We are lucky to have several wonderful zoos in New England. Whether you’re in Connecticut, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island, there is a great zoo relatively close by.
In New England, we are fortunate that nothing is really all that far away.
Sure, New Englanders don’t particularly like to drive and anything over 45 minutes is a road trip that requires snacks and a change of clothes (ha!), but any of these zoos are within a reasonable drive no matter where you are in Southern New England.
Zoos in Connecticut
Conveniently located off the Merritt Parkway in Bridgeport, you will find tigers, elephants, prairie dogs, peacocks wandering around, otters, farm animals, a carousel, and more.
You can even have kids' birthday parties, weddings, and other events at the Beardsley Zoo.
Zoos in Rhode Island
Zoos in Massachusetts
Buttonwood Zoo is a small zoo, but it is a fun and inexpensive way to spend the afternoon. For just $25, a family of four will enjoy visiting more than 50 different animal species. You can also ride the zoo train and carousel or host a birthday party.
Capron Park Zoo is small and is a good way to spend a few hours with the kids. There is also a splash pad in the zoo and a playground just outside.
Lupa Zoo is a 20-acre zoo a mission of conservation and education. You won't find all of the "big ticket" animals here like lions, elephants, or tigers, but if you're looking for something different to do in Western Mass, it's worth a visit. They also have a playground and a train for the kids.
For a larger zoo experience, head to Boston to visit the hundreds of animals at Franklin Park Zoo. Here you can visit The Outback, a Tropical Forest, Franklin Farm, the Children's Zoo, and more.
Southwick's Zoo is the most expensive zoo on this list but it is well worth the price of admission. It may be located in the middle of nowhere, but it is much larger than you may think.
Plan to spend the day there if it's your first trip and don't forget to bring your wallet and some cash if you would like to ride the carousel, have a camel ride, ride the zipline, visit the escape room, and much more.
These attractions don't even include the many animals they have on exhibit, including the deer forest. You can also have a birthday party or event at the zoo.
Run by Zoo New England along with Franklin Park Zoo, Stone Zoo is a little smaller but has a great variety of animals to visit. They also have a train ride.
Discounted New England zoo passes
Each zoo on this list has its own set of discounts for seniors and others. Some are for active-duty military and/or veterans, teachers, or town residents.
If you don’t fall into any of these categories, a trip to the zoo for your family can be expensive. Some other ways to possibly save on zoo admission is to check with your local library. Many libraries have discounted passes but you often need to request the pass so reserve yours in advance.
Also, if you are a member of another museum, zoo, or aquarium, see if they both participate in the reciprocal admission discount. This can potentially save you 50% to 100% off admission.