By Alex Solari, Staff Writer
If you’re looking for something fun to do in your spare time, look no further.
Buttonwood Park Zoo is a quaint little attraction located 10 minutes from campus, with exciting animals and awesome activities throughout the year!
Buttonwood Park Zoo has been a part of New Bedford since 1894, but reopened with major renovations in 2000, according to their website.
The Zoo is home to animals like Asian elephants, coyotes, black bears, and bald eagles.
Kelsey Bettencourt, a junior Crime and Justice Studies major says, “There’s a lot to see in such a small place. They have a wide variety [of animals] to see.”
Although many agree with Bettencourt that the Zoo is great the way it is, they have plans to renovate in the next 12-15 years, and will bring in more exotic animals like jaguars, tigers, and rhinos.
Most of the animals currently at the Zoo will be moved elsewhere, and places like the beloved barnyard will be torn down, according to The Standard-Times.
For now, though, visitors can explore the Massachusetts-based species that currently reside at the Zoo.
General admission is the low price of $6 for New Bedford students and $8 for non-resident students.
Even without the jaguars and tigers, I can assure you that spending a few hours at this zoo is always a fun time.
Recently, the Zoo saved a coyote named Cliff who would have otherwise been euthanized, according to FUN 107.
They have saved many animals in the past, including Ruth the elephant and Cody the coyote. Regardless of what animals end up at the Zoo, they will always be committed to helping animals in need.
Nikki Gregory, a junior Mechanical Engineering student who lives in New Bedford says that “Buttonwood Park Zoo is a super warm and welcoming environment and I’m glad it’s part of my home.”
Liberty Heyes, a junior Photography student agrees, saying “Buttonwood is a small local zoo that I believe really cares about their animals.”
In addition to their animal exhibits, the Zoo hosts various events throughout the year, including their annual Boo at the Zoo and the new HOWL event, here for the Halloween season.
HOWL is a new event this year for people 21 and older.
There will be street performers, animal encounters, live music, cocktails, and food trucks at the Zoo.
The event will take place on Thursday, October 27, with a $30 admission fee that will benefit the Zoo’s animal care, education, and conservation programs. The Zoo asks that you buy tickets online in advance at BPZoo.org/HOWL, since the event is expected to sold out.
There is also Boo at the Zoo, an event that takes place from October 14-16, from the 21st to 23rd, and from the 28th to 30th. While this event is geared mostly towards children, it can still be lots of fun for all ages.
They have a trick or treat trail, a spooky train ride, a hands on bone zone, a Monster Mash Dance Yard, and a Barnyard Maze. This event is $16 for adults and $12 for children.
The Zoo makes great strides to help the conservation of various species, and tries to raise awareness for people to protect the environment.
They do this through projects such as the Butterfly Garden, an exhibit that develops guests’ conservation education by identifying different butterfly species and reminding people to treat the environment respectfully.
Additionally, the Zoo also collects donations from visitors that go to the Buttonwood Park Zoo Animal Ambassador Program, the International Elephant Conservation Fund, and the Atlantic White Shark Conservation.
If you are interested in assisting the Zoo in your spare time, the Zoo is always welcoming volunteers.
The Zoo has an Animal-Care volunteer program that allows people to help care for the animals and assist the animal caretakers.
There are also Education volunteers that help educate guests about the Zoo, animals, and the conversation efforts of the Zoo.
Event volunteers help manage events that help raise funds for the Zoo, and Horticulture volunteers that help tend to the beautiful plants all around the Zoo.
If you’re excited to see some animals, volunteer, or attend events at the zoo, stop by at 425 Hawthorn St. in New Bedford, where they are open 9-5 p.m. everyday! See you there!