Our latest Mystery Ride: The Buttonwood Park Zoo

26 Apr

Mystery Ride to a new-to-us zoo!

During April Vacation week when we were looking for fun things to do as a family, Don came across the Buttonwood Park Zoo, which was about 45 minutes or so from us in Massachusetts. We actually have a zoo about 10 minutes from us, but we’ve been there lots of times and we were looking for something new, different, and inexpensive. We found it at the Buttonwood Park Zoo.

We packed a picnic lunch plus snacks for later, and planned to find a spot to eat when we got there. We parked on a nearby residential street since the lot was full when we arrived. The zoo is in a beautiful area and there’s plenty of spots for walking, jogging, bike riding all around. It was a gorgeous day and people were out everywhere. It had such a great atmosphere about it.

We loved the fact that it only cost our family $21 to get in; very budget-friendly and less expensive than the zoo near our house. You had the option to purchase tickets for pony rides, train rides and carousel rides, but we said no, no and no again. At least for this time we were opting to just try out the zoo. We knew that we had plans the next day as well, so we had to stay fast to our budget and we explained that to our kids.

As a parent, now that I’ve seen the train and carousel, I would not spend the money on them in the future most likely. We have a much larger carousel nearby, two of them actually, that are cheaper (it was $2 per ride on the carousel at the zoo) and the train was really tiny, better for preschoolers, but I think I’d be tempted to let them try the pony rides if we went back.

This horse was *this* close to us. We pet her, fed, her and talked to her. She was absolutely beautiful. We visited this part of the farm area twice, just to see her.

Overall, the zoo was wonderful. We found a place to eat right away, in a very clean outdoor area that had tables and chairs already set up for us. There was also an indoor food court where you could buy food there and eat it inside if you wanted to. Because it was April Vacation week they had an area just inside the entrance where they were doing crafts but we didn’t participate because we were anxious to get in, eat and get started walking around.

The zoo had a mix of all kinds of exhibits including (but not limited to) bald eagles, elephants, black bears, river otters and my kids’ absolute favorite: the horses. There was lots of space to walk and an entire Buttonwood Farm area with sheep, roosters, goats, and rabbits. There was also an indoor aquatic exhibit that had snakes, birds and fish native to our area. And horses. Did I mention there were horses?

We spent about 2 1/2 hours or so walking the zoo. Although the lot was full, you didn’t feel crowded or as if you were walking in a herd of people. We saw the whole thing and between us we took over 200 pictures. It was a gorgeous day, perfect fora day at the zoo. We enjoyed the variety of exhibits that gave us a change from our regular zoo as well, even though we love it there also.

I’d definitely go back to the Buttonwood Park Zoo and if you live anywhere within driving distance to the New Bedford area, I highly recommend that you give it a try, especially if you’re looking to stick to a budget. It’s extremely affordable and you get a great deal out of the experience for the money you pay. I’d definitely go back again, and my kids, well they’re saving their money now.

They want to buy a horse.

2 Responses to “Our latest Mystery Ride: The Buttonwood Park Zoo”

  1. Dawn April 26, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    Jen, I love reading your reviews and I 100% agree with you about Buttonwood Zoo! It is so clean and how else can I describe: adorable! Although kids of all ages love animals, I thought it was the perfect zoo for toddlers- some people I have talked to were disappointed at how “small” it was… yes, I believe it is a smaller walking area than Roger Williams Zoo or Franklin Park Zoo, but this is why I love it so much- smaller and easier for the little ones to walk around themselves- but as you said- not tight or crowded feeling. We all remember those days when the 1 and 2 year olds just want to walk walk walk!! I also enjoyed the farm area- so many times we go to a zoo and see animals that are “unusual” or you don’t know what kind they are, and that is great for educational reasons… but again, I get back to the toddler attraction where its nice to see the young one’s faces light up when they can get up close to a horse, cow or pig! Did you see the big pigs?! and walk through the barn- and smell the barn smell!! Your post brought back wonderful memories of my trip with my girls- I’ll have to schedule another visit this summer! And, I almost forgot- did you see the deer, too!?

    • thewholebagofchips April 26, 2012 at 9:27 am #

      Yes we saw the deer! I loved how close you could get to the animals. My daughter is 12 and she loved that horse. There’s one picture of her face as she’s petting the horse’s face an inch away from her, that’s just amazing. There’s something to be said for up close and personal and hands-on. They totally loved it. You could even bring bikes and spend the day doing more walking or riding on the path afterwards or before. I find it hard to find things that span the age range from my “little” one who is 7 to my oldest who’s almost 13 and this definitely worked for all of us. We saw those stinky pigs too, and they loved the goats.

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