The Rogers Williams Park Zoo invited us as guest to visit and experience their many attractions including the seasonal daily camel rides, rock wall climbing, and butterfly exhibit so we could share our experiences with you and let you know what is new at the zoo. Read on and you will want to take the family out to the zoo for a fun-filled day trip.
Roger Williams Park Zoo, one of the oldest in the nation, is Rhode Island’s premier outdoor family and tourist attraction and a leader in conservation efforts undertaken by a zoo of its size. The Zoo, situated in a 40 acre park setting, has received numerous awards for environmental education, and conservation work done locally and around the world, caring for species that without human intervention would face certain extinction. Roger Williams Park Zoo is supported and managed by the Rhode Island Zoological Society and owned by the City of Providence.
Hasbro’s Our Big Backyard
Hasbro’s Our Big Backyard is a new kind of nature play and exploration area for children and their families. It includes Our House, an indoor activity space, and The Nature Swap, a special place to trade items that you’ve collected when out exploring nature. Our Backyard, the ultimate play space, is staffed by specially trained Play Partner volunteers to help you make the most of the “The Drip Drop Water Garden,” “The Sticks & Stones Building Zone,” and “Creativity Corner.” Then explore the nature trail Beyond the Fence and wend your way to the CVS Caremark All Kids Can Treehouse packed with things to touch, hear, smell, and see.
Experience an amazing camel like never before while experts on hand lead you around a track while riding a trained camel. The camel rides are located near the Big Backyard area of the Zoo and operated by Camels Unlimited.
“The camel rides and rock wall give our guests new ways to add a sense of fun and adventure to their Zoo experiences,” said Jeremy Goodman, DVM, the Zoo’s executive director. “And the camel rides provide a direct interaction between people and the animals that studies show can help grow the human-animal bond. This is important to our mission of building a sense of connection with and caring for wildlife and the natural world.” The revenues from both offerings will help to support animal care and continued improvements at the Zoo.
Camel rides are $6 per person. Participants must be three years or older. Tickets for the camel rides will be available 10am to 4:15pm, and the lines close at 4:30.
Marco Polo’s Adventure Trek
Follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo and see some of the animals that Marco Polo may have encountered in his travels including camels, moon bears, snow leopards, red crowned cranes, and red pandas. These animals are found in extreme environments and have extreme adaptations that allow them to survive there.
Probably the cutest animal we saw at the Zoo was the Red Panda, which is neither a panda, raccoon, or cross breed of the two. Maybe it is a live Teddy Bear, but who knows. Whatever it is, it’s darn cute and you must visit Roger Williams Zoo and check them out.
Watch the endangered snow leopard, a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia, as it relaxes on a rock. As of 2003, the size of the global population was estimated at 4,080-6,590 adults.
The Rock Climbing Wall
Challenge your climbing skills on the Zoo’s very own rock wall. The wall is provided by Rock Spot Climbing. This four-sided rock wall has varying degrees of difficulty, from beginner to seasoned climbers, so anyone can try. The rock wall is located in the Wilderness Plaza.
The rock wall costs an additional $5 per person. Participants for must be three years or older. Rock wall climbers must have close-toed shoes, and waivers must be filled out prior to climbing the rock wall. Participants ages 17 and younger must have their waiver completed and signed by a parent or legal guardian. Tickets will be available 10am to 4:15pm, and the lines will close at 4:30.
The Butterfly Exhibit
Flutterby, the Butterflies in Bloom exhibit, offered daily until September 1st, is located just prior to the Big Backyard area. There is a fee of $3 per person (no age restrictions; children 3 and older must be ticketed) to view the exhibit.
This exhibit lets attendees mingle with butterflies inside the Zoo’s magnificent landscaped greenhouse filled with hundreds of free-flying native North American butterflies. Both butterfly and gardening enthusiasts will find this experience delightful, gaining more appreciation for some of our earth’s most imperiled species – butterflies.
Inside the Exhibit you will find Monarch, Red Admiral, Black Swallowtail and Painted Lady butterflies.
These are the Monarch butterflies we saw in the Flutterby exhibit. They are beautiful and super colorful.
Please be kind to our winged friends. They tend to land on your shoulder, your hair, or your clothing. Make sure you watch your step because some butterflies are ending up as causalities because guests step on them.
The Zoo offers several themed exhibits, each with their own animals.
Alex and Ani Farmyard
The new Alex and Ani Farmyard exhibit will open in two phases, which will include a new walk-through barn that is open to the public, and interactive features like play spaces, a giant tractor that kids can climb on, and a contact yard where people can touch and feed various farm animals. Animals included in the new Farmyard will be three species of goats, Texel sheep, alpacas, Guinea hogs, silver fox rabbits, and Willy the miniature donkey.
Australasia features the unique wildlife and culture of New Guinea, Indonesia and Australia. From this unique corner of the world you’ll see what a side-necked turtles, emu, listen to the laughing kookaburra, and observe gregarious gibbons. See up close kangaroos and wallabies as you walk through Outback Trail exhibit. Other animals include: babirusa, binturong, Chinese alligator, northern tree shrew, and Matschie’s tree kangaroo.
Fabric of Africa
The Fabric of Africa is like being “on safari” watching zebras, wildebeests, aoudads, wild dogs and more in action. Watch elephants bathing in a waterhole and Masai giraffes reaching high for leafy treats at the Robert F. Stoico / FIRSTFED Charitable Foundation Jambo Junction. Inside the Textron Elephant & Giraffe Pavilion you will learn how zookeepers care for these amazing animals.
Alex and Ani Farmyard
The new Alex and Ani Farmyard exhibit will open in two phases, which will include a new walkthrough barn that is open to the public, and interactive features like play spaces, a giant tractor that kids can climb on, and a contact yard where people can touch and feed various farm animals. Animals included in the new Farmyard will be three species of goats, Texel sheep, alpacas, Guinea hogs, silver fox rabbits, and Willy the miniature donkey.
Discover some of the most amazing creatures that call our continent home. See how harbor seals swim, marvel at the majestic bald eagle, watch bison graze, see if you can spot the red wolf, peer at the playful river otter and more!
Tropical America Rhode Island’s only “rainforest” with a lush atmosphere, here you will see with free-roaming monkeys (cotton-top tamarins), golden lion tamarins; white-faced saki monkeys; flamingoes; bats; an anaconda, one of nature’s most unusual creatures; the giant anteater and more.
Feinstein Junior Scholar Wetlands Trail
The Wetlands Trail is a ¼ mile walking path through Rhode Island’s most endangered habitat, the wetlands. Enjoy the sites of native wildlife including great blue herons, Canada geese, wood ducks, and turtles. Interactive stations include a cedar bird blind, artists’ easels, and plant identification signs.
The Zoo is open from 10am to 5pm April through September, and 10 am to 4 pm October through March. The last admission is one half hour before closing.
Before you leave the area, check out the Swan Pedal Boats at the Roger Williams Park. Another kid favorite.