Southwick’s Zoo Guide & Helpful Tips

Southwick's Petting Zoo

Last year my family and I discovered what we believe to be the best zoo in New England – Southwick’s Zoo! Southwick’s Zoo is located in Mendon, MA, about 45 minutes from Providence. It is a little further from us than other zoos in our area but totally worth the drive. They have an amazing variety of animals and there’s just so much to do! You could very easily spend the whole day there, which is what we do a few times a year.


One of my boys’ favorite parts of the zoo is the petting zoo area. There you can get up close and personal with the goats. There are feeding stations where you can purchase a handful of food for the goats for .50. You could also purchase a cup of goat food at the gift shop for $2, which is what we do since the boys always want to spend a ton of time in there and it seems to be a better deal. Do be careful for the larger goats. They can get pretty rowdy and have a tendency to knock over smaller children while trying to steal food from their hands! It can definitely get a little crazy in there but the kids love it.

Southwick's petting zoo animalsIf you want a little more of a laid back experience feeding the animals, head over to the 35 acre Deer Forest! Again, there are feeding stations inside the deer forest where you can get a handful of food for the deer for .50. Alternatively, you can purchase cups of deer food for $2 at the vendor cart located near the giraffes. Again, that is what we do. The deer forest is my favorite part of Southwick Zoo. Walking through the forest and seeing the deer in their natural habitat is so peaceful. Some of the deer are a bit skittish and keep their distance but most of them walk right up to you and eat straight from your hand. I never knew that a deer’s antlers felt like velvet until last year. It’s a pretty amazing experience to be right there with them. Just be sure to put on bug spray before entering the deer forest! We didn’t the first time we visited and we definitely learned our lesson. My favorite bug spray is Cutter All Family Insect Repellant –


Southwick’s Zoo also offers animal rides! Recently my two year old rode on an elephant! How cool is that!? He couldn’t stop talking about it for days! My 4yr old was too afraid to ride the elephant but he did pet her and that was enough for him. The elephant rides were $5/person. Very reasonable! They also offer pony and camel rides as well as animal encounters. For an additional fee you can get some one on one time with either the giraffes or rhinos. We have not yet done this but maybe next time!

On top of all that, Southwick’s Zoo puts on animals shows and presentations to educate their visitors on environmental issues including animal ecology, endangered species, and threatened habitats.

In the middle of the zoo, there is a really great playground. They definitely placed the playground in the perfect spot. After walking through the first half of the zoo and stopping at all the exhibits, a free play area where the kids can run around freely is needed! It resets them and gets them ready for the second half of the zoo.

Southwick's Zoo Train Ride

As if that isn’t enough to do in one day, there is a whole kiddie ride area! Of course, this is also a favorite for my boys. You need one ticket to get on each kiddie ride. Tickets cost $2.75. There’s also a train ride ($5/person) and a SkyFari sky ride ($5/person). My boys LOVED the train ride, though my youngest was disappointed that the driver didn’t shout “All Aboard!”.

Rides at Southwick's Zoo

Southwick’s Zoo’s tagline is “More than a zoo… It’s an ADVENTURE!” and that pretty much sums up every trip we’ve taken there. It’s always an adventure and definitely one you should take your family on! I’m already looking forward to our next zoo trip!