302 Sumner Avenue, Springfield, MA 413-733-2251
Last summer when we visited the Springfield Science Museum I learned that there is also a zoo near by. So when the hubby suggested a trip to the Zoo in Forest Park in Springfield, MA as a Mother’s Day activity I was completely on board. Springfield is just over the Massachusetts border so it makes for an easy day trip from Connecticut. It’s only an hour away from me in central CT.
Since this was a special Mother’s Day activity for me, I decided to sit back and enjoy the day without any planning. I had no idea what to expect, and being a little unprepared meant that I forgot to load the stroller into the car! Thankfully the zoo is small in size (smaller than Beardsley) so my 2-year-old was very comfortable (and excited) to walk along on his own. If you’re more prepared than me (you obviously are if you’re reading this) bring along the stroller, just in case!
The zoo is located in Forest Park. It’s a giant park with beautiful grounds full of sport fields, flower gardens, skating rink, pool, splash pad, and of course the zoo. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy before or after your trip to the zoo.
There is a fee to park – $3 for MA residents, $5 for out of state vehicles. There is a parking lot only a short distance away from the entrance to the zoo. There are also a limited number of parking spaces next to the zoo playground in front of the zoo.
Weekdays: 10 am – 4 pm
Weekends: 10 am – 5 pm
The 2016 pricing for admission is $9 adults, $7 seniors, $6 kids ages 5-12, $3.75 ages 1-4. There is an additional fee to ride the zoo train.
TIP: You can save money with a valid AAA card. Groupon also has occasional deals, so be sure to check them out before you go.
Outside food is not permitted inside of the zoo. There are picnic tables and public restrooms available outside of the zoo.
The zoo is full of open-air exhibits with a wide array of animals ranging from monkeys, a leopard, kangaroos, and wolves to barnyard animals in a petting zoo. It’s a smaller zoo but it still offers a great variety of exotic and domestic animals. I liked how close we were able to get to the cages and animals. There were also several staff members around the zoo featuring different animals. We were able to get a closer look at the animal and ask questions.
On the special Mother’s Day weekend, the zoo was spotlighting the new babies born at the zoo. The cages that had new babies were decorated with a special delivery stork.
The zoo was filled with facts about the animals on the property.
In the center of the zoo is a red barn filled with barnyard animals that can be pet and fed grain. There is food available for purchase and hand sanitizer to clean up after. My kids loved feeding the goats.
Inside of the barn is a dark room filled with reptiles, baby chicks, and bats. We were able to touch a snake and lizard that one of the zoo workers was holding.
There is a special zoo train that goes around the Forest Park property. It’s available Wednesday – Sunday for an additional fee. Unfortunately the train needed to be serviced just before we boarded so we missed our chance. We’ll have to catch it next time.
Adjacent to the zoo entrance and train pickup is the Forest Park Zoo playground. It’s the perfect spot for little ones to run around before or after their trip to the zoo. There are several benches for parents to relax and keep an eye on their children.
We had a wonderful time at Forest Park Zoo. I loved how small and intimate the zoo felt without compromising the quality of the animals. We were able to get really close to some unique animals. I would definitely recommend a day trip to the zoo and to Forest Park.