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A visitor’s guide to Roger Williams Park Zoo

Roger Williams Park Zoo is one of the many hidden gems you’ll find in Providence, RI. Located right off the highway, the zoo is designed so creatively that you won’t even realize how close you are to the city. They have successfully constructed the zoo to make you feel as though you are in the wilderness with their many animal attractions.

The third oldest zoo in the country, Roger Williams Park Zoo is still a bit old-fashioned despite the millions of dollars spent on recent renovations. The zoo has gone through many physical changes over the past few years and, despite the on-going construction, looks better than ever.

Zoo enthusiasts were disappointed over past years with the loss of the zoo’s cheetah due to sickness. They were also upset when the hugely popular polar bear display, which had been a main attraction for many years, was closed down because the polar bears simply outgrew it. They had to be shipped out to better accommodations at another zoo while the zoo in Providence designs a bigger and better display for the fury white guys.

In the meantime though, zoo visitors can visit the many attractions still available at the zoo, some of which have been totally revamped and renewed. The new deluxe elephant habitat is at least twice the size of the old one. It comes complete with indoor and outdoor viewing areas of the elephants. There are many fantastic photo opportunities as the elephants romp around outside playing with their toys and cooling off in their special ‘full immersion’ swimming pool. They also have a special birthing area built with video cameras on the ready with hopes of a baby elephant being born sometime in the near future.

Speaking of babies, right next to the elephant display is the giraffe area complete with momma giraffe, daddy giraffe, and newly born baby giraffe. It may just be a baby but it’s already well over 8 feet tall. Curious and shy, it is one of the main attractions at the zoo today. Inside the giraffe habitat you can watch a video of the miracle birth of the baby giraffe. Outside you’ll be able to get close up pictures of all the giraffes as they gracefully walk around eating from the trees.

Roger Williams Park Zoo is an amazing and affordable attraction. You’ll quickly spend hours not only viewing the elephants and giraffes, but a whole menagerie of interesting animals on the ‘African Safari’ walk with great views of zebras and wildebeests. The ‘Marco Polo Trail’ will offer you some great experiences with snow leopards, moon bears, red pandas, and camels. The ‘Tropical America Building’ is a virtual indoor rainforest with a canopy walkway giving you two levels of viewing spots for monkeys, bats, sloths, porcupines and many more animals. And also not to be missed is the ‘Australasia’ area of the zoo with animals from down under like kangaroos, kookaburra, emus, and the wallabies who have just welcomed their newest member, baby ‘Vincent’.

The zoo also has many other great attractions and events throughout the year. The ‘Feinstein Junior Scholar Wetlands Trail’ is a pleasant walk through a huge wetlands area created to give animals like geese, herons, turtles, and ducks a place to live and be observed. It’s hard to believe that animals of this type are living in the open so close to the city. It’s a nice getaway from the reality of the city as you walk down the serene and natural pathways. ‘Zoobilee’ is a fun night time event that takes place annually with catered foods from as many as 40 of the area’s best restaurants. They also have live performers and musicians, auctions, cocktails, and even a special feeding event with some of the animals. Zoobilee’ is always a fun and exciting fund-raiser event for the zoo. But on most years, including this year, in the month of October the zoo opens its doors at night for an event called the ‘Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular’. For a nominal price you and the family can walk along a path of hundreds of artistically carved jack-o-lanterns, glowing in the darkness and carved into the likeness of many local and national celebrities; truly an original sight to see.

The locals living in Providence have known about Roger Williams Park Zoo their whole lives often visiting with the family or on school trips. But anyone visiting the Rhode Island area should definitely put Roger Williams Park Zoo on their list of places to see. It is truly a zoo that is designed the way zoos should be designed. A larger than life attraction you must see when touring the country’s smallest state.