Massachusetts zoos, aquariums, animal parks are excellent, world-famous

The exciting and mysterious worlds of science and nature are on display around Massachusetts for a day of fun and learning for children and adults. Zoos bring you up close for animal encounters and interactive exhibits with large and small, exotic wildlife from here and around the world. Aquariums feature saltwater and freshwater tanks to offer a unique view into sea life and to serve as an introduction to marine ecology. Family friendly lodging nearby your destination makes your visit all the more fun.

2 Southwick Street Mendon, MA, 01756 Phone: 800-258-9182

Bringing the wildlife to a place near you

A highly accessible zoo, New England’s largest presents enough entertaining and enlightening animal attractions, exhibits and encounters to take your breath away. 115 species of animals both large and small await your visit and you can learn all about them at the Earth Discovery Center. There’s a 35 acre deer forest, a petting zoo, and parakeet aviary to experience on foot, or you can ride the Woodlands Express train, or the Skyfari Sky Ride to meet elk, chimpanzees, camels, alligators, zebra. and ostrich from inside or above. Don’t miss the big cats, snakes, dragons, and the always popular Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. Southwick's Zoo is handicap accessible and parking is free.

One Franklin Park Road Boston, MA, 02121 Phone: 617-541-5466

Take a wildlife adventure in your own backyard

This wonderful zoo is located in the northeast section of Boston’s largest park and the last component of the city's famed Emerald Necklace. Opened to the public in 1912, it’s operated by Zoo New England which also operates the Stone Zoo in Stoneham. The seventy-two acre park features wildlife from around the world including African lion, Masai giraffe and Grevy’s zebra. Each will be found in their own special exhibit habitats including the Kalahari Kingdom and the Giraffe Savannah. The Tropical Forest is home to western lowland gorillas, lemurs, mandrills and more while the Aussie Aviary, open seasonally, is home to hundreds of brightly colored budgies and offers a free-flight, interactive bird adventure. Franklin Park Zoo is open year-round except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

149 Pond Street Stoneham, MA, 02180 Phone: 617-541-5466

Large and exotic animals spoken here

Memorial Zoo is set on 26 acres near the Spot Pond Reservoir. It Named for its inspirational director during the mid 20th century, the Walter D. Stone features a fascinating mix of exotic and larger species animals from around the world. You’ll get up close to elephants, giraffes, zebras, pygmy hippopotami, sea lions as well as monkeys, wolves, jaguars, cougars. A wildly popular black bear exhibit was inspired by “Major,” the resident Polar bear. Over its lifespan the zoo has launched new attractions and state-of-the-art exhibits like the Treasures of the Sierra Madre and Windows to the Wild which includes a free-flight aviary. In the 70’s and 80’s, it began breeding endangered species. Open year round except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

300 North Main Street Florence, MA, 01062 Phone: 413-584-5457

Talk to the animals who have stories to tell

Visit Christenson Zoo in Look Park and listen to the sounds, feed the animals, and learn how they live. The fallow deer are all related and share the same buck for a father. There are strutting peacocks, clucking chickens, adorable pygmy goats, a proud Bald Eagle, Red-Tailed Hawks, Barred Owls and much more. The hawks, eagle, owls and turkey vultures are all rescued animals that would not survive in the wild because of injuries and enjoy safety and care in Look Park. Bring the family, plan a birthday party, an outing for your company, school or youth group and enjoy. The zoo is a free attraction and meets all safety and animal care criteria established by the USDA and MSPCA.

Lupa Zoo

62 Nash Hill Road Ludlow, MA, 02051 Phone: 413-583-8370

Non-profit wildlife facility dedicated to promoting appreciation and respect for the conservation of animals and their ecosystems; while offering enjoyable, educational and family-oriented experiences in an urban recreational setting. Open daily April-November from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

Capron Park Zoo

The zoo has revitalized itself with new exhibits and animals from all over the world: African lion cubs, North American river otters, snow leopards, and creatures of the rain forests. Activities give children the chance to handle small animals, conduct daily rounds with zookeepers, and to clean exhibits and feed animals. If the day is hot, kids can take a break in the mist tent for a gentle, cooling shower.

Maria Mitchell Association Aquarium

28 Washington Street Nantucket, MA, 02554 Phone: 508-228-5387

Open: Seasonally; call for hours.

Satwater and freshwater tank exhibition and a gift shop with unique gifts for all ages. The aquarium is the starting point for marine ecology field trips led by staff members. There is an admission fee.