Visiting The Zoo in Forest Park and Education Center is a lot like stepping into a nature documentary. Guests can take a self-guided journey to meet more than 200 creatures from across the world. They may stop by the habitats of the black and white ruffed lemur, the western bobcat, and the spotted leopard. Along the way, guests might learn a lot: for instance, that the Bennett's wallaby carries its young in a pouch, and that the critically-endangered cotton-top tamarin has lost more than 75% of its native habitat.
But in at least one way, the zoo accomplishes something that David Attenborough never could. Visitors can actually reach out and touch a creature during discovery programs. They can even adopt certain animals, perhaps helping provide tasty grasses and career guidance to a red kangaroo.
These programs exemplify the nonprofit zoo's dedication to wildlife education and awareness, something they hope to instill in their visitors from an early age. In the summer, educators spin "Animal Tales" for rapt young audiences and hold a Zoo Camp, where kids start to learn about diet and animal care. As kids' love of animals grows, the zoo invites them to volunteer as Crew in Training members. Once they hit college, students can become interns working on projects such as field studies of the patas monkey.
As visitors step into the balmy gardens of The Butterfly Place, they may feel as though they are ?walking into a floating garden . . . as if they are being carried as well.? That was the experience of a Wicked Local writer who visited the seasonal indoor sanctuary, which houses both local butterflies and tropical species culled from around the world. As the butterflies freely wing about the sanctuary, koi fish swim through serene ponds along the winding pathway, and quail waddle and moonwalk through myriad species of colorful flora. Those who find that watching the butterflies sip nectar incites their own hunger can take a break at the outdoor picnic area and nibble on any snacks they may have brought along.
Cambridge Historical Tours unearths nearly 400 years of history during informative jaunts that cast light on the area's captivating, funny, and sometimes gory past. Sheathed in authentic puritan attire, guides lead groups on 75-minute treks back in time, fusing wholesome doses of humor with laboriously researched facts. Guests take in the historic landmark Memorial Hall on the campus of Harvard University, and absorb the eerie ambiance of the Cambridge Burial Ground, where many of Harvard's early presidents are buried. The tour reveals such sights as the picturesque Longfellow House, which was seized in 1775 to become George Washington's quarters, presumably so he could practice his putting game on the property's lush lawns.
Thanks to Zoo New England, little patches of wilderness from Africa, South America, Australia, and other parts of the world now dot Massachusetts. The non-profit organization operates both Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo, each full of exotic creatures and their habitats. These microcosms represent an ideal world, one where endangered species thrive and fragile ecosystems last for generations to come.
At Franklin Park Zoo, tigers display their exotic stripes in the Tiger Tales exhibit where guests are educated on the perils these animals face in their natural habitats. Elsewhere, thousands of plants as well as mandrills, ocelots, and a pygmy hippopotamus turn the zoo into a tropical rainforest.
Stone Zoo, meanwhile, places simulations of the world's highlands next to Spot Pond. One area focuses on the Sierra Madre mountain range, which spans Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. The elevated habitat counts jaguars, coyotes, Gila monsters, and cougars among its denizens.
A portion of every admission goes to the organization's conservation efforts, which supports projects both locally and globally. For would-be zookeepers, Zoo New England hosts various adult and kids' educational programs, and lets volunteers help in the care of zoo plants and animals.
One of the largest conservation organizations in New England, Mass Audubon cares for 34,000 acres of natural land in a network of more than 50 wildlife sanctuaries across the state. Its members receive free admission to these pacific preserves, where, alongside more than 150 endangered or threatened native species, they can breathe in Mother Nature’s perfume or have a good cry on her mossy bosom. During bird-migration season, alert gazes can capture some 300 species of sky surfer at Allens Pond on the South Coast, and visitors to Lincoln’s Drumlin Farm can re-enact Charlotte's Web with a motley band of sheep, cows, goats, and pigs.
Staff Size: 25?50 people
Brands Used: Zoo Med, Dogtra, Exo Terra, Goldenfeast, Repashy, Orijen
Pro Tip: Widest selection of exotic animals in New England
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Reptiles
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
What special training do you or your staff have?
We specialize in top quality products and expert advice. Many customers have come to us frustrated by past experiences with other pet stores and animal dealers. Our staff is extremely passionate about animals and their care in captivity. We want our customers to be successful with their pets and we make it our mission to promote appreciation for all animals (even the "creepy crawly" ones) by providing a safe, fun experience for both animal lovers and those who don't yet realize how amazing these creatures are.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Our animals have appeared with Steve, Terri and Bindi Irwin (crocodile hunter), Jeff Corwin, Conan O'Brien, Tony Danza, Kathi Lee Gifford, Fox and Friends, The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet, Animal Planet, Six Flags New England, New England Aquarium, Franklin Park Zoo and more.