Zoos and aquariums have always held a special place in my heart. I loved them as a kid, I’ve loved them as an adult, and I love them as a parent. Here is a roundup of New England’s best zoos and aquariums — including info on everything they have to offer.

Pro tip: Check out the membership reciprocals for each zoo or aquarium! If you purchase a membership, you’ll often have access to discounted or free admission into other zoos, aquariums, and museums across the country. It’s a fun bonus when you’re traveling with your family!

Zoo New England (Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo)

Membership: Membership for a family is $125 per year. This membership includes both the Stone Zoo and Franklin Park Zoo. 

Reciprocity for members: 2022 Zoo New England reciprocity list (local reciprocity includes 50% off Capron Zoo, 50% off Buttonwood Zoo, and 50% off Roger Williams Zoo)

Other discounts: Active-duty military and their family get 50% off general admission. Students, teachers, active-duty military, and MA first responders get $30 off a family yearly membership

Franklin Park Zoo

1 Franklin Park Rd., Boston, MA 02121

Tickets: Adult $19.95, Child (2-12) $13.95, Under 2 free

Extras: Food concessions and a playground

Featured animals: This is a zoo packed with plenty of animals. Here is a full list of animals to see there, including lions, giraffes, gorillas, and pygmy hippos. 

Stone Zoo

149 Pond St., Stoneham, MA 02180

Tickets: Adult $17.95, Child (2-12) $11.95, Under 2 free

Extras: Food concessions and a playground

Featured animals: Here is the full list of animals at Stone Zoo, including snow leopards, alligators, and sloths.

Capron Park Zoo

201 County St., Attleboro, MA 02703

Tickets: Adult $9, Youth (3-13) $7.50, Under 3 free

Membership: Household membership is $70/year.

Reciprocity for members: Reciprocals list (local reciprocity includes 50% off Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo, and 100% off Boston’s Museum of Science and Buttonwood Zoo for two adults and two children — definitely a membership worth getting, as it will pay for itself if you go to the Boston Museum of Science just once a year!)

Other discounts: All military admission is $4.75

Extras: Food concessions, playground, and (seasonal) splash-pad 

Featured animals: This is a small zoo, but it has many notable animals to see, including lions, sloth bears, flying foxes, and river otters.

Buttonwood Park Zoo

425 Hawthorn St., New Bedford, MA 02740

Tickets: Adults $10, Children (3-12) $6, Under 3 free

Membership: Family membership $75

Reciprocity for members: Buttonwood Zoo reciprocals list (local reciprocity includes 50% off Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo, and 100% off Boston Museum of Science and Capron Park Zoo for two adults and two children — definitely a membership worth getting, as it will pay for itself if you go to the Boston Museum of Science just once a year!)

Extras: Food concessions, a carousel, and a train, plus a children’s area with hands-on exhibits. 

Featured animals: Here is a list of animals at Buttonwood Park Zoo, including elephants, harbor seals, river otters, and black bears.

Roger Williams Park Zoo

1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, RI 02907

Tickets: Adult $19.95, Child (2-12) $13.95, Under 2 free

Membership: Family Plus (includes one free guest per visit) $169

Reciprocity for members: Roger Williams Zoo reciprocals list (local reciprocity includes Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo at 50% off, and free admission to Boston’s Museum of Science for 2 adults and 2 children)

Extras: Food concessions and a carousel, plus a wonderful interactive children’s exhibit

Featured animals: Roger Williams Zoo is a large zoo with many animals to see, including elephants, anacondas, moon bears, and cheetahs.

Southwick’s Zoo

2 Southwick St., Mendon, MA 01756

Tickets: Adults and children $35, children under 2 are free (this zoo is more expensive, but it’s almost entirely in the shade in a forest setting, which is really nice on a super sunny summer day)

Membership: Membership through Earth Ltd ranges from $252-422 depending on how many children are in your family. A value pass ticket is also available for $264, which will get you 12 admission tickets into the zoo. 

Other discounts: Active service military get free admission. Dependents of active service military and veterans pay $15.

Extras: Food concessions and a playground; deer park and petting zoo, where you can feed free-roaming deer; for an additional fee, enjoy a zipline, sky ride above the whole zoo, animal rides, and the Woodland Train

Featured animals: Southwick’s is a large zoo. Here is a list of all the animals, including rhinoceros, lions, chimpanzees, and mandrill.

New England Aquarium

1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110

Tickets: Adult $32, Child (3-11) $23, Under 3 free

Membership: Membership prices range from $109 to $300 depending on the number of guests

Other discounts: Active military get $10 off admission adult tickets and $5 off dependents, MBTA Charlie Card provides $2 off admission, AAA membership gives $2 off admission

Extras: Food concessions and multiple touch tanks

Featured animals: New England Aquarium has thousands of animals, including penguins, sea lions, harbor seals, lion fish, sharks, and sea turtles. See a list of exhibits and animals here.

Mystic Aquarium

55 Coogan Blvd., Mystic, CT 06355

Tickets: Prices vary according to date, but expect adult admission to be about $38 and children $28 (under 2 free)

Membership: Family membership is $205

Other discounts: Active duty military, veterans, police, fire, and EMT receive free admission and $10 off general admission for household members. Check out the current promotions page.

Extras: Food concessions, multiple touch tanks, 4D theater (not included with general admission). The sea lion show is definitely a must-see. Note, this aquarium has indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Featured animals: Mystic Aquarium has thousands of animals to see, including beluga whales, jellyfish, stingrays, penguins, sharks, and sea lions.

Once you’ve visited your favorite zoos and aquariums, try a Boston-area farm or petting zoo!

Leah was raised in Greater Boston, where she met her husband in 2006. They moved to North Carolina for a few years before deciding their hearts were still in Massachusetts. Leah is a stay-at-home mom and has three children — boy, girl, boy — born in 2011, 2014, and 2017. Her oldest son in autistic. Children with disabilities — and the families raising them — have a special place in Leah's heart. She loves "The Office," date nights, tacos, U.S. history, and the beach. She enjoys sharing her experiences of motherhood, the good and the difficult, to encourage other moms that they are not alone. Loves: Great food (mostly made by her talented husband), playing with the kids, the beach, date nights, The Pats, The Sox, The B’s, new socks and bras, and American history, and movies. Can’t stand: Cotton balls, weeds, broken crayons, and country music