborhood. The church was founded by Polish immigrants in the late 1800s, and like Ball Park Floral, doors opened in 1904.
Rylee's Ace Hardware West Side offers easy access to home improvement and maintenance products to the neighborhood.
The Coca-Cola Bottling Facility sits on the South border of the John Ball Park neighborhood, with its iconic branding painted on two large tanks.
Photography and text by Adam Bird of Bird+Bird Studio.
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