Maybe a monkey will steal your bananas or maybe the lions will have you running to the exit. Whatever may happen while at the zoo, be prepared for the unexpected. Franklin Park has so many sites and animal antics to ogle over that time will just fly by.
Franklin Park Zoo
1 Franklin Park Road
Boston, MA 02121
Franklin Park Zoo keeps a simple list of guidelines designed to make everyone’s visit, whether young or old, a delightful experience. Keeping goodies to yourself is strongly encouraged, as some of the animals are on special diets that are not posted for the general public and no one wants the animals getting tummy aches. Sharing objects with them is also discouraged for basic safety. Keeping to pathways or staying off railings helps to keep unforeseen accidents from occurring. If needed, first aid supplies are kept on site. If anyone in the group ventured off to admire an exhibit on their own and cannot be found easily, FPZ staff suggests the use of the public announcement system which can be heard throughout every nook and cranny of the zoo. A lost and found department is also on site, if after arriving home you find personal items may have been left behind. The lost and found office uses a separate phone line available on its website.
Franklin Park Zoo is handicap accessible, with wheelchairs available on a first-come, first-served basis to make transitions from car to park a breeze. Parking is at no cost to its patrons.
Hours of operation:
Apr. 1 – Sept. 30th: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekday
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekend
Oct. 1 – Mar. 31st: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Adults $17, Seniors $14, Children $11, under age 2 free
Military guests may enter the zoo at a 50 percent discount.
Members enjoy free admission year round for the entire family. Click here for membership rates.
Sites and Exhibits
Don’t miss standing face to face with the eight western lowland gorillas who’ve made their home in FPZ’s indoor tropical rainforest. Colorful, exotic species by the hundreds of ocelots, mandrills, ring-tailed lemurs, a pygmy hippopotamus and dozens of birds in free flight from around the globe can be found amid lush, colorful and majestic plant life.
Masai giraffes Beau, Jana and their lovely daughter Henrietta is a special little family waiting to meet yours at the Giraffe Savannah located in their warm barn. The Savannah is home to a herd of Grevy’s and Grant zebras, ranging along its Outback Trail and Serengeti Crossing where you may spy an ostrich or two, white-bearded wildebeests and warthogs.
Tiger Tales strives to educate about the crises surrounding the great cats while appreciating the power and grace of Luther, the white tiger, and Anala, his mate. Kalahari Kingdom is the domain of the lion safari, safe and secure in Boston. Climb into the land rover and set off to three separate locations across the moat to view the king of the jungle.
Franklin Farm is the children’s opportunity for petting, cuddling and watching ducklings hatch in its warm incubator. The main barn houses horses, ponies, goats and sheep, as well as some very special guests like snakes and spiders. Its Contact Corral has a shorter visiting period so the animals can get their rest and be ready for plenty of interaction each day. Times to play are daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Bird’s World and Butterfly Landing are both stunning exhibits of flight. The delicate fluttering and tranquility you’ll find at the Butterfly Landing is a seasonal tented area with music in full surround sound, while Bird’s World is a full house of dozens of varied species found all over the world including indigenous birds from the swamp, scrub and wetlands.
Along with the zebras grazing within the Outback Trail, kangaroos and kookaburras native to Australia may leave you feeling a bit like Crocodile Dundee by the time you’ve reached the Aussie Aviary, where guests have the opportunity to purchase seed sticks to feed the parrots, parakeets and budgies as they walk through.
Dining and Shops
The Giddy-Up Grill is open year round to satisfy your appetite. Wraps, sandwiches, salads, pizza and an assortment of kid-friendly menus as well as a variety of refreshments and snacks are well stocked and ready to eat. You can find fresh-off-the-grill items as well as plenty of picnic tables to have an impromptu family cookout.
Things Wild Gift Shop will send you home with plush replicas of the animals you’ve made friends with during your visit as well as keepsakes to remember Franklin Park Zoo. Grab a specially designed shirt covered in creatures or purchase a fun game that is guaranteed to educate as well as keep the fun alive at home.
New Events & Entertainment
Birthday Bash for Beau the Giraffe
Sept. 22 – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sign a giant card so the long-necked Beau can make his birthday wishes. Cake is provided for the guests, and Beau won’t mind because he’ll be busy picking delicious leaves off the tops of his birthday trees. There will be zookeeper encounters over the course of the day for question-and-answer opportunities.
Hippo Theater Happenings
Every Friday at 10:30 a.m.
Every Friday morning, no registration or entrance fee is required for activities and fun animal encounters. There is story time for children ages five and up and crafts to make will be started every 15 minutes at the tropical rainforest exhibit through the end of March, leaving you plenty of time to plan for a winter family day at the zoo.
Kid’s Price Saturdays, Breakfast with the Animals, Playful Paws Toddler Playgroup & Curious Cubs for toddlers and Family Fun Programs are all on-going groups and events that make Franklin Park Zoo a complete adventure. Whether able to attend every Saturday for free, or make a play date for the children on a weekly basis, these wonderful opportunities to grow and learn alongside the animals is an exciting event for the young park ranger or the family member who may have the makings of the next wildlife explorer and nature enthusiast.
Franklin Park Zoo is accessible by the T, using the Orange line or Commuter rail to Ruggles Station. Use Forest Hill Station or the Red line’s Andrew station to board key bus routes that deposit their passengers at the entrance to the zoo.
Freelance Writer Corinne Costantino brings the “Best of Boston” to New England. Her work can be found on Examiner.com