The first zoos were established to ration time with baby animals, which were so adorable that they dominated the lives of everyone from John F. Kennedy to Neil Armstrong, delaying man’s landing on the moon for a good 15 years. See the stars of the animal kingdom with today's Groupon, which gets you general admission to one of Zoo New England’s world-class zoos:
- $8 for one adult admission to Franklin Park Zoo (a $14 value)
- $6 for one adult admission to Stone Zoo in Stoneham (an $11 value)
Zoo New England is a nonprofit organization that operates both Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo, with a driving focus on protecting endangered species and conservation education. Both zoos are home to creatures gargantuan and tiny, yet each zoo has its own flair and flavor. Both are divvied up into a variety of themed exhibits and geographic habitats, are fully handicapped-accessible, and offer plentiful concessions and picnic table space for dining with family, friends, or pith-helmet-clad officemates.
Franklin Park Zoo sits in the “crown jewel” of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace park system. The 72 acres of beautiful park space are now home to hundreds of exotic animal species from around the extra-globalized globe. Mop a sweaty brow while wandering through the tropical rainforest habitat, which is home to thousands of plants as well as mandrills, ocelots, a pygmy hippopotamus, and the western lowland gorilla exhibit, which lets visitors stand face-to-face with the sloping gentle giants through a glass partition, ideal for bonding with your fellow great apes. See kangaroos and emus on the Australian outback trail as well as the new free-flight, interactive Aussie Aviary, or galumph like a gazelle across the African savannah, spying giraffes, zebras, tigers, wildebeests, and perhaps even a lion. A petting farm with goats, sheep, ponies, and more makes a pleasant excursion for childhood-memory formation.
Stone Zoo offers an equally exotic and fascinating cast of creatures from regions hearty, mountainous, and arboreal. Located next to the glittering glory of Spot Pond Reservoir, visitors can easily visualize the hiking boots, grappling hooks, and protein intake it would require to actually visit the places from which these animals emerge. Turn your face to the north wind in Yukon Creek, the Canadian North Woods habitat home to the zoo’s bald eagle, lynx, and reindeer, as well as an abandoned logger’s cabin for educational exploration. Black bear and North American otter exhibits re-create the sensation of living out a Goldilocks marathon, while Treasures of the Sierra Madre presents a gilded gander at jaguars, cougars, coyotes, and Gila monsters. Gaze at the stony outcrop of the Himalayan Highlands for a visit with snow leopards, Markhor goats, and yaks, and ponder the life of a pack animal as you enjoy the educational information seeping into your grey matter.
Franklin Park Zoo has been reviewed by Fodor's and Frommer's. It received three-star average ratings from Yelpers, and four-star reviews on average from multiple Insider Pagers and nine Yahoo! Locals:
- Lion and tiger habitats, the Giraffe Savannah, and a 4-acre mixed-species area called the Serengeti Crossing that showcases zebras, ostriches, ibex, and wildebeests keep this zoo roaring. The Tropical Forest, with its renovated Western Lowland Gorilla environment, is a big draw, and wallabies, emus, and kangaroos populate the Australian Outback Trail. – Fodor's
- It was very memorable experience. It was big. The staff was awesome and so helpful. – V. S., Insider Pages
Zoo New England
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. Inside the Tropical Forest signature pavilion discover gorillas, ring-tailed lemurs, or giant anteater, free-flight birds and more.
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.