The weather has been beyond amazing lately and we couldn't wait for a sunny weekend so that we could take our long awaited family visit to the Franklin Park Zoo! London and I took a zoo trip last summer but this time, Chris was able to join us, so we were extra excited! FPZ is a little oasis and escape that be found right in Boston. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and the paved pathways are wide for exploration (and for strollers ;)
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...
My suggestion would be to park at the Zebra Entrance of the zoo for direct access to "Nature's Neighborhood," the newly renovated Children's Zoo! Lo is almost two years old (as opposed to 14-months during our last visit) so she was much more engaged and interactive! We had anticipated that "Nature's Neighborhood" would be a crowd pleaser, and we were right! We spent about three hours total at the zoo and I think she could have stayed right there the entire time. It is designed beautifully, allowing children to explore and discover the different ecosystems or "neighborhoods," including Grasslands, Woodlands, Wetlands, and Thicket. We saw some "neighbors" roaming around their natural habitats like red pandas, muntjacs, prairie dogs, ducks, cranes, and other birds!
More things around "the neighborhood" that London loved...
There's a giant eagle's nest built around an oak tree providing a "birds eye" view of the zoo and kids can also take the winding slide all the way down from inside the nest (London loved it!). There is a grass maze, bamboo climber, two turtle ponds, and caves to explore or sneak a closer look at the prairie dogs as they pop up out of their holes. London also enjoyed "hopping like a bunny" through the thicket and climbing on the rock structures near the oak tree. I love how interactive Nature's Neighborhood is! It's definitely a place that kids of all ages (and adults!) can have fun while learning about some of the cutest animals at the zoo!
A few more places to hit...
Franklin Farm is located adjacent to Nature's Neighborhood and that seems to be another crowd favorite for the little ones. There are donkeys, chickens, pigs, goats, and minature horses - all sure to make your kiddos squeal with delight! Kalahari Kingdom features the lions, in all their glory! Lo has a thing with beards (since her Daddy has one) so she thought the lion had a pretty cool "beard," a.k.a mane! Gorillas, hippos, lemurs, and anteaters are just a few of the animals you'll see in the Tropical Forest exhibit...another one of London's favorites! There are five glass viewing stations just to see the gorillas! You'll see dozens of birds swooping through and hear the swooshing sound of the waterfall as you make your way through the beautiful rainforest. (Don't forget to stop for a photo with the gorilla statue located outside!) If you can make it past the 10,000 square foot playground, you'll run into the Giraffe Savannah to sneak a peek at the giraffes and zebras roaming about.
Each time we visit the zoo, we discover something new and get to watch Lo discover new things as well. It's the perfect place to let your children explore let their imaginations run wild! We had such an amazing time and can't wait to go back!
If you're planning a trip to the zoo with kiddos, here are a few tips to make life easier...
- As I mentioned above, there are a few parking lots, but I HIGHLY recommend parking at the "Zebra Entrance" (between Franklin Park Rd. and Blue Hill Ave.) for easy access to the Children's Zoo, Franklin Farm + the playground
- Grab a map! Trust me on this one ... you'll reference this MANY times
- There are multiple restroom locations (four to be exact), ALL which have changing stations
- Bring your own snacks, drinks, and/or lunch for a picnic on-site
- Forget something? Hit the Gift Shop for sunscreen, first aid needs, umbrellas, etc.
- HAVE FUN! :)
*Don't forget to check your local library for discounted passes*