Friday, August 6, 2010

Outing Report: Southwick Zoo

Rich and I brought the girls to the Southwick Zoo in Mendon, Massachusetts on Sunday. In addition to providing you with a "regular" blog post, I thought I would do kind of an outing report and provide a little bit more detail for those readers who may be interested in visiting this zoo and for those folks who google "Southwick Zoo" and find themselves here. And oddly enough, the name of the zoo is really "Southwick's Zoo" or "Southwick's Wild Animal Farm" but everyone I know calls it Southwick Zoo.

As a general statement, an outing here can be a bit pricey, especially for those with large families.

And don't mind me throwing in some pictures, such as Anna before we left the house for the zoo.


Trust me, she was happy!


Regular admission is as follows:

Adult - $18.75

Child (3 to 12 years) - $12.75

So here's a tip - if you go to the Southwick Zoo's website, there is a printable coupon for $2 off regular admission. This same coupon was availabe last summer as well so as far as I know, it is not time sensitive.

AAA members also receive a discount but it is the same as the coupon and the zoo will not allow you to combine offers.

We paid $66 for admission.


They do have packages, annual passes, etc. available but I am viewing this from the perspective of a family who will only visit the zoo once or twice a year.

Now, let's compare Southwick's admission to some other zoos.

Regular admission to Roger Williams Zoo in Providence is:

Adult - $12
Child (3 to 12 years) - $6

Admission for our family would be $42.

Regular admission to Franklin Park Zoo in Boston is:

Adult - $14
Child (2 to 12 years old) - $8

Admission for our family would be $52.

So as you can see, Southwick is the most expensive in terms of admission prices.


You are allowed to bring food and non-alcoholic beverages into Southwick Zoo. In addition, there are picnic tables galore spread throughout the zoo. We decided to bring a "picnic" lunch and water, soda, juice boxes in a small, soft cooler.


If we had decided to purchase lunch, here's what it would have cost us:

Hamburger - $4.00
Cheeseburger - $4.50
3 Hotdogs at $2.50 each - $7.50
Onion Rings - $4.00
3 orders of French Fries at $4.00 each - $12.00

That's a grand total of $32 just for food. We haven't even ordered drinks yet!

We did stop at the ice cream hut for a snack, mainly because Mommy wanted an ice cream cone. They have soft serve as well as traditional ice cream. The signs were a bit deceiving in that it looked like they only had one size. Rich asked if they had kiddie soft serve cones and they said that they did so that is what we purchased for the girls. Rich and I each had their standard size.


We spent $11 buying ice cream.


The zoo offers five mechanical kiddie rides, one of which is a very small carousel. Of course, you have to buy additional tickets in order to use the rides. You need two tickets per kid per ride. The tickets are $1.25 each. However, if you buy them in bulk or if you purchase a special plan with your zoo admission, the cost will be less.

We spent $18 on a block of 18 tickets. This allowed the girls to each go on three rides.


The first was the bear ride, which the girls LOVED.


Then we rode the carousel. I have no pictures of that as Rich and I had to stand on it with the girls and ensure that they didn't fall off. Okay, now time for a funny/sad story. We had walked up to the carousel while it was running so the girls were standing there watching the other kids ride. Allie announced that she wanted to ride on the giraffe.

There was a family with two little ones standing by the gate waiting for the next turn. Another family with a little boy walked up and stood behind them so I suggested to Rich that we stand in line behind them. Within a minute of us standing there, a longish line formed behind us. All of a sudden, this chubby girl of about 7 or 8 (I'm really bad at guessing ages) walks up and stands right in front of us and announces to a mother I don't see, "I'm going on the carousel. I'm gonna ride on the giraffe."

Well, Allie looks up at me and says in this little, sad voice, "But Mommy, I thought I was going to ride on the giraffe." The girl looks at us and says, "The giraffe is my favorite."

I quickly accessed the situation. Including the line cutter, there were four kids in front of us. There were two giraffes. I didn't think that the giraffes were that desirable because they are stationary. My plan of attack was to rush Allie to the giraffe furthest from the entrance.

Allie was successful in claiming a giraffe and had a great time. Now, here's the sad part. After the ride had started, I was checking out the other kids and I noticed that the chubby girl was sitting on the sleigh thing. I had seen her at the other giraffe when we were loading the girls onto their animals of choice so I couldn't figure out why she was sitting in the sleigh instead of on the giraffe.

The only thing I can think of is that she couldn't get up onto the giraffe (there were no saddle foot thingies) and all the other animals were taken so she had to go to the sleigh. I did feel bad that her mother, who appeared to have either medical problems or was just overweight, had to sit on a bench away from the ride instead of helping her daughter climb up onto the giraffe.

The last ride for the girls was the corvette ride. Unfortunately, the man operating this ride resembled Santa and the girls are still afraid of Santa.

There's Santa over there in the orange shirt.


Allie, who was sitting on the outside seat of the car, was just a teensy bit afraid of Santa. She decided that if she sat very still and looked the other way, maybe Santa wouldn't see her.


I didn't get the best pictures of the girls on this ride (didn't have time to change to a faster lens) but last night, Rich posted a video clip on his blog of the girls on this ride. Check it out here.


The zoo is very large and almost country like. Some of the pathways are dirt and there is a lot of walking required between exhibits. Not an outrageous amount but definitely more than that of a "city" zoo. Most of the "must see" animals were nowhere to be found. The elephant died last week and I don't know if they have/had more than one because we didn't see any at all. The tigers were hiding in the shade and the lion was a big tuft of fur in the tall grass.

We did see a lot of other animals though so all was good.

Ask Allie what she thinks of the rhino.


"His poo poo is stinky."

Here are the girls yelling at the turtles to wake up.


Other Stuff

There is a large playground inside the zoo. This can be good or bad. I mention this for those folks whose children will insist on stopping to play there. I would highly suggest locating the playground on the map and avoiding that area until the end of the day if you don't want to waste time there at the beginning of your visit. We made the mistake of going down that path first to see the elephant, tiger and lion exhibits.

The girls flipped out and wanted to play. Allie insisted that Elmo needed to slide down the elephant slide. I was happy to comply but the elephant slide is made of metal and felt like it was 100 degrees because of the hot sun. I wouldn't have minded returning to the playground later but we hadn't planned to spend the entire day there.

Triplet Exhibit

Given that it was a bit crowded and the girls were dressed in nonmatching outfits, I didn't expect to hear too many comments. After we made our way into the zoo, we stopped so that I could use the bathroom. I came out to find the girls still sitting in the wagon and this man, who didn't speak English, standing there staring at them with his young son.

Okay, so there really weren't that many comments but I did overhear the funniest conversation between a mother and her daughter, who was probably about 12 years old. I'm completely guessing the daughter's age and even if they were mother/daughter. They were walking behind us and I didn't want to make eye contact so I couldn't turn around to look at them.

"No, I don't think they are."

"But their hair is all the same. They all have the same pony tails."

"I know but one looks younger than the other two."

Total Cost

When all was said and done, we spent $95 for our zoo visit.


Jamie said...

I LOVE Anna's expression on the 1st photo!

The Power Family said...

Such cute pictures! I can't believe how high the admission is for the zoos there! We're in the St. Louis area, and a have a fabulous zoo that is free! There is a small cost for the train and children's zoo, but we've gone before and not spent a penny!

Mary said...

I am a long time reader, first time commenting. First, I want to say I enjoy your photography, and your writing. You have a beautiful family. The price of zoos in New England is insane.

I live south of Boston, and remember as a child going to the swan boats every year, my daughter who is 21 years old also went and remembers it fondly. Your daughters could feed the ducks and go on the swan boats several times. At their age it is perfect, and a great photo opportunity. I went on their web site to check out prices and it is still reasonable. I copied the below information from the Swan Boat web site.
Schedules and Fares:
----------------------------------------------------------------------The Swan Boats are open seven days per week, weather permitting. We cannot operate on rainy, windy, or extremely hot days.

Tickets are purchased at the Swan Boat dock. No advanced reservations are required.

The Swan Boats driver paddles passengers around the Public Garden Lagoon for a 15 minute peaceful cruise.

Animals (except Seeing eye dogs) are not permitted.

The Swan Boats are wheelchair (non-motorized) accessible.

For a healthy bird population, the Parks Department asks that visitors refrain from feeding the birds.

2010 Season

Saturday, April 17, 2010 to Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hours & Fares

Spring (April to June 20) 10 am to 4 pm
Summer (June 21 to Labor Day) 10 am to 5 pm
Fall (After Labor Day) 12 pm to 4 pm Weekdays
10 am to 4 pm Weekends

Adults $2.75
Children $1.50 age 2 to 15 years)
Seniors $2.00

Another idea for three year olds is the Marshfield Fair. It is at the end of August. We always went when early in the day, more families with young children, and I always stayed away from the carnival end and focused on the farm animals, cows, pigs, baby chicks, rabbits. They usually have special rates depending on the day.

When I saw the price for an outing to the zoo, I had to put my two cents in. I hope you don't mind

Meg said...

The bit about the Santa-guy and the picture of Allie looking away had me laughing out loud! It cracks me up when my girls think we can't see them if they stay still and look the other way. :)

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I was doing some research for our Mothers of Multiples group on things to do in our surrounding area. Until then, I had no idea it could be so expensive to go to the zoo! I liked the way you organized your post...even for those of us who don't live in your area, it was a fun read. Oh, and the Santa-guy ride story - and picture! - is hilarious. :)

JEN said...

Enjoyable post, darling girls!

The Beers Family said...

Check your library for passes to Southwick's next time - I got ours for $11 a piece at the library - would have been $55 for the zoo. Also BEST DAY TO GO - July 4th - we went this year and it was practically empty. So sad about the elephant - I found she did not look happy when we were there in July :(

The library also has lots of great passes for other things too! Children's Museaum etc.

Helen said...

Holy moly that zoo is pricey! Looks like fun though! And is it wrong I was giggling at the whole sitting still and not looking at "santa" thing? lol!

Wendy said...

adorable pictures, especially the Scary Santa ones! And the triplet commentary, omg... they are so obviously triplets! Ninety-five dollars at the zoo?? Holy smokes. I will never whine about the $28 it cost the four of us to go :P

Sarah said...

Cost of living in Mass is so high!

Mary - thanks for reminding me of the swan boats. Maybe b/c Rich and I commute in and out of the city, we never want to make the trip back in on the weekends! It is on our list of things to do with the girls though.

Beers Family - no Southwick Zoo passes at our library :( but they do have some museum passes. :)

I should do a blog post of all free stuff we have found to do in the area!

Karen said...

In case you are interested in going back to Southwick's again this Summer, they have a "Families with Multiples Day" every Summer. This year it is on Sunday, August 22nd. The family gets 1/2 price admission. From their web site: 'Families with multiples day - 1/2 price admission for families with twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc! "
Have fun!

Jessie said...

Yes! August 22 is multiple day- 1/2 price admissions :)

Nicole said...

I don't live in the USA so I don't really know about the prices of zoos. Those pics are so CUTE! I saw the clip on Rich's blog with them shouting at the turtles - it's so adorable. And Allie afraid of the "Santa Claus" is so funny. LOL.