I lived in Massachusetts for a few years in elementary and middle school, which is one of the reasons I like living in New England so much – it reminds me of all the fun stuff I did as a kid. My parents/school/church youth group loved Doing Stuff so I Did A Lot Of Stuff between the ages of 9 and 14. We went to amusement parks and museums and cities and zoos, and one of the places I have vague memories of is Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, Mass. This week we went up to check it out during the day trip portion of our summer vacation, since it’s only about 75 minutes away.
What I didn’t remember is that it’s a private zoo (I’m not sure I even knew that was still a thing?) and that it’s in the middle of nowhere. Our GPS took us down what I swear was a 3 mile driveway to a grass field…that turned out to be the parking lot. But the inauspicious entrance didn’t mean the zoo was a disappointment – in terms of animals they had more variety than our much-beloved Roger Williams Park Zoo. Plus they had the deer forest. I love the deer forest. We all love the deer forest, even E, although after I discovered how much he loved the baby goat farm I’m not sure why I’m surprised.
Southwick’s Zoo had a really nice military discount too (E was free, the rest of us were half-price) so it is definitely worth the drive for us. My tips: show up right at 10 am, park close to the entrance, and pack a picnic lunch in your car so you don’t have to buy zoo food. Let your kid pick ONE ride each (Evan picked the Skyfari, Caroline took a pony ride) and don’t waste money on the other tourist trap stuff. Bring lots of quarters for deer food. There are a ton of hills and it’s surprisingly big (my Fitbit said we walked 4.87 miles) so wear comfortable shoes. Wearing Linc was definitely a better choice than pushing a stroller up the huge hill at the end of the day would have been.
The tiger had a huge enclosure but was hanging out RIGHT next to the building. It must have been feeding time.
She saw an ape swinging from some ropes and was AMAZED.
It was clear they’ve done (and are doing) a lot of improvements/updates to the zoo, which were really nice. Zoos sometimes make me a little sad, but conservation and awareness seemed to be a big part of their program (for the record, this isn’t sponsored or endorsed, I just liked it).
Not tall enough for anything. Yet.
You’re not allowed to put the corn in a plastic bag, so we used the hat Lincoln refused to wear.
We couldn’t give Linc the corn to feed the deer because he kept eating it.
IS THAT NOT THE FAKEST-LOOKING DEER YOU’VE EVER SEEN IN YOUR LIFE? I’ve seen taxidermied deer that look less animatronic.