We found our "inner child" at The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center in Springfield, Massachusett. Celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2019, the Zoo and its special "residents" will charm and enrich your lives, they did ours! When the first resident we met was Mikey, a Poitou Donkey, who ran to greet us, we were instantly enchanted, and it just kept getting better and better.
Debra C. Argen getting directions to tour the zoo
The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center is located on 4.5 acres inside the lush and attractive 735-acre Forest Park and is home to 180 special animals with stories that will touch your heart. Their focus is on education, and well as to rescue, rehabilitate, and provide "forever homes" for older animals that other zoos can no longer keep.
We visited the zoo on June 15, 2019, which was a gorgeous blue-sky late Spring day and immediately fell in love with the "residents." We would like to introduce you to a few of the very special animals we met during our visit, many of which were rescued, endangered, or in need of a "forever home."
Meet A Few of the Special Residents
Mikey - Poitou Donkey
The first "resident" we met was Mikey, a very friendly Poitou Donkey. Interesting to note about Poitou Donkeys is that they were originally bred in France as pack animals. They are now on the critically endangered list.
Montana - Bobcat
Montana is a beautiful bobcat who was a former pet in a Connecticut home whose owners had her declawed. When authorities removed her from the home, she was un-releasableas without her claws she could not survive in the wild, climb trees or defend herself, coupled with her trust of humans. She found a wonderful, new home at the zoo.
Cherry - Opossum
Cherry is an adorable Opossum who is a little over 1-year old and loves to eat cherries. She is a sweet girl who came to live at the zoo as a tiny joey. Opossums are marsupials and Cherry and her siblings were inside their mother's pouch when their mother was attacked by another animal. Although the others were fine and releasable, Cherry was injured during the attack and one of her legs had to be amputated making her un-releasable into the wild. She was rescued and has called the zoo home for the past year.
VIDEO- Stephanie Hodges, Guest Relations Manager, introduces adorable Cherry the Opossum and talks about why Opossums are good for the environment - https://youtu.be/wDv244JcQuM
Max - Dromedary Camel
Max, a Dromedary Camel (one hump) is a gentle giant who loves grain cones, which are ice cream "cake" cones filled with grain available for purchase in the giftshop. (Debra) As a small child, my parents took to me many zoos and animal parks and I always loved feeding and interacting with the animals. There are countless photos of me feeding baby sheep, goats, and other adorable animals. As an adult, Edward and I still enjoy visiting zoos wherever we travel. We especially enjoyed interacting and feeding Max and his alpaca friends grain cones, which were ice cream "cake" cones filled with healthy grains.
VIDEO- Debra C. Argen feeding Max the Dromedary Camel - https://youtu.be/K2kIb_o-7U0
Baba and Zoe chilling out - Black-Handed Spider Monkey
Baba is the oldest Black-Handed Spider Monkey living in captivity. He is 37 years old, which in human years would be over 100 years old. Baba came from a zoo in Virginia to breed with Zoe. So far, the newlyweds have not had an offspring.
Orion and Aurora are Timber Wolves who are brother sister siblings who have called the zoo home since they were pups in 2008.
Poncho - Blue and Gold Macaw
Poncho s a Blue and Gold Macaw, and is something of a celebrity, appearing regularly on television, and visiting the community for educational purposes. As far as we know, he is the only macaw to have his own email box. If you would like to write to Poncho, his email is: www.forestparkzoo.org/programs/ponchosmailbox
We hoped you enjoyed meeting a just a few of the many wonderful animals and learning their stories until you can personally visit The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center. The zoo is the perfect family or adult adventure as it will bring out the inner child in you. Plan on spending a couple of hours there to fully experience the zoo.
Until next time, keep enjoying traveling!
Edward F. Nesta and Max sharing lunch
About the Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center
"The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center is a non-profit organization governed by the Forest Park Zoological Society. Situated in Forest Park, a 735-acre woodland park in Springfield, The Zoo features exotic and indigenous animals representing a large variety of species found throughout the world and in North America."
"The Zoo is dedicated to wildlife education, offers a variety of educational programs and special events for children and adults. Zoo On The Go, Guided Tours and Discovery Programs can be adapted to all age groups and interests.With different events almost every weekend, The Zoo allows guests of all ages to explore multiple aspects of science while having fun. Animal Tales in Julyand August introduces the mystery and excitement of nature through literature.Zoo Camp, during both winter and summer school vacations all children ages 6-13 to explore nature, discover wildlife and meet exotic creatures."
"See you at The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center"
The Forest Park Zoo is open daily from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm weather permitting. Please check their website or Facebook page for up-to-date information regarding hours of operation. Admission: Adults: $10, Seniors/Military: $7,Children: $5 (ages 1 - 12), Children: Free (under 1 year).
The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center
293 Sumner Avenue
Sringfield, Massachusetts 01109
Read more about Springfield, Massachusetts in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs' Recipes, Spas, and Adventures sections.
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Important Travel Information:
Springfield, Massachusetts was settled in 1636 and incorporated as a city in 1852, it is the third largest city in Massachusetts and located in the Western region of the state. Springfield is conveniently located (see driving distances below) making it a perfect day trip, weekend trip, or anytime getaway.
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For more information on the Springfield, Massachusetts area please visit the Western Mass Tourism Website: https://explorewesternmass.com/or call them at: 1-413-787-1548.
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