Roger Williams Park Zoo
Providence RI 02907
- Mon: 9am-4pm
- Tue: 9am-4pm
- Wed: 9am-4pm
- Thu: 9am-4pm
- Fri: 9am-4pm
- Sat: 9am-4pm
- Sun: 9am-4pm
The Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence is a must-see attraction for families and adults alike. The zoo is one of the oldest in the country and boasts more than one hundred species of animals, most of them rare and exotic. It features an easy to navigate path that is just over a mile long and leads through the zoo's 40 acres; even visitors with strollers or wheelchairs will find this accessible (and these are available to rent). The staff are extremely knowledgable and eager to educate guests and answer questions. Be sure to check out the website for details on any special exhibits, animal feeding times, and other fun events like painting at the zoo, kids activities, guest lectures, and more.
Best and worst time to go to the Roger Williams Park Zoo
The zoo is open year round, but because it is primarily an outdoor venue, pick a day to visit with weather you find comfortable. As this is a top family destination, school vacation weeks and days with better weather will tend to be more crowded. The zoo opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m. October through March and 5 p.m. April through September, with final admissions 30 minutes prior to closing. Arriving early or staying late should minimize crowds and allow for easier parking. Be sure to check the zoo's website for updates on early closings on any given day due to special events; for example, each year, the zoo closes at 2 p.m. on the last Saturday in June, with the last admission at noon.
Must see/do at the Roger Williams Park Zoo
The zoo's red pandas are absolutely adorable, as are the moon bears. Kids will love the petting zoo featuring mini Nubian goats. Watch the elephants get a bath at about 10:30 a.m. each day. You can feed a harbor seal weekends in April through Memorial Day at 2 p.m. for an additional fee, or feed a giraffe for a nominal fee daily from May through October. Ask a staff member when your favorite animals will be getting fed or having playtime.
Admission to the Roger Williams Park Zoo
The zoo costs under $20 per adult with reduced rates for children and seniors. Children two and under are free, as are zoo members. Membership is reasonable and pays for itself in a few visits; it's worth considering if you think you may go more than once or twice. Guests fifteen and under must be accompanied by an adult. The first Saturday of every month is free for Providence residents.
Parking at the Roger Williams Park Zoo
Parking at the zoo is free in the adjacent lots. If the lots are full, there is parking throughout the Roger Williams Park, but you may find yourself walking a ways.
Public transportation to the Roger Williams Park Zoo
There is now a bus that will take you to the zoo. Take RIPTA's Route 6 Prairie Ave./Roger Williams Park Zoo trolley, which is a part of the LINK system. More information can be found on the RIPTA website.
Food at the Roger Williams Park Zoo
There are dining options at the zoo, but they are not cheap. The Serengeti Market Cafe and the RiverCamp Sweet Shop are seasonal, while the Wilderness Cafe is open year round. These restaurants offer the usual burgers, chicken fingers, wraps, and salads at a premium. Fortunately, you are allowed to bring in your own food and water, but you must carry your items with you as there are no lockers at the zoo.
Insider tip for visitors to the Roger Williams Park Zoo
Be sure to check out the zoo's African painted dog, Thunder, as he is one of few in the nation. He was born in 2005, and his pack mates have passed away due to age and to cancer. Thunder is still very active and charming. Once he is gone, it will be difficult for the zoo to acquire more African painted dogs, and Thunder is a zoo star who is worth a special visit.
Author's bio: Deborah Jarvis is a freelance writer who grew up and currently lives in the Greater Boston Area. She never pahks her cah in Hahvahd Yahd and tries not to drive like she's from Boston if she can help it. She loves animals and feels like she lives in her own private zoo with her three dogs.