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.
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.