Public Museum makes good on campaign promise, reduces admission for Kent County residents

The Grand Rapids Public Museum. (Supplied)

By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma



Heading to the Grand Rapids Public Museum today? Well, Kent County residents will be pleased to know that the admission fee has been reduced.


The Grand Rapids Public Museum announced that admission for Kent County residents would be free for children ages 17 and under; $5 for Kent County residents; $3 for Kent County seniors; and free parking with paid Museum admission and parking valdiation. Kent County residents will need to show a government issued ID to receive these benefits.


As part of the millage, exhibits and programs at the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the John Ball Zoo will be expanded and updated.

The benefits for Kent County residents officially kicked in today and are the result of a voter-approved millage for the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the John Ball Zoo which was on the 2016 November ballot. The proposal was overwhelmingly approved, 173,152 to 108,333.


“Thanks to the financial support of the voters of Kent County, the Museum can continue to serve as an irreplaceable community resource and a symbol of regional importance,” said GRPM President and CEO Dale Robertson. “As a thank you to voters and to our community, we are pleased to offer these benefits, making the Museum more accessible to all.”


The new rates for Kent County residents are good for the life of the millage, which is 10 years.


Admission for residents outside of Kent County will remain the same: $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $3 for students and children. Admission for members is free. Special exhibits do have an up charge; however, those rates will be reduced for Kent County residents. Members pay $2 for special exhibits.


The funds from the 2016 millage – which was estimated to raise around $9.2 million in the first year – are designed to help both the Public Museum and the John Ball Zoo create a stable funding sources, ensuring that essential maintenance and facility repairs can take place. It also will provide quality care for the 1,600 animals and 250,000 artifacts at the John Ball Zoo and Museum along with updating and expanding education and exhibits at both facilities. As part of its commit to the millage passing, John Ball Zoo has made all school trips for elementary level students free.