A Southwick Zoo Review

We recently went to the Southwick Zoo in Mendon MA. My family has never been, and I mean never. As in I never even went as a kid, let alone bringing my own kids. So one Sunday not long ago, my whole family went: my parents, my brothers and sister-in-laws, nephews, nieces and my two kids. It was a big group.


Southwick does have a Fun Pak where you can get group tickets for less than a single ticket. However, for our group, we really didn't save any money with it. Each of the tickets for our group was $16. Then if we wanted an unlimited ride pack, it was another $16 per person. However, you could get a single combo ticket for $32, so we really didn't save much cash by going as a group. If you have a group of 16+ people, then it would be $12 person, plus the $16 for the unlimited mechanical rides so you would save a bit that way. (Gather up a big playgroup and relatives!) The group ticket bundle was still the best option for us, as not every one in the party wanted or needed ride admissions, so it worked out for most everyone in the group. Do your research online to determine in advance which ticket is right for your situation so see if there is any savings. Also check the site for printable coupons. Then check the height of your children to see if they rides they qualify for, are enough to justify the cost.

Staff and Cleanliness: 

The staff we interacted with throughout the day were friendly and pleasant. They were also very knowledgable about the animals and the organization as a whole. Whether we were in the petting zoo, listening to one of the animal presentations, or entering one of the rides, the staff was great. The facilities were nice. The bathrooms were mostly in trailers, but they were really nice. Pretty clean too, on the day we were there. Then there were plenty of hand sanitizing stations around, which I appreciated as a Mom! The only thing I would suggest staff wise, is having an entrance for people who already had tickets. The lines were long (as people figured out which ticket was best for them) so it would be great, in addition to the member entrance, to have an entrance for people who bought their tickets in advance. If there was a line/entrance like it, I never saw it.


The Animals were varied and unique. I have to say, I enjoyed the variety of animals. There was something for everyone to enjoy, and they seemed well cared for and happy. The only animal I saw that did not seem happy was an elephant, but I think it had to do more about the elephant's history. There were lots of informational plaques outside each exhibit with really interesting facts. I usually skim over them, but these were well done. I would have liked to have learned more about where the animals came from (rescued?) but that is a personal thing. Our family loved seeing the Deer Forest. Granted, I see deer running around our neighborhood on a pretty regular basis, but it was a nice New England opportunity to get up and close with them, which I don't know where else you can do that. There is a place to feed them and then you can walk through the Deer Forest where you can be steps away from them. One kept following us, but when we turned around, it turned around, as if to say, 'I wasn't following you!' My daughter loved the Goat petting area. {I had fun myself!}


The Skyline Ride was amazing and, in my opinion, worth the extra money per person. The train ride was not worth the cost according to most everyone in our group. We did not partake in any of the animal rides (horse, camel or elephant) so I cannot weigh in on that, but some of the kids in our group did enjoy the few mechanical rides. There are not many, but they are unique and the 3 year old and 5 year old in the group (tall enough to be on them) really enjoyed them! It worked out that they had unlimited ride wristbands, as they wanted to each go on them at couple of times. I liked how it was varied, the staff pleasant, and not too crowded, even for a summer weekend. Additionals: There are some interesting fundraising opportunies. There is a Gala every year and even membership and fund support options that might be interesting for families. There are even some musical acts throughout the season that you might want to note. All the details can be found on the Southwick Zoo's website. Plus, there is a camp at the Zoo. If you have pre-teens and teen, it is definitely something to look into if your child loves animals or if you are looking for an interesting summer experience.

Overall Thoughts:

Everyone from a 3 year old to a 69 year old enjoyed the Southwick Zoo. However, it is a lot to pay for admission so that may be a tough factor for families. The average cost is $100-150 for the day. I love how the cost does go to support the feeding, health care, infrastructure, and the winter housing for all the animals, but it can be hard financially for many families. If there are Groupon deals or pre-season deals, then it could help those that need a little help to attend. However, on the flip side, I loved how they allowed families to be able to pack their own snacks and lunch to bring into the Zoo. Since it is an outdoor space, it should suit many families with allergies, while enabling families to bring food suitable for their personal dietary needs and budgets!

Image Credit: filo by Getty Images Signature via Canva.com. 

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