Zoo History and Facts
The Buttonwood Park Zoo was established in 1894 and is the 12th oldest zoo in the United States.
Following a complete renovation, the Zoo reopened in August of 2000 with new habitats highlighting native New England wildlife, rare or heritage domestics breeds and long-time residents Asian elephants Emily and Ruth.
In 2003, the Zoo became nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
In the AZA’s 2003 accreditation report, the team of zoo professionals who visited the Zoo called Buttonwood Park Zoo “one of the finest small zoos in the United States”.
Since its inception in 2015, the Buttonwood Park Zoo has donated over $70,000 to benefit local and global conservation initiatives through its Conservation Donation Program. The Zoo is involved in a number of conservation and research projects of regional, national and international scope involving endangered and threatened species.
In the Summer of 2016, a new master plan was unveiled to completely redevelop the Zoo over the next 12 – 15 years. The redeveloped Zoo will introduce guests to more than 50 endangered and threatened species in habitats mirroring their natural environments.
Rainforests, Rivers & Reefs, a conservation-based center focused on preserving important species and the habitats they call home, opened in 2017. Since its opening, there have been numerous first time births of several small, endangered primate species.
Charlie’s Nature Play, a special area dedicated to reconnecting children and families to nature through meaningful unstructured play, opened in 2018.
In 2019, Buttonwood Park Zoo celebrated its 125th Anniversary and unveiled its first ever Red Panda habitat!
The Zoo is open year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
The Buttonwood Park Zoological Society (BPZS) is a private, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that supports the Zoo by providing funding for educational programming and organizing family events for the community. BPZS funds special programs and events for everyone to enjoy including: Boo at the Zoo, Party for the Planet, ZooCrew, Smooth Sailing into Kindergarten, Red, White & Brew, Wildlife Education Series and a variety of other educational, family and adult focused events.
Come visit the Buttonwood Zoo and experience the many wonders!