photo credit: Roger Williams Park Zoo

Roger Williams Park Zoo Celebrates 150th Birthday

In 1872, Ulysses Grant was president; there were 37 states in the union; the U.S. Patent Office issued the first patent; the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in New York City; suffragette Susan B. Anthony was arrested by a U.S. Deputy Marshal and charged with illegally voting and a portion of Roger Williams Park was officially designated as the Roger Williams Park Zoo. One hundred and fifty years later, the Zoo is the third oldest in the United States.

What started as a scattered collection of small animals purely for entertainment has today evolved into one of our region’s foremost centers for conservation and environmental education. In 1986, Zoo became the first zoo in New England to earn accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In 2018, the Zoo was humane certified by American Humane.

2022 will be filled with special activities and fun as the Roger Williams Park Zoo celebrates its 150th birthday.

April 1-3 Kick-Off Weekend This is not an April Fool’s Joke! 

  • April 1– Media Event. Select dignitaries and others are invited to watch as a time capsule is buried beneath The Sentinel Dog.
  • April 2 – Party for the Planet and meet community friends, enjoy fun activities, and animal enrichment. Plus, it is Free Saturday for Providence City residents**
  • April 3– Visitors will enjoy $1.50 admission, entertainment and more surprises. Watch how our animals celebrate the day with birthday treats, we couldn’t leave them out of the party.   (Non-members require advance tickets, available online only and capacity may be limited.  Tickets will not be sold on-site)

What else is happening in the Zoo:

  • Timeline throughout the Zoo. The Zoo’s timeline will be shown through the zoo showing photos and sharing milestones from through the years.
  • Surprises daily. One guest per day, for 150 days, will win a grab bag filled with commemorative goodies and other treats starting on April 1. And follow us on social media for contests and ticket giveaways.
  • Photo opportunities throughout. Smile when you take a photo with Roger the Red Panda and a birthday cake. Look for other historic markers that will make you say “cheese.” 
  • Zoobilee returns in 2022. Zoobilee! Feast with the Beast returns to celebrate its 30th year. Zoobilee is the Zoo’s largest single-night fundraiser featuring fine fare from dozens of the area’s best restaurants and caterers. Guests enjoy fabulous entertainment, including live music and dancing and other fun surprises! This is an adults-only evening event (21+)
  • See us float. The Zoo’s special 150th edition float will join in several parades this summer.  Come out and cheer us on as we make our way through the various processions:
    • Providence St. Patrick’s Day Parade
      • Saturday, March 19th
    • Gaspee Days Parade
      • Saturday, June 11th                  
    • Bristol Fourth of July Parade-
      • Monday, July 4th
  • And our Spectaculars will be even more Spectacular
    • Asian Lantern Spectacular
      • April 13-July 4 (Wednesday-Sunday)                  
    • Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular Presented by Citizens
      • September 29-October 31
    • Holiday Lights Spectacular
      • November 25-January 1 (Select nights)

The Zoo is open every day except Saturday, June 25, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Last entry at noon August 27, 2022.

Zoo Hours: April 1– October 10, 9 am – 4 pm;  October 11 – March 31, 10 am – 4 pm. The last admission is a half-hour before closing.   

All tickets must be purchased in advance online at TICKETS.

More historical, education and conservation information and photos can be found at:   (Photo credit: Courtesy of the Roger Williams Park Zoo)

**The first Saturday of every month is free to residents of the City of Providence (not East or North Providence).  A valid ID and proof of residency must be shown at the ticket window. Acceptable forms of identification or residency include a driver’s license, State issued ID, Providence Municipal IDs, lease agreement, utility bill, etc.



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